Alex Miller leads tributes to team-mate Johnny Hamilton

ALEX Miller has paid tribute to former Rangers player Johnny Hamilton, who died on Saturday at the age of 66 after a long illness.
Hamilton died on Saturday after a long battle with illness. Piocture: SNSHamilton died on Saturday after a long battle with illness. Piocture: SNS
Hamilton died on Saturday after a long battle with illness. Piocture: SNS

Miller, a former team-mate at Ibrox, revealed how Hamilton earned the respect of the Rangers players with his work-rate in training to become a Treble star.

Hamilton arrived at Rangers with a reputation for enjoying a night out when he signed on a free transfer from Hibs in 1973.

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However, he soon won over his team-mates with his attitude in training under the tough regime imposed by legendary manager Jock Wallace and was a key player in the mid-1970s.

Hamilton played 78 times and scored eight goals in five years at Ibrox, winning the Championship and the Scottish Cup in the 1975-76 Treble season and then the League Cup in 1977-78 when Rangers claimed all three honours again.

According to former Hibs and Aberdeen manager Miller, Hamilton was a great man to have in the side to complement the skills of others around him.

Miller said: “Dingy liked the bright lights, let’s say, and when he came to Rangers he was joining a group of players who had been together for a long time.

“The one thing he hated doing was running, but, in fairness to him, he worked really hard in training to show everyone that he wanted to be a success.

“We used to get a lot of track work on a Monday and Johnny really knuckled down and gave it his all and that undoubtedly earned the respect of the players.

“Johnny was not the quickest but he was a great passer of the ball and that’s how he hurt teams.

“He could see the pass early and he was great at hitting penetrating passes which the front players benefited from.”

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Hamilton had been signed by Bob Shankly at Hibs in 1969 and played 96 times, scoring 17 goals, in his four seasons at Easter Road.

During his time with the Edinburgh club, he played beside some of the all-time greats such as Pat Stanton, John Brownlie, Jimmy O’Rourke, Alan Gordon and Arthur Duncan.

He was an unused substitute when Hibs triumphed in the 1972-73 League Cup final at Hampden, winning 2-1 against Celtic.