Born: January 10, 1937;

Died: 14 June 2022.


DAVIE Wilson, who has died aged 85, was a key member of the great Rangers team of the early 1960s that, to many followers of a certain age, was the finest of the post-war era.

In an Ibrox career spanning eleven years, he played 408 games for the club, netting 164 goals, an astonishing total for a winger. On March 17, 1962, while playing at centre-forward, he set a post-war Rangers league record, scoring six goals in a 7-1 defeat of Falkirk at Brockville.

He played both legs in Rangers’ first European Cup semi-final in 1960 against Eintracht Frankfurt and, one year later, again featured in both ties against a cynical Fiorentina side in the club’s first European final.

Six years after that he could and perhaps should – have featured in a second European final, this time against Bayern Munich in Nuremberg. Despite scoring in the semi-final win over Slavia Sofia, Wilson was omitted in favour of Willie Johnston, who was returning from a broken leg sustained at Berwick.

On the international front, he first received recognition at Under-23 level in 1958, followed in October 1960 by selection at senior level against Wales in Cardiff. It was not the happiest of debuts as Scotland went under 0-2, but he retained his place in subsequent internationals, and scored twice in a Wembley encounter best forgotten in April 1961.

In all Wilson played 22 times for Scotland, netting ten goals. He played in five consecutive Home Internationals against England, three of which were won by the Scots

He opened the scoring at Hampden in a 2-0 victory in 1962, then one year later he returned to Wembley where, with Eric Caldow stretchered off with a broken leg as early as the sixth minute, the winger moved to left-back in the days before substitutes and was outstanding as 10 ten men secured a remarkable 2-1 victory. Another outstanding result was the remarkable 6-2 win over Spain in Madrid some two months later.

Davie Wilson was born in 1937, in the mining community of Newton, near Cambuslang, to parents Thomas and Margaret Wilson. His father was a miner, with the young David the only son of four siblings.

At 16 he began an apprenticeship as a template-maker in steelworks in the nearby village of Westburn, but it was on the football field that he would carve out a truly wonderful career. He played with Baillieston Juniors, then graduated to the senior ranks when signing for Rangers in 1956.

He made his first-team debut at Ibrox in a floodlit friendly against the British Army, netting the home side’s only goal in a 1-3 reversal. This was followed by his competitive debut at Dundee’s Dens Park, on January 2, 1957, in a 3-1 away league win before 28,500 spectators, and some eight months later he scored the winning goal in the Stade Geoffrey Guichard as Rangers recorded a 4-3 aggregate win over French champions Saint-Etienne to record their first European Cup success.

That Wilson winner would be the first of ten goals scored in European competitive games by the winger – a total bettered by only five players in the club’s history.

It, however, took Davie some three years to establish himself as an Ibrox regular. There was a two-year National Service stint and during that period he played for the British Army in challenge matches against club sides. At Ibrox, meanwhile, Johnny Hubbard regularly held down the left-wing beat, which was the youngster’s natural position, although his versatility was something of a manager’s dream, enabling him to play in every position in the forward line during his time as a Ranger.

He was skilful, courageous and naturally right-footed with pace. His weekly wage when signing for Rangers was just £12, rising to the princely sum of £45 during his time at Ibrox.

The 1960 Scottish FA Cup was his first major trophy success, a 2-0 final triumph over Kilmarnock before 108,017 spectators. That would be the first of five Winners’ Medals for him in the national tournament, as well as League Championship Winners’ Medals in 1960-61 and 1962-63, and Scottish League Cup Winners’ Medals in 1960-61 and 1961-62.

A broken ankle suffered in a League Cup victory over Berwick Rangers on October 2, 1963, undoubtedly cost him a place in that season’s final as well as another Championship gong.

Of his five Scottish Cup successes, he scored in both the 1962 final and and the 1963 final replay win over Celtic. Somewhat ironically, his last Scottish Cup appearance for Rangers came in January 1967 as a substitute in the cataclysmic defeat at Berwick.

A lifelong ‘Gers fan, he could have moved south to Everton who had tabled a £100,000 offer for his services but opted to stay with the club he loved.

In the summer of 1967 he signed for Dundee United along with Wilson Wood in part-exchange for Swedish winger Orjan Persson – but there were many amongst the Ibrox faithful who regretted his departure.

He was unbeaten in seven appearances for the Scottish League, including three against the Football League, and indeed netted a hat-trick in a 4-3 win at Villa Park in March 1962.

Davie Wilson spent five years at Tannadice, with a certain Walter Smith as a team-mate, and netted 20 goals in 129 League appearances before moving to Dumbarton in 1972. He would play 49 games for the Sons, helping them win promotion before retiring as a player in the summer of 1973.

Management beckoned for him at Boghead as Assistant to Alex Wright from 1974-1977 before moving into the Dumbarton hotseat from 1977-1080. After a brief spell as Assistant Manager at Kilmarnock he returned to the Sons as manager (1984-1986) with some success, leading them to promotion once again.

The former Ranger was John Lambie’s assistant manager at Hamilton in 1986-1987 when the Accies created a seismic Scottish Cup shock, eliminating Rangers at Ibrox. A final spell in management saw Davie in charge of Queen of the South from 1987-1989.

Away from football, he was involved in the whisky industry and the catering trade whilst operating as a matchday host for corporate hospitality guests at Ibrox Stadium. A racing pigeons enthusiast for 60 years, he lived quietly in Newlands on the south-side of Glasgow for many years.

Davie Wilson passed away following a brave fight with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. He is survived by wife Avril, daughter Sheena and son David.