EVENING Times sportswriter John Quinn was in a privileged position when Cassius Clay (as he then was) arrived in Scotland in 1965.

Clay had sensationally beaten the world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in Miami Beach in February 1964. The Evening Times headline the following morning was ‘The king am I!’ over a picture of an exuberant Clay. In Lewiston, Maine, in May 1965, Clay stopped Liston inside the first round. (Clay’s gloves from that bout fetched nearly $1 million (£650,000) at an auction in New York in 2015.)

Clay later embarked on a long tour of exhibition matches with his sparring partner. On Tuesday, August 17, 1965 he arrived at Renfrew Airport, to take part in a bout in Paisley on the Friday. The champion was greeted by hundreds of fans and by members of the Braemar Ladies’ Pipe Band, from Coatbridge (right). John Quinn was on hand, too, to interview him.

The following day, Clay went to the BBC studios in Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Drive for a private screening of a film about his life. The picture on the far right was taken by Jim Hamilton.

Quinn wrote: “Cassius Clay today cast off his subdued mood and returned to the noisy character of old ... and I must say I liked him better that way.

“For an hour I sat with him and watched his transformation. I was the only newspaperman present to see him throw off the quiet brooding mood and revert to such sayings as, ‘I am the greatest, I am the prettiest, float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”.

Clay seemed to enjoy the film, which started with him talking to Harry Carpenter and went through every stage of his life. There were, however, a couple of awkward moments in the film, notably when one interviewee claimed that Clay was ungrateful to the people of his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

“But there were some amusing incidents too”, Quinn wrote. “When the youngster who played the young Cassius Clay was running to school, for example, Clay squealed in joy, ‘Gee, that’s cute, that was a great idea, this is a wonderful film’.

“He showed his enjoyment too during the pre-fight scenes for the first contest with Liston.

“’Watch this man, I am about to display the greatest ability ever seen in modern boxing. I am the greatest fighter that ever lived ... and the prettiest. Of that there is no doubt’.

“Swinging backwards and forwards on a large chair, he roared: ‘Pow, pow, pow, watch this man, watch me duck that crazy right hand. Liston showed he is no fool when he quit on that stool’.

“As we left the studio, however, the champ reverted to the quiet mood he has adopted since arriving here.

“Walking away with manager Angelo Dundee and sparring partners Jimmy Ellis and Cody Jones, he almost whispered: ‘Man, that was really great. I sure enjoyed that’.”