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I thought id share this with you........

 

Hi Don

 

Earlier this year Robert Marshall interviewed Rangers Legend Sandy Jardine for WATP Magazine.

 

With all of the off-field issues that go on at the club we thought it would be worth sending this out so that everyone has the chance to read the words of a True Ranger and someone who cared deeply about our club.

 

Sadly, Sandy had a relapse of his health issues and passed on the 24th April of this year. He is greatly missed.

 

 

Sandy in Royal Blue

The Sandy Jardine Interview - Part 1

Sandy Jardine is one of the true legends of our proud club’s illustrious 141-year history. He is without doubt Rangers’ best right back in living memory and can be held up as one of the greatest players to have turned out in a blue jersey. Born in Edinburgh with the Christian name of William, not far away from Hearts’ Tynecastle Stadium, I first remember laying eyes on Willie Jardine (as he was then known) when we played Queen’s Park in a Glasgow Cup match at Ibrox. He scored four goals that day, something that as a 12-year-old I would never forget! It’s fair to say I was impressed. I think to put it in context, if I had to pick a greatest ever ‘World XI’ then Sandy would be my first choice, not Cafu, not Lamb, not even the great George Cohen – he was that good. Some people might disagree but I watched him all through his career at full back and I never witnessed him having a bad game.

 

I have been lucky enough to have known Sandy for a few years now and I was delighted when he accepted our invitation to do an interview with WATP Magazine. There is always something special about speaking with one of your heroes, that little thrill separates them from us mere mortals. Sandy is recovering from a life-threatening illness and it was really nice to be able to speak with him.

 

Sandy, first of all how is your health?

“I’m coming along fine Robert, I’m looking to be back working full time next year.”

 

I’ve always known you as a bit of a workaholic so how are you coping at home?

“It’s been a bit frustrating but I’ve been working away in the garden, taking things day by day and going walks to build my strength up. Thankfully I have been able to get back to a few games now.”

 

How did you feel when the fans were applauding you in the second minute?

“It was both humbling and emotional. I’m really grateful for all the messages of support I have had from the fans. They have been excellent.”

 

Let’s start from the beginning, how and when did you join Rangers?

“I went straight from schools football to Ibrox in 1965. I used to get on the train at Haymarket in Edinburgh through to Queen Street in Glasgow and jump on the subway over to Copland Road (as Ibrox underground was known back then). I even travelled with some of the greatest legends of that era: John Greig, Jimmy Millar, Ralph Brand, and later on we were joined by the Fife lads – including Billy Mathieson, Colin Stein, Willie Johnston. It was different then.”

 

They would have been real legends to a young lad like yourself, how did you feel travelling with them?

“Oh, they were great! They were always giving me advice and always had a good story to tell.”

 

How did it feel going up the marble staircase for the first time?

“You always remember your first time going up the marble staircase. It really epitomises everything about our club – class and dignity.”

 

Moving to on-field matters, I remember you scoring four goals against Queen’s Park in a Glasgow Cup tie as a youngster coming through, what do you remember of that?

“I was playing centre forward that night, and everything just clicked for me. It seemed that every time I touched the ball it went into the net.”

 

I remember you as ‘Willie Jardine’ then, when did you become known as Sandy?

“The players started calling me it around the time I made the first team, obviously because of the colour of my hair. I’m not really sure when it became my name publicly.”

 

You seemed to play a few different positions before you settled down at full back, how did that come about?

“Well, I made my debut in February 1967 against Hearts and played at right wing half. We won 5-1 and I kept my place for the rest of the season. When Willie Waddell came, he converted me to a right full back. I felt I was suited to playing there, and was there for most of my career.”

Sandy is being humble when he said the position suited him. He was the first overlapping full back I ever witnessed in Scotland and he was outstanding there. He had everything you could want – stamina, speed, superb at a standing tackle, a fantastic reader of the game who brought others into play, and he was fond of popping up with a goal. I’m not exaggerating when I say he was world class.

 

You were well known for your fitness. How influential was Jock Wallace in that?

