Willie went to Newtongrange Star for experience, and every day he longed for the chance to play in a maroon jersey. When he was eventually called up to Tynecastle, he had his first big disappointment, Hearts loaned him out to Edinburgh City, a team struggling to hold its head up in the Second Divison. At the start of Season 1948-49, he returned to Tynecastle to play for the reserve team, with the praise of Edinburgh City's handful of fans ringing in his ears. So it wasn't surprising that when he made his first team debut on the ninth October 1948 against East Fife, the majority of the fans knew little about him. Willie soon rectified that. Hearts had not been doing well, but the new inside forward formation of Alfie Conn, Willie Bauld and Jimmy Wardhaugh had the crowds raving long before the end, as Hearts stormed to a magnificent six one win with Bauld claiming a 'hat-trick' Alfie Conn getting two, and Davie Laing netting another from the penalty spot. This was the first defeat of the season for the then Scottish Cup Holders. The 'Terrible Trio' went on to play together for ten years, and in their appearances which numbered over two hundred, they scored between them over five hundred goals. If Hearts fans looked on Willie's debut as a flash in the pan they were soon proved wrong, for in the very next game he scored another 'hat- trick' against Queen of the South.