Highland legend Donnie Mackintosh was too fast for a racehorse

A HIGHLAND football legend who played for Rangers – and once beat a racehorse in a sprint – has died, aged 74.

Donnie Mackintosh was one of Scotland's top athletes, not only in football with Inverness Caledonian and at Ibrox but also in track events.

Born in the Highland capital, the former Inverness High School pupil was quickly snapped up by Rangers, joining the Glasgow giants on his 17th birthday.

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He had impressed as a high-scoring forward at Inverness Caledonian FC and their juvenile side, Muirpark. He had trials with Everton and Liverpool, while interest spread throughout a string of other senior clubs.

Mackintosh spent three seasons with Rangers, but much of the time he was bothered with a troublesome knee injury.

While he turned out on several occasions for the first team in friendlies, he unfortunately never sustained a lengthy period of full fitness which would have allowed him to challenge for regular inclusion in the main side.

Prior to Rangers, Mackintosh had already been made a name for himself as an amateur sprinter. When the famous Trinidad champion and Olympic finalist Macdonald Bailey came to Inverness to attack the Scottish 100 yards record it was Mackintosh who was chosen to stretch him to his limit.

He later became three times winner of the Macdonald Bailey trophy, which was the major sprinting contest in the North of Scotland.

During the Scottish Youth Championships in 1952 he managed a record time of 10.2 seconds over 100 metres.

His speed had made him a famous name at Inverness Caledonian – and this included one occasion when it did not involve a football. The club held galas to attract crowds in the summer, and came up with an unusual attraction in the mid-1950s.

The gala committee decided on a race, from the bye-line of the pitch to the penalty area at the other end – to be competed by a player, a cyclist and a racehorse. Mackintosh was chosen and won the contest pipping the unusual rivals at the finish line.

His funeral will take place next week at Inverness Cathedral.