Chief Football Writer Matthew Lindsay interviewed Rangers and Scotland great Eric Caldow, who has passed away aged 84, in 1999 for the Every Picture Tells A Story feature that appeared in the Evening Times.

Here we republish the article in memory of the Ibrox great.


1 and 2 - WHEN I played for Cumnock Academy as a young lad I was, without doubt, the slowest full back in history. But when I was around about 15 I started training with spikes. It was the best thing that I ever did.

READ MORE: Obituary: Eric Caldow, former Rangers and Scotland captain 

I am a firm believer in the old adage that if it is in you then it will come out. Speed was obviously in me and it certainly came out. I had great speed throughout my entire career. I never so much as pulled a muscle either.

I had started off my playing days with Glenpark Youths, then moved to Townhead Thistle and later joined Muirpark Juniors.

Bill Struth signed me for Rangers. I was his second-last acquisition before Scot Symon came in. I made my first appearance against Ayr United at Ibrox in 1953 in a match that we won 4-2.


George Young, an idol of mine as a boy, was injured and that is how I broke into the team. I slotted in alongside McColl, Woodburn, Cox and Waddell. The pressure of playing for such a big club at such a young age never really affected me.

The first photograph here shows me in my early days at Rangers and in the the second snap you can see me jumping for the ball at Ibrox.


3 – BOBBY Shearer and myself both played for Rangers a total of 407 times and most of them were together in the heart of the defence.

He was a 100 per cent player, a ferocious tackler, which is why he earned the nickname Captain Cutlass. He used to put players up in the air and I used to trap them.

READ MORE: Former Rangers captain and Scottish football legend Eric Caldow dies 

We were two totally different types. He made up for his lack of speed by being totally committed. Nobody could accuse him of not trying. In fact, all of the players tried their hearts out for the jersey.


4 and 5 – I WON my first cap against England in 1957 in a match we lost 2-1. It never really bothered me to play in such a big occasion.

I knew that nobody could get past me. That gave me confidence. I was always quite comfortable.

When we were beaten 9-3 by England in 1961 I just took it as another game. It affected different players differently. But I just said: ‘Right, that’s it, it’s finished.”

It you lose, you lose. It was just another game to me.

READ MORE: Rangers great Eric Caldow passes away

The reason we lost so heavily was because Frank Haffey, of Celtic, was in goal while Bobby Shearer and I, both Rangers players, were in defence. We played with an orange ball. Frank wouldn’t catch it and Bobby and I wouldn’t kick it!

I was captain of Rangers when they were beaten 7-1 by Celtic in the League Cup final in 1957. But I just accepted it as another game. It never affected me. A good attitude and cool temperament in a player are magnificent things.


In my 13 years as a top team player a referee never so much as had to speak to me. Davy Wilson used to say: “That’s because he could never catch you.”

I knew no player would ever run past me. When we qualified for the World Cup in 1957 we beat Spain 4-2 to clinch our place.

They had Ghento playing for them. At that time he was the fastest winger in the world.

I was the first Rangers player to take part in the World Cup in Sweden in 1958. I never knew that until the Rangers historian David Mason told me. I was also the first Rangers player to win a Golden Boot following the 1961 season.

This first photograph shows me leading out Scotland with Bill Brown, Davy Wilson and Alex Hamilton behind me later on in my career. England were captained by Johnny Haynes. The second picture shows me in action for my country.


6 – TOMMY Docherty, seen with me here at Largs in 1957 was, without question, the funniest man I ever met in football. Unfortunately, most of the stories about him couldn’t be published in a family newspaper.

But I can remember one humorous tale that is printable. We were away at a hotel for a Scotland squad training session. A parrot in the cage in the foyer had been driving everybody in our party up the wall for days with its constant squawking. So Tommy came back from a training session one day and took out a huge lump of chewing gum that he had in his mouth. He wrapped it around the poor bird’s beak. It couldn’t make a sound. He always had everyone in stitches.


7 – THIS photograph was taken at Turnberry Hotel in 1960 with myself on the left picture with Jim Baxter, Ralph Brand and Davy Wilson. Brand was a workaholic. None of the players liked training, but he always gave his all. Nobody made him to it either. It was all done off his own back.

Jim could never be described as being like that. But he was a superb player nonetheless. Whenever I got into trouble I just used to give the ball to him. We all helped each other out at the back.

