Born: October 5, 1931; Died: September 7, 2011.

DEREK Grierson, who has died aged 79, was a former Rangers and Falkirk footballer who won Scottish Cup winners’ medals with both clubs and was the leading goal-scorer for the Ibrox outfit in the 1952-53 season.

Only four of Falkirk’s cup-winning side of 1957 remain. For many Bairns supporters from that era, Grierson was the inspiration behind that team’s remarkable achievement of escaping relegation and winning the cup.

He proved to be an inspirational signing and was a major factor in the cup success.

He had an impressive career as a youngster, making his first team debut with Queen’s Park at the age of 16 in season 1948/49 after signing from Largs Thistle.

He became a regular feature in the Hampden side, finishing as top scorer in every season between 1948-49 and 1951-52, and earned representative honours with Scottish League B Division against Northern Ireland in April 1952. Scotland won 6-0.

He also played at Wembley for Scotland Amateurs and scored in a 2-1 win to clinch the British Championship. In total, he won seven amateur caps.

As an amateur, he was selected for trials for the Great Britain side which was to take part in the Helsinki Olympic Games of 1952. The manager Walter Winterbottom was duly impressed and Grierson made the squad – one of only three Scots selected.

On his return from Helsinki, he was signed for Rangers by the legendary Bill Struth. He recalled a somewhat hectic few days, saying: “I returned from Helsinki on the Wednesday and signed for Rangers on the Thursday, trained with them on the Friday and made my debut as a Rangers player on the Saturday.”

His competitive debut came in a 5–0 defeat to Hearts on August 9, 1952 and he scored his first goals for the club a week later in a League Cup match against Aberdeen.

In his first season, Rangers won the League and the Scottish Cup and Grierson was top scorer with an impressive tally of 35 goals – 29 of them in league matches.

But on January 2, 1955, he suffered a serious injury when he tore a muscle high up at the back of his right thigh and the surgeon informed him that he would be out for more than a year.

In January 1957, he became part of the Brockville revolution when Reggie Smith brought him to Falkirk and it was only then that he felt perfectly fit again. He renewed acquaintances with a former Ibrox colleague, John Prentice, and made his Falkirk debut in a goal-less draw against St Mirren.

Falkirk faced a bitter struggle to escape relegation and Grierson played in 13 of the remaining league games, but was an ever-present in a cup run that even now, 54 years later stretches credulity.

He scored vital goals, including one in the first semi-final game against Raith Rovers, but his contribution to the other goals was significant. He had been an injury “doubt” for the final against Kilmarnock, and the cheer when he ran out was audible – such was his value to the side.

He was a traditional inside right and many of the goals scored by George Merchant, Dougie Moran and John McCole were set up by his intelligent play. He played for The Bairns until season 1959/60 and was highly regarded by colleagues and opponents alike.

In his last full season, Falkirk were a struggling side, but Derek still gave everything. He was able to bring on some younger players in the side, such as John White.

His latter career took him to Arbroath, Stirling, Forfar, Coleraine and Cowdenbeath before he finally retired to concentrate on a teaching career.

Grierson had a great career, both as an amateur and as a professional footballer, and not many can say that they had cup-winners medals with two different clubs, scored for Scotland at Wembley and represented Great Britain at an Olympic Games. He might even have been the scorer of the first televised goal. Queen’s Park were playing Walthamstow which was shown live on television in England and Grierson scored the opening goal of the game.

Derek Grierson was a quiet, modest man who was genuinely taken aback at the adulation and fondness with which he was greeted on his return visits to Falkirk.

In 2007, there was a reunion dinner for the remaining members of that 1957 team and he and his wife Marguerite were given a tremendous ovation.

Older Falkirk fans appreciated the role he had played in that team and his former colleagues were quick to acknowledge his craft and guile.

He recalled the return to Falkirk with the famous old trophy.

He said: “I had never seen anything like it. We didn’t have that in Glasgow, there was no real “town” for Rangers. There were men, women and children all hanging out of windows, clambering up balconies and trees. It was amazing. The bus could hardly move forwards. Some youngsters were in their pyjamas with their coats over them. It was a night I’ll never forget.”

He is survived by his wife Marguerite, his sons Gordon and Finlay and his grandchildren Giulia, Barbara, Carolina and Derek.