Tommy Preston was a footballer both versatile and clever, an Hibernian mainstay for a decade and a scorer in each leg of the Easter Road club's stirring Inter-Cities Fairs Cup quarter-final triumph over Barcelona in 1960-61.
Denied full international recognition through operating in an era when Scotland produced a plethora of top-notch talents, the Edinburgh-born attacker-cum-midfielder shone for Hibs, with half a century of goals in his 313 outings and playing in the first European Cup game involving a British club. He had signed for Hibernian in October 1953 and made his senior debut in the following spring as a deputy for injured centre-forward Lawrie Reilly.
By 1954-55 he was in the starting line-up more often than not and, benefiting from an adaptability which enabled him to switch between left-half, inside-forward and striker, he was a major influence for 10 seasons.
As the European Cup was inaugurated in 1955-56, he faced Rot Weiss Essen, then helped Hibs battle to the semi-finals, where he missed the defeat by French club Reims. The left-footer's most memorable continental contribution was against Barcelona in the Fairs Cup, scoring in the 4-4 draw at the Nou Camp – the Scots had led 4-2 – and nodding a late Easter Road equaliser against before a Bobby Kinloch penalty settled the tie. He played in the first of three semi-final encounters with Roma, Hibs bowing out after a replay.
The creative but not pacy Preston never collected a major club honour, the nearest being a loser's medal when Clyde beat Hibs 1-0 in the 1958 Scottish Cup final.
Thomas Baxter Preston, footballer: born Longstone, Edinburgh 1932; played for Hibernian 1953-64, St Mirren 1964-65; died Edinburgh 16 April 2015.Reuse content