SCOTTISH football was last night mourning the passing of former Rangers, Partick Thistle and Morton defender, Colin Jackson, who has died aged 68 after a long battle with leukaemia.
The tall, rugged defender was born in London, but raised in Aberdeen. He was signed as a schoolboy, but farmed out to Sunnybank Juniors, before joining-up at Ibrox full-time in 1963.
These were the pre-Stein days of the Greig, McKinnon and Baxter half-back line and Jackson had to serve a lengthy apprenticeship in the Reserves, before, after McKinnon’s career was interrupted by a bad leg break, he stepped in and soon proved himself a worthy substitute.
He was of the rugged, old-school of Rangers defenders; strong in the tackle, superb in the air and with the winning attitude which was fostered at Ibrox back then.
But, as he proved over his many games in senior football, he was an excellent reader of the game.
He served a long apprenticeship in the Ibrox ranks, Indeed, it wasn’t until the early 1970s that he became a fixture in the team, to such effect that he won eight full Scotland caps during 1975 and 1976, with Scotland unbeaten in those games.
We have lost a great Ranger today. Colin was also a true gentlemanDave King
In all Jackson played over 500 games for Rangers, before moving-on to Partick Thistle, then Morton, where he became as firm a fans’ favourite as he had been at Ibrox.
He won three League Championship, three Scottish Cup and five League Cup winner’s medals in his time at Rangers, and is fondly remembered for his 90th minute winning goal against Aberdeen in the 1979 League Cup Final.
In addition to his Scotland caps, he played for the Scottish League XI and the Scotland Under-23 team. He was never on a losing Scotland side in his full internationals, the side winning five games and drawing the other three.
Injury denied him a place amongst the legendary Barcelona bears, who won the European Cup-Winners Cup in 1972.
On retiring from football in 1983, aged 36 he began a successful business career, in the printing trade, but, he was living proof of the saying: “Once a Ranger, always a Ranger”, as he was a popular Match Day host at the club for many years.
Jackson also helped set up the Former Rangers Players Benevelont Fund with old team-mates John Greig, Peter McCloy and the late Sandy Jardine. He was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame.
Former skipper Greig said last night: “I have known for some time that Colin was gravely ill, and my thoughts are with his family. I have lost a great friend.
Rangers chairman Dave King commented: “On behalf of everyone at Rangers Football Club I would like to send my sincere condolences to Colin’s family and friends.
“Colin was a terrific servant to the Club for 20 years as a player and many more in the Hospitality Suites once he retired and we have lost a great Ranger today.
“Colin was also a true gentleman and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”