Their chairman made his name in metals. But it took a heavy metal legend to lift Rangers to new heights yesterday when he took the controls as the team jetted off to Israel.

Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson piloted the 757 jet from Glasgow to Tel Aviv for the club's Uefa Cup match tomorrow. Dickinson - famous for belting out anthems such as Aces High and Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter - is also a qualified commercial pilot and regularly flies for UK-based charter firm Astraeus.

He specifically asked to fly the Ibrox men to the Israeli capital when he learned that the charter firm had landed the contract. Dickinson told airline bosses he wanted to meet Ally McCoist, Rangers' assistant manager, after admiring his performances on TV's Question of Sport. A spokesman for Astraeus said: "Bruce is a huge fan of Ally McCoist and was desperate to meet him so they could have a good laugh and talk about Question of Sport.

"McCoist is also a big Iron Maiden fan so it would have been mutual appreciation. I'm not sure if he will be able to stay for the game." Walter Smith, Rangers manager, is also a keen hard rock fan and was introduced to Iron Maiden in 1986 by former Gers skipper and fellow rock fan Terry Butcher.

Before flying out, Smith told the club's website: "I remember going to meet the band when they played in Edinburgh a few years ago. I would never have thought that Bruce would be flying our plane."

Iron Maiden with Dickinson at the controls are still going strong after 20 years and an estimated 80 million album sales. Their hits include Run to the Hills, The Number of the Beast, and the Trooper. The band played the SECC in Glasgow last December as part of successful world tour.

Dickinson became a private aircraft pilot in the early 1990s and has since passed all his commercial flight exams. He flew for British Airways before becoming a first officer at Astraeus and takes to the skies when he is not touring.