HIBS manager Neil Lennon has confirmed that the team will don black armbands as a mark of respect following the death of a 106-year-old supporter.
Sam Martinez, originally from Belize, passed away yesterday at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, just months after witnessing his team lift the Scottish Cup for the first time in the 70 years he’d been a fan.
He arrived in Edinburgh in 1945 and fell in love with the Hibees who played in his favourite green and white colours.
After witnessing them lose in six previous finals, Sam finally got to see his heroes win at Hampden earlier this year in May when they beat Rangers 3-2 in the Scottish Cup Final.
Lennon today confirmed his team would wear black armbands in their match against Morton this Saturday and that there would be a club representative at the funeral.
The Northern Irishman paid tribute to one of the “great custodians” of the club who “fulfilled all his wishes” by watching them win the cup.
He said: “It’s very sad. As the manager of Hibs and for all the Hibernian support and family, we’ve lost one of the great custodians of the club, one of the great supporters.
“I’ve only been here a short period of time but I knew of Sam’s support, his longevity in life.
“To reach the milestone of 106 years of age is incredible. For him to wait so long to see Hibs win the Scottish Cup, I think that would have fulfilled all his wishes.”
He continued: “It’s a tremendous, phenomenal life he’s had and he’s been a supporter for over 60, 70 years, which is incredible dedication.
“We will honour that and there will a representation from the club at the service and the players will wear black armbands in his honour on Saturday.”
Sam fell in love with the Leith team when he was handed a ticket by a fellow support in the queue to his first game back in the late 1940s.
In order to see Hibs lift the cup for the first time his life, Sam’s carer, James Lawrie, arranged tickets and transport to take him through to Glasgow.
Mr Lawrie, 45, paid tribute to Sam who he said he instantly “clicked” with.
He said: “I’ve only been Sam’s carer for about five months but it felt like I was sent to care for him. We just clicked instantly.
“He could do everything for himself right up into the end and had a great sense of humour and brilliant stories.
“I’m just glad he got to see the final. He just loved Hibs. It was a pleasure to look after him and watch that game with him.
“He loved the final and had a great seat. When the final whistle went he was egging me on to join the others on the pitch and enjoy it.
“I think he needs a plaque at the back of the stand with the other Hibs supporters. Even a picture of him in the hall. He needs something to remember him by.”