Partick Thistle icon Lambie ‘belongs in the hall of shame’ Partick Thistle should consider removing honours granted to the club’s most famous manager amid allegations that he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse being committed by a key member of his staff, a charity has claimed.
John Lambie, who led the Glasgow club up to the top flight in 1992 and in 2002, had a stand named after him at Firhill Stadium after his death, aged 77, in 2018. He had already been inducted into Thistle’s hall of fame.
Players from the club and from Hamilton Academical, where he also managed, have come forward to say that they asked Lambie for help after being molested by the physiotherapist John Hart. They claim that their warnings and pleas fell on deaf ears, meaning that Hart went to his grave in 1995 without having faced charges or being questioned by police.
A Scottish FA-commissioned review of abuse in the national game found that Hart was a prolific abuser who had raped a 13-year-old boy after using his influence to get the youngster a trial at Partick Thistle.
SurvivorsUK, which supports and campaigns for male victims of rape and sexual abuse, said it was clear that there had been significant failures. Gary Williams, the charity’s chief executive, said: “A blind eye has been turned at an institutional level, where a choice was made to protect Hart.
“It is right to question whether John Lambie should continue to be honoured given his part in this.”
Sandy Brindley, the chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “The abuse that was carried out by somebody in a position of trust and power at various football clubs in Scotland is shocking. “It is essential that anyone disclosing sexual abuse is taken seriously and perpetrators held to account.”
Gary, not his real name, told The Times that his promising career was destroyed when he was attacked by Hart after he sought treatment for an injury at Partick Thistle in 1991. Lambie, he said, had refused to intervene on two occasions.
“John laughed it off,” he recalled. “It was like it was some kind of joke. He told me that was just how Hart was.” Gary, now in his fifties, has written to Gerry Britton, the chief executive of Partick Thistle, asking for an apology for the abuse he suffered.
“It is simply incredible that John Lambie continues to hold pride of place in your hall of fame,” he wrote. “He should be in the hall of shame.”
Partick Thistle said the club had dismissed Hart with “immediate effect” when allegations of abuse emerged in 1992. However, the club paid tribute to him when he died. “John Lambie and his backroom staff rated him very highly indeed,” an article in the club’s matchday magazine said.
Alan, not his real name, said Lambie had taken no action when he revealed that Hart had molested him as a trainee at Hamilton in 1988. “He had the chance to stop Hart from ruining more lives, but he did nothing,” Alan said. Partick Thistle confirmed the club had received Gary’s letter.
“Everyone associated with Thistle is appalled at the extent of allegations of historic abuse in Scottish football,” a spokesman said. “The club reiterates its public apology to anyone personally affected by historic abuse in the game”.
Hamilton Academical did not respond to requests for comment.