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Davie Wilson passes away

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RIP Davie Wilson - never saw him play but my Dad tells me he was a fantastic player and a great Ranger. 


Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends. 

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Davie Wilson a true entertainer who lived his Rangers dream

John Greechan

Wednesday June 15 2022, 12.01am, The Times


Davie Wilson broke into the Rangers first team just before his 18th birthday and went on to play 373 games for the club

Davie Wilson broke into the Rangers first team just before his 18th birthday and went on to play 373 games for the club




A fierce competitor who was “Rangers through and through”, according to everyone who ever played with or against him, Davie Wilson is remembered for his ability, versatility and dazzling flamboyance as a true entertainer.

But there’s another word Wilson’s old friends and team-mates use to describe the former Scotland winger, who has died at the age of 85.

“Davie was just a gentleman, a true gentleman,” is how Dave Smith sums up the character of a man who was always thinking about his team-mates and forever looking to make others feel more comfortable in even the most demanding situations.

A boyhood Rangers fan who broke into the first team just before his 18th birthday back in January of 1957, Wilson would go on to win four league titles, five Scottish Cups and two League Cups. In 11 full seasons at Ibrox, he made 373 appearances, scoring 158 goals, and was part of the team which made it all the way to the 1961 European Cup-Winners’ Cup final against Fiorentina.

Wilson, who would go on to play for Dundee United and Dumbarton, also won 22 caps for Scotland, his ten international goals a testament to his ability to score from even a traditional winger’s starting position on the touchline.


He was still a regular at Ibrox until ill health began to take its toll in recent years, and he enjoyed catching up with old team-mates and friends at games.

Cup Winners’ Cup-winning great Smith, who used to speak regularly to a man he admired as much for his character as his playing ability, said yesterday: “I actually shared a room with Davie on trips when I joined Rangers — and he couldn’t have done more to help me. Nothing was too much bother.


Wilson, described as ‘Rangers through and through’, was a regular at Ibrox

Wilson, described as ‘Rangers through and through’, was a regular at Ibrox



“Signing from Aberdeen, where we hadn’t played European football, I didn’t know anything about travelling abroad for games. Davie put me at ease, obviously he had a lot of experience, and he taught me to think of those ties as just another game. I think that’s what I’ll remember about him, the fact that he was such a gentleman. I used to love meeting him at games and he was a regular at home matches, until such time as he became too ill.

“He was Rangers through and through, was Davie. And being at Rangers meant needing to win everything. He understood that. He was a real competitor. He loved his pigeons, he had plenty of them for a while, and they were racing pigeons — there had to be a competitive element to it for him!

“And he was such a good player. He could actually play anywhere across the front line, even at centre forward, even though he wasn’t big. He was really good in the air for his size.

“He gave everything he had in every game, he was quick and he scored a lot of goals. That was Davie, just a great Rangers player. I played against him plenty of times before joining Rangers and he always carried that goal threat.

“In terms of style, he was one of the most flamboyant players, at times. I think I remember him driving around in a Jaguar at some point, too … but that wasn’t really him, he was such a down-to-earth guy. When he moved on to Dundee United, he played with my brother, Doug, who couldn’t have spoken more highly of him as a player — a really good all-round footballer — and as a person.”

It says everything about Wilson’s ability with a football that he was inducted into three separate pantheons of legend during his lifetime, earning a place in the Scotland, Rangers and Dundee United Halls of Fame.


His strongest ties were always with the Govan club he grew up supporting, with confirmation of his death coming via Rangers yesterday, their official statement noting: “Davie was said to have ‘loved Rangers with every breath.’ The thoughts of the directors, staff and players of Rangers are today with the family and friends of Davie.”

The Scottish Football Association issued a statement on behalf of the national team once graced by the skills of Wilson, saying: “We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Scotland player and Scottish Football Hall of Fame member Davie Wilson today. The thoughts of everyone at the Scottish FA are with his friends and family.”

Dundee United also used social media to say: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of our 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Davie Wilson. Davie made over 150 appearances for United, scoring 27 times. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”



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Davie Wilson, footballer, was born on January 10, 1937, in Glasgow. He died on June 14, 2022, from Alzheimer’s-linked illness, aged 85


Davie Wilson obituary

Scotland and Rangers great who played in the famous 2-1 defeat of England at Wembley in 1963


Wednesday June 15 2022, 5.00pm, The Times

Wilson at Highbury in May 1963 for the Jack Kelsey testimonial match against Arsenal. Wilson scored 159 goals for Rangers in 382 appearances

Wilson at Highbury in May 1963 for the Jack Kelsey testimonial match against Arsenal. Wilson scored 159 goals for Rangers in 382 appearances



Even into his early eighties, Davie Wilson kept to a strict diet and fitness regimen which he claimed had been the secret to his long, healthy life. A Rangers and Scotland great of the 1960s, Wilson was able to say in 2011: “Here I am 50 years after playing for Rangers against Fiorentina in the 1961 European Cup Winners Cup final, and I am exactly the same weight now — nine stone — as I was back then.” He never touched a drop of alcohol in his life.

