Willie Waddell was a success at everything he turned his hand to and

with his death yesterday football lost one of its giants

A HUGE slice of Scottish football died yesterday along with Willie

Waddell, a Rangers great and a man who will go down as one of the giants

whenever the history of the game in this country is rewritten. The

Deedle will forever be a legend among those who love the beautiful game.

In his 71 years the man achieved more than most. As a footballer with

Rangers and Scotland he was so talented that even today the older people

will regale you with tales of his wizardry on the wing; as a journalist

with the Scottish Daily Express he was forthright and hard on those whom

he felt let the game down; as a manager with Kilmarnock and Rangers his

achievements were immense; and as a football director and legislator he

was a man of such great vision. Ibrox Stadium, as it stands today, one

of the finest grounds in the world, was his great dream.

Willie Waddell was a success at everything he turned his hand to and

whether or not you liked the man, you had to be unstinting in your

admiration of what he achieved, his love of football in general, and

Rangers in particular.

The Deedle was not an easy man to get close to, but once he claimed

you as a friend you knew you had someone you could turn to for advice

and guidance on any aspect of life. There were those who trembled when

the man barked -- usually in defence of the club which was such a huge

part of his life. People quaked at the knees when he rooted them to the

spot with an icy gaze, but behind that gruff exterior was a man of great

intelligence and humour.

He could show great compassion and sympathy . . . he could also give

you a hard kick up the backside when he felt you needed it.

I was privileged to have worked alongside him in journalism, and then

when he took over as manager of Rangers I often knew what it felt like

to receive the sharp edge of his tongue. If he didn't agree with

anything you had written about the club, he would peer over the top of

his bifocals and growl: ''You don't do the Rangers Football Club any

favours by writing that.''

When I tried to point out that my job wasn't to do Rangers nor any

other club favours, he would glare, then grin, then start a good

old-fashioned verbal rammy. The Deedle loved a good argument -- had

those who trembled at his bark only realised that, they could have saved

themselves a lot of nerve attacks -- and when it was over he would

invite you for ''a half and a natter''.

Born in the village of Forth in Lanarkshire, Waddell played junior

football with Forth Wanderers and Strathclyde. He made his debut for

Rangers against Arsenal in 1938 and no-one could have known then what

was beginning. He scored the only goal of that match which was regarded

as the British championship and for the next 18 years was to be a vital

part in Rangers sides, forming a famous right-wing partnership with

Torry Gillick.

By the standards of his day he was tall for a winger, speedy and had a

powerful pair of shoulders, necessary attributes in what was then a more

overtly physical game. His crosses made scores of goals for his centre

forward and great friend Willie Thornton, but he was also a prolific

scorer himself and in 538 matches for Rangers he scored 183 goals.

HE had a great and unfeigned admiration for his two rivals for the

right-wing international berth, Gordon Smith and Jimmy Delaney and

regarded Jimmy Mason, of Third Lanark, as his ideal partner.

His playing career came to an end in 1956, and he temporarily

abandoned his career as a sports journalist to take over the managership

of Kilmarnock in 1957. Under his guidance the Ayrshire club was to enjoy

its most successful spell ever. Several times they came a close second

in the championship before finally taking the title in a thrilling

finish at Tynecastle in 1965.

Waddell then shocked Scottish football by at once resigning from the

manager's job and returning to sports journalism. Following the sacking

by Rangers of Scot Symon and the unsuccessful spell as manager of David

White, Willie Waddell was in 1969 given the daunting task of trying to

regain the ascendancy which had passed for the time being to Celtic

under Jock Stein.

During his reign Rangers scored a notable success in winning the

European Cup Winners Cup in 1972 and that same summer he became general

manager at Ibrox.

The following year he moved to the board. He had been greatly affected

by the Ibrox disaster of 1971 and it was largely due to his vision that

the modern stadium took shape. He resigned in 1979 as managing director

and vice-chairman although he stayed on in an advisory capacity.

I will miss The Deedle and his ''wee natters''. I will even miss the

occasional kick up the backside from the man, for they did more good

than harm, and they were proof that he cared. If he didn't he just

wouldn't have bothered.

The whole of Scottish football should mourn the passing of a great