It is with great sadness that the club learned of the passing of former player and manager Pat Quinn.
Quinn began his senior career with Albion Rovers, before joining Motherwell in 1955. Manager Bobby Ancell was assembling a young side with the emphasis firmly based on free-flowing, attacking football. The team that would become known as Ancell’s Babes were taking shape with Ian St John, Willie Hunter and John Martis also arriving at Fir Park in the next two years.
1958-59 found Motherwell competing at the top of the table before the turn of the year but the young side’s challenge eventually faded, finishing in third place some 16 points behind champions Rangers. Successive fifth place finishes were obtained in the following two campaigns.
Quinn’s commanding performances at inside forward had caught the eye of the Scotland selectors and, after appearing for the Under 23 side, he was rewarded with a full cap in April 1961 against England at Wembley. Despite scoring a goal on his debut the Scots slumped to a 9-3 defeat. Quinn would however go on to make a further three appearances in the dark blue, attracting the attention of Blackpool, who paid a transfer fee of £34,000 for his services in 1962.
After just one year at Bloomfield Road, Quinn returned north of the border to sign for Hibernian. The Easter Road side were struggling in the lower reaches of league table at the time but the arrival of Jock Stein as manager in March 1964 transformed the performances on the park, and playing alongside Pat Stanton and Willie Hamilton in the middle of the park saw them challenge for the title the following season. Sadly, the lure of Glasgow giants Celtic left Hibernian looking for a new boss a year later and their championship aspirations faded.
Under Stein’s replacement, Bob Shankly, Quinn experienced European football at Easter Road, scoring a memorable goal in a famous 5-0 rout of Napoli being a highlight of his time in Leith.
In August 1969 newly appointed East Fife manager Bill Baxter agreed terms with Quinn to bring him to Bayview, significantly at the same time as he secured the signature of former Motherwell team mate John Martis.
Appropriately enough Quinn would make his East Fife debut at his old stomping ground Fir Park in a League Cup tie that ended in a 2-0 defeat. The league campaign that followed was similarly uninspiring but a Scottish Cup run that saw an appearance in the quarter finals after defeats of Raith Rovers and Morton served notice that better times lay ahead for the Fife faithful. After the departure of Baxter in October 1970 Quinn accepted the post of player-manager, going on to guide the Methil men to promotion to the top flight after a thirteen year absence. The East Fife support had a new hero with Manfred Mann’s hit “The Mighty Quinn” a terracing favourite during an unforgettable season which had the crowds flocking back to Bayview.
Life upstairs provided no shortage of entertainment. After a sticky start the men in black and gold eventually found their first division legs, beating high flying Hibernian in a memorable game in January, but a relegation struggle still ensued. A Joe Hughes goal at Fir Park on the last day of the season finally kept East Fife up at the expense of Dunfermline Athletic.
The Fifers finished in ninth position the following season, their highest since 1953-54, qualifying for the Texaco Cup and reaching the quarter finals of the League Cup after knocking out holders Partick Thistle.
Unfortunately, following a difficult start to the 1973-74 campaign there was a parting of ways for Quinn and East Fife, a season that was not to get any better for the Methil men, culminating in relegation and bringing an end to what remains the club’s last period in the top flight of Scottish football.
Following spells of coaching in Iceland and Scotland, Pat Quinn received a standing ovation on his last visit to Bayview in November 2013 accompanied by the heroes of the 1970-71 promotion squad. For those of us fortunate enough to remember that season he will always be “The Mighty Quinn”.
East Fife Football Club would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Pat’s family and friends at this sad time.