FIVE HUNDRED people who yesterday paid final respects to Rangers and

Scotland legend Willie Waddell were told the new Ibrox stadium now

stands as ''a monument to a monumental man''.

Mr Waddell, 71, who died of a heart attack on Tuesday, had a fairytale

life in which almost everything he touched turned to gold, according to

Ibrox Parish minister C. Blair Gillon.

But the fairy tale had a dark hue -- the Ibrox disaster in 1971, when

66 people died and many more were injured.

Paying tribute to his vision then of a stadium to rank among the

safest and finest, Mr Gillon said: ''In the midst of darkness, Willie

Waddell did what he always did -- his best. He brought light into the

darkness -- the stadium stands as a monument to a monumental man.''

Mourners came from all walks, but mainly from football, and included

Mr Waddell's team mates Bobby Brown, Jock Shaw, Willie Woodburn, and Bob

McPhail, 86.

They also included Rangers' first team pool, Scotland coach Andy

Roxburgh, former Rangers manager Graeme Souness, reunited with manager

Walter Smith, and ex-Ibrox stars Jim Baxter, Derek Johnstone, Davie

Cooper, and Tommy McLean.

Former Dunfermline West MP Dick Douglas, comedian Andy Cameron, lawyer

Joe Beltrami, ex-Scotland manager Ally McLeod, and retired referee

''Tiny'' Wharton, also attended the service, with standing room only in

St Mungo's Chapel at Linn Crematorium.

Celtic's representatives included Celtic chairman Kevin Kelly,

directors Jack McGinn, Chris White, and James Farell, and former club

captain Billy McNeill and ex-assistant manager Sean Fallon.

Former Celtic star Alan McInally also paid his respects, accompanied

by his father, Jackie McInally, who played for Kilmarnock when Mr

Waddell was manager at Rugby Park.

Rangers chairman David Murray, whose wife is seriously ill, did not

attend. Vice-chairman Donald Findlay said later: ''You must understand

it is not easy for him. He will be with the family and friends at Ibrox


The 11-strong cortege was led by Mr Waddell's wife, Hilda, and three

children, Ronnie, Peter, and Ailsa.

Their red, white, and blue flowers on the coffin -- roses, carnations,

and irises -- carried the message: ''Always remembered. Love for ever.''

Grandchildren Gordon, Andrew, Sheila, and Shona followed, with their

floral tribute devoted to ''the best granpa in the world''.

Red carnations from Souness hinted at a special relationship with

Waddell. His card read: ''To Willie; a good friend and confidante.''

Mr Gillon recounted Mr Waddell's remarkable life from his professional

debut for Rangers in 1938 to becoming an honorary director and adviser

in retirement.

In between, Mr Waddell had managed Kilmarnock and led the side to the

Scottish championship in 1965; twice launched successful careers in

journalism, and as manager with Rangers lifted the European Cup Winners'

Cup in 1972.

Mr Waddell, known as the Deedle, was not only larger than life but a

man of inspiration, compassion, charity, and above all, high integrity.

He was also a fair man -- even if renowned for his severity,

discipline, and for striking terror into people by not suffering fools

gladly, the minister said.

He added that Mr Waddell's undoubted achievements will be told

repeatedly because his life was a fairy tale with many happy endings,

and because he was ''a rose plucked from a special garden to bring drama

to many''.

Mr Gillon acknowledged people would feel shock, grief, and loss, on

the death of a man often described as a living legend.

Despite numerous achievements elsewhere, he would always be synonymous

with Rangers, where his many roles ranged from player to manager, and

from general manager to managing director and vice-chairman.

His ''finest hour was the new stadium'' at Ibrox, planned after the

disaster which Mr Waddell vowed would never be repeated.

He said Mr Waddell, born ''with many gifts that were not allowed to

languish in obscurity but used to the full'', would be greatly missed:

''If as it is said he lived for Rangers, it should also be said that

without him Rangers would not be the club it is today -- his enthusiasm

and dedication to the club is undoubted, and it will surely remain in

his debt.''

Bob McPhail later recalled his days with Mr Waddell. ''I took him in

hand,'' he joked. ''It is very, very sad. We had great moments. It


Mr Findlay said: ''We will miss him very much at Ibrox. But every time

people look at Ibrox, three sides of it will be a memorial to Willie

Waddell. On a personal note, he was extremely kind to me, and I will

miss him very much.''