Rangers leg­end Billy Simp­son dies, aged 87

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP -

RANGERS are mourn­ing one of their great­est goal-scor­ers, Billy Simp­son, who passed away yes­ter­day at the age of 87, writes Lindsay Her­ron.

Belfast-born Simp­son, who was a club record sign­ing of £11,500 from Lin­field in Oc­to­ber 1950, is fifth in the post-war Ibrox list be­hind Ally McCoist, Derek John­stone, Ralph Brand and Wil­lie Thorn­ton.

Thorn­ton was the man he idolised as a young­ster when he kicked a ball about with his friends in the shadow of Windsor Park and, iron­i­cally, he re­placed him as Rangers’ No. 9. He scored 163 goals in 239 ap­pear­ances for the Light Blues in a pro­lific eight-year pe­riod in the 1950s win­ning three league ti­tles – 1953, 1956 and 1957 – and, fa­mously, the Scot­tish Cup in 1953.

Even al­though Simp­son had scored 21 goals in the ti­tle-win­ning cam­paign of that sea­son, strict man­ager Bill Struth dropped him for the Scot­tish Cup Fi­nal against Aberdