SANDY Jardine's private side - his generosity, his love of golf, and his marked dislike of French food - were brought forth as hundreds of people gathered to pay their final respects.

The former Rangers, Hearts and Scotland player died last week at the age of 65, 18 months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Yesterday, at Mortonhall Crematorium, in his native Edinburgh, some 1000 people - football figures, family, friends and golf buddies - said farewell to the man widely described as a "true legend". The mourners included Sir Alex Ferguson, Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and countless Rangers players, past and present.

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In a moving eulogy, a lifelong friend, David Ross, spoke of the Jardine he knew. He referred to him as Billy, the name used by friends and family alike.

Mr Ross said he wanted to share his thoughts and those of Jardine's other best friends, John Murphy and Ian Cruikshanks.

"As Billy's career blossomed with Rangers, he never forgot us," Mr Ross said. "For one big European game abroad, he kindly left us a bottle of champagne, which his mother Peggy served up with rolls as we watched the match on TV at his house. We thought we'd hit the big time."

In recent years the friends enjoyed golf holidays in the South of France, with Jardine acting as chauffeur.

Mr Ross said: "We suggested to him that he would enjoy the French cuisine more than us, as he had consumed less alcohol.

"Billy's response was that he thought French food was 'bowff' and his preference was for steak and chips."

Former colleague and friend John Greig was a pall-bearer while ex-Scotland manager Craig Levein and Hearts boss Gary Locke also attended the service.