Wilson, who has died at the age of 85 from conditions linked to Alzheimer’s disease, participated in some memorable moments in football, not least one night in June 1963 in the Bernabéu in Madrid when Scotland beat Spain 6-2. It is the sort of result that Scotland fans today can scarcely believe. Spain took the lead that night but a Scotland team comprising of Wilson, Ian St John, a young Willie Henderson, Billy McNeill and a swaggering Jim Baxter duly put their hosts to the sword.

Wilson also played in Scotland’s famous 2-1 defeat of England at Wembley in 1963, the game in which “the crack” of his team-mate Eric Caldow’s broken leg was said to have been heard across the pitch. Wilson, a left-winger, was forced to fill in as left-back following Caldow’s departure, and showed equal ingenuity as a defender.

Of those Scotland conquests of Spain, England and others, Wilson told The Times in 2016: “They were special times — what a Scotland team we had back then. You’re talking guys like Denis Law, Jimmy Baxter, St John, players of that ilk. Sometimes we felt no one could touch us.”

Born in 1937 in Newton, the old mining community of south Glasgow, Wilson was one of four children — Davie, Nan, Grace and Linda — born to Thomas and Margaret Wilson. His father was a miner, his mother a home-maker, and 16-year-old Davie had begun training to be template-maker when his football career was in its infancy.


Wilson was raised amid an austere Protestant puritanism. “I’ve never had a drop of alcohol in my life — we weren’t all Jimmy Baxters,” he said. “I never fancied the taste of it. My father didn’t drink and nor did my mother.

“Whenever we won anything at Rangers, and they poured champagne into the cup, I put it up to my lips as if I was drinking it, but I never did.”

It was as a Rangers player — at first earning £12 a week but then rising to a seismic £45 a week — that Wilson made his name. Blond-haired and willowy, standing 5ft 6in and with tremendous sleight of foot, he had been rejected by a number of clubs for being too small and frail, before Rangers spotted him playing for Baillieston Juniors in 1956 and had no hesitation in signing him.


At Ibrox, as his career began to unfold, Wilson would go to the front steps of the stadium at every home game and hand two match tickets to his doting father, mired in the grim mining industry but now marvelling at his son’s career.

Wilson had scored for Scotland against England in the 2-0 win at Hampden in 1962, played and won again against England a year later at Wembley, and also featured for Rangers in the 1961 Cup Winners Cup final, lost 4-1 over two legs to Fiorentina. On March 17, 1962 he set a Rangers scoring record which stands to this day, when he bagged six in a 7-1 rout of Falkirk.

Wilson in action for Rangers. He won four league titles, five Scottish Cups and two league cups with the Ibrox club

Wilson  won four league titles, five Scottish Cups and two league cups with the Ibrox club



It was during those early days of his career, with his eye-catching talent so obvious, that Everton, then one of the giants of English football, came in for him. Everton were prepared to make the then 24-year-old Wilson the first £100,000 player in British football. Had he gone, Wilson would have tripled his salary, but a combination of his love for Rangers, and closeness to his father, meant he stayed.

His Rangers career became a personal crock of gold. In 11 trophy-laden years Wilson won four league titles, five Scottish Cups and two league cups. He also, between 1960 and 1965, earned 22 Scotland caps.

Life wasn’t all sweetness and light, however. While his football was taking off, Wilson and his wife, Avril, suffered the death of their first child, who died just days before birth due to an anaesthetic accident. The couple did go on to have two children: Sheena, who is a carer, and David, who works in the IT industry. He is survived by Avril, his children, four grandchildren and by two sisters, Grace and Linda.


Symon had decided to swap Wilson for Dundee United’s dribbling Swede, Orjan Persson, though quickly saw the error of his ways. “I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life,” Wilson claims Symon said to him on the phone a week later. Wilson replied, “Well, it’s too late now”. He played for four more years and became a fans’ favourite at Tannadice.

Following the end of his playing career in 1973 Wilson successfully managed Dumbarton for a period, and after that took on a meet-and-greet ambassadorial role at Ibrox. He managed his pigeon lofts in Newton for more than 60 years.

More recently Wilson grew interested in faith and became a churchgoer. But his renowned physical and mental fitness finally gave way to dementia linked to Alzheimer’s, a condition his family are convinced was linked to his football career.


Davie Wilson, footballer, was born on January 10, 1937, in Glasgow. He died on June 14, 2022, from Alzheimer’s-linked illness, aged 85




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2 hours ago, alexscottislegend said:

Scott, McMillan, Millar, Brand and Wilson - that forward line still trips off the tongue. Always an under-rated player I thought, maybe because he wasn't 'flashy.'

Davie Wilson was never underrated by anyone who saw him play.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Funeral arrangements of Rangers and Scotland Legend Davy Wilson's funeral are as follows. 

Family and Friends of Davy are invited to attend his funeral Service 
At 3pm prompt on
Fri 1st July 2022
The service will be held at the 
Hurlet Crematorium, Glasgow Rd,
G53 7TH

At the family request 
Bright colours are encouraged

The cortege will pass the front doors of Ibrox Stadium at approx 2.05pm 2.15pm that same day, should fans wish to gather to pay their respects.

The family would like to thank everyone for the kindness shown to them at this sad time.

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