Davy was a wonderful winger as well. He had great speed and you were always guaranteed to score goals when he was playing because of the quality of his service.


8 – I SCORED this penalty for Scotland at Hampden in 1962 with Ron Springett, the England goalkeeper, going totally the wrong way. If only he had known I always put spot kicks to that side when I took them for Rangers!

There was no pressure on me to score as we were one goal ahead and there were only four minutes remaining. It should, though, have been 1-1 because Johnny Haynes had hit our bar and it had crossed and it had crossed the line. The referee never saw it.

READ MORE: Eric Caldow obituary

But it was 1-0 and it was no bother for me because it made no difference. I always had the temperament for taking penalties. It didn’t bother me if it was the first or the last minute.

It wasn’t until after the final whistle that we realised it was our first our first win over England in 25 years.


9 and 10 – THE Rangers team that won the Scottish Cup in 1962 with a 2-0 win over St Mirren is one that most supporters can remember even today. We all knew our job and all tried to play to the best or our ability. When we attacked, all 10 outfield players attacked. When we defended, all 10 of us defended.

They are, from left to right, Davy Wilson, Ronnie McKinnon, Jim Baxter, Jimmy Millar, myself with the trophy, Ralph Brand, Bobby Shearer, Ian McMillan, Billy Ritchie, Harold Davis and, kneeling, Willie Henderson.

The second picture shows me doing a lap of honour around Hampden with the trophy held aloft by Davy Wilson and myself.


11 and 12 – In the match against England at Wembley in 1963 I must have spent around six minutes on the park - then I had my leg broken in a challenge with their striker Bobby Smith. It should never have happened.

But he was that type of player. It was my first serious injury and it was a good one – a treble break! When it happened I never felt a thing.


I got special treatment from Peter Derby of Auchinleck. He was a miner who I had know all my life. He recommended that I take homeopathic pills and undergo massage. I came back after just six months. That was a speedy recovery indeed in those days.

Bobby Smith came round to the hospital I was in the very next day and apologised. There was no malice intended in his challenge. He was just a busy, bustling player.


I can remember playing in a pre-season tournament in Canada in 1954 and coming up against him playing for Chelsea. He was the only player in the team that I remembered – and nine years later he broke my leg!

If it had happened when I was 18 there was a chance that I would have had no career. Fortunately, I played on for four years afterwards and captained Rangers and my country.


13 – THIS picture was taken in 1983 to help celebrate a SFA sponsorship deal and shows five generations of internationals. They are, from left to right, Lawrie Reilly (from the 1940s), myself (1950s), Paul McStay (1980s), Danny McGrain (1970s) and John Greig (1960s). It was nice to be included in such illustrious company.


14 – I OPENED the Eric Caldow Bar in Hamilton in 1960 and had it for 10 years.

When I was playing full-time I enjoyed the business because I appointed a manager to run things for me.

There were more sociable opening hours back then too; from 11am until 2.30pm and then from 5pm onwards. We were also closed on Sunday, too. We always had a good laugh as well.

Obviously, it is changed days now in the pub business. The bar is still there to this day, though.

I was given a free transfer from Rangers in 1966 – after 13 years with the club – and joined Stirling Albion. I played on for another season with them before hanging up my boots. After that I managed Corby Town and then Stranraer for a short while.


15 and 16 – I CONTINUED to enjoy a strong association with Rangers after I had left. I worked for a while as a hospitality box host on match days.

This picture shows me with the former Hearts star John Cumming before the League Cup final in 1996. We had both played in the last final meeting between the two sides in 1961. Rangers came out on top on that occasion after the tie had gone to a replay.


This picture shows former Celtic captain Billy McNeill and I sharing a laugh at Fir Park.

Born in Cumnock, Ayrshire.
1952 Signed for Rangers by Bill Struth.
1953 Makes Light Blues debut in 4-2 win over Ayr United.
1956 Helps Rangers win the Scottish title.
1957 Makes Scotland debut in 2-1 defeat by England at Wembley.
1960 Helps Rangers reach the European Cup semi-final and win the Scottish Cup.
1961 Captains the Glasgow club in the inaugural European Cup Winners’ Cup final.
1963 Suffers broken leg playing for Scotland against England at Wembley.
1964 Helps Rangers beat Celtic 2-1 in the League Cup final.
1966 Joins Stirling Albion.
1967 Becomes player/manager of Corby Town.
1973 Takes over at Stranraer.
2007 Inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.