“Big Jock was brilliant for the players. He introduced the notorious Gullane Sands, which set us up for the season. People might joke about it but there were about nine members of that team that played well into their mid-thirties, which was uncommon in those days. We attributed that to his physical conditioning methods. Jock Wallace used to be an Army PT instructor and was quite revolutionary in what he introduced in training. He even brought in a professional sprint coach, which I felt I benefitted greatly from. We always seemed to score goals in the last ten minutes of games when other sides were tiring. We put that down to our superior fitness and that was due to Jock. The players all loved him, he was honest and upfront with you.”

 

You played over 1100 first class games in your career. Which one was your favourite?

“I wouldn’t say I had favourite games. I loved playing in every one. As far as importance goes, then obviously the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final victory in Barcelona in ’72 was the pinnacle of my career. Being a member of the only Rangers side to win a European trophy is something special. I played in the 1967 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final defeat to Bayern Munich, and I never really appreciated how big an achievement it was to get that far. It made me appreciate the victory against Moscow Dynamo even more.”

 

Barcelona is one of my finest memories as a Rangers Supporter, what do you remember of the game?

“It was a really good performance from the whole team. We were 2-0 up at half time through Steiny and Bud. We came out for the second half and when Bud added a third we had the game completely in control. The Russians, who were a very good team, scored a goal near the end and added a second with about five minutes to go. It must have been the longest five minutes of my career! The only disappointment was not being able to show the fans the trophy on the night.”

 

That was a magnificent achievement, the single greatest triumph in our history – I thought everyone was fantastic on the night, but Dave Smith in my opinion had the best game of his career. Would you pick out anyone for special praise?

“Davie had a brilliant game, but the whole team was brilliant. Throughout my career I wouldn’t like to pick out individuals. We won as a team and we lost as a team. We had a great spirit about us.”

 

Although the team was fantastic on the night, I actually thought the best single team performance in the European Cup Winners’ Cup run was the semi-final at Ibrox against Bayern Munich. What are your memories of that game?

“Well we were all-square from the first leg in Germany. Over there, we took an absolute battering that night! But we limited them to one goal. They were a great team, and went on to win three European Cups in a row with half the team being West German internationals. We got our equaliser through an own goal, but strangely in the last ten minutes of the game we were chasing the winner as Jock Wallace’s training methods allowed to keep going for the full ninety minutes. The second leg at Ibrox was completely different. We were always confident of beating anyone at home. That night there was 80,000 people crammed in to Ibrox and the atmosphere was amazing – probably the best I’ve ever played in. We started very brightly, and in the second minute I gathered the ball on the right-hand side, got myself forward and managed to hit the ball with my left foot and it sailed over Sepp Maier and into the top left-hand corner. You couldn’t hear yourself think. We added a second through Derek Parlane, who had replaced John Greig after he failed a fitness test. I had never seen any German team lose self-control the way they did that night, they were even arguing on the pitch. We had really gotten to them.”

 

You must have been so proud to have played in that team?

“I was and am. It was an amazing time, playing with great players and great people.”

From a personal point of view, the 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup campaign defined the Rangers team of that era for me. We took on the national cup winners of France, Italy, Portugal, West Germany and Russia - some of the biggest footballing nations in Europe. We played with a style that was suited to the European arena and Willie Waddell must take great credit for that. Players like Sandy, John Greig, Derek Johnstone, Tommy McLean, Peter McCloy, Colin Jackson, and Alex MacDonald went on to be the mainstay of the team for most of the next decade. We also had the very underrated Willie Mathieson and Alfie Conn, the sublime Dave Smith, and of course Willie Johnston and Colin Stein. Some of these players must be included amongst the greatest ever to wear a Rangers shirt.

 

And we will leave it here for part one. We have covered Sandy’s arrival at Rangers up to Barcelona 1972. In the second part we will concentrate on his domestic successes, on leaving Rangers and all his subsequent work at the club. We will also cover the march to Hampden and his hopes for the future.

I’ll reiterate, it was an absolute pleasure to interview Sandy Jardine. He’s the quintessential Rangers man and everything you would expect from someone who has represented our great club both on and off the pitch for so many years. I was impressed with him as a player since I was 12 years old, and today, I impressed with him as a man.

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