JACK Gillespie, once the vice-chairman of Rangers and the club’s largest single shareholder has died at the age of 87.
Mr Gillespie, who started off as a goalkeeper and played in the same Albion Rovers team as Jock Stein until injury cut short his career, was the man who engineered the deal allowing Rangers to have one owner with a controlling stake in the club.
First elected to the Ibrox board in 1976, nearly a quarter of a century after buying his first share, Mr Gillespie - who made his fortune selling cars - had expanded his business portfolio to include two bars and a number of other ventures when he joined Rangers.
With aspirations to become chairman at Ibrox, Mr Gillespie said in 1985 that it was still possible for him to achieve the position despite selling most of his shares in a £1 million deal that handed the John Lawrence construction company overall control of the club.
His decision to transfer a reported 29,000 of his shares to Lawrence Marlborough’s firm - giving the businessman’s company a 52 per cent holding in the club - effectively revamped the structure of the club.
He also held a position as a director at Airdrieonians. A spokesman said the club was ‘shocked and saddened’, adding: “Jack was a regular in the Directors Box and was heavily involved with the Club from 2002.
“Over the years he supplied us with our Minibuses and supported us in ways too numerous to list.”
Rangers manager Ally McCoist said: “The Club are deeply saddened to hear former Director Jack Gillespie has passed away.
“Everyone at Rangers sends their sincere condolences to the Gillespie family and our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.”