RANGERS legends, supporters, old rivals and friends joined together yesterday to pay tribute to stalwart defender Colin Jackson at a special memorial service.
The Ibrox Suite was packed as director John Gilligan hosted a celebration of the life of Jackson, who passed away on 6 June, aged 68, after suffering from leukaemia.
Gilligan read out a message from former manager Ally McCoist as well as a letter from under-fire FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who had taken the time to write touchingly and knowledgably, offering the condolences of world football.
Long-time team-mate Peter McCloy and good friends Bobby Roddie and Tom Miller offered an insight into the life and career of the Rangers great who is one of only eight players to have played over 500 games for the club since the Second World War.
The majority of the 1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup squad were present including captain John Greig, Willie Mathieson, Dave Smith, Derek Johnstone, Colin Stein and Willie Johnston.
Subsequent team mates Tom Forsyth, who was his defensive partner in the 1976 and 1978 Treble campaigns, Gordon Smith, Ally Dawson and Ally Scott were there, along with icons Willie Henderson, Davie Wilson and Ronnie McKinnon.
Former Scotland team-mate Gordon McQueen, who can’t drive after suffering a stroke a month ago, made the journey by train to pay his respects and was joined by Morton legend Allan McGraw and Dunfermline great Jim Leishman.
Celtic chairman Ian Bankier and director Eric Riley were also there, showing there is no Old Firm divide when their great rivals suffer such a significant loss. They were warmly applauded for their attendance by the assembled throng, who revelled in the stories of Jackson who once set off a fire hose under the door of fearsome boss Jock Wallace for a prank – and paid the price.
McCloy described him as a great friend and team-mate who never had a bad word to say about anyone.
Jackson won 11 major honours in a career which stretched from 1963 to 1982 and scored the winner in the 1978-79 League Cup Final against hometown team Aberdeen.
He was also part of the Scotland team that beat England 2-1 at Hampden in 1976 to win the Home International Championship. He played eight times for his country.
However, he was denied the chance of being part of Rangers’ finest hour in Barcelona in 1972 having played in every round of the Cup Winners’ Cup run. He suffered an ankle injury the day before the final with Moscow Dynamo and had to sit out with 18-year-old Derek Johnstone playing centre half.
Quietly and away from the public glare, the softly-spoken Aberdonian did tremendous work in aiding former Rangers players who needed help in his role running the Former Players Benevolent Fund.
Gilligan, said: “Colin Jackson is what Rangers are all about and will be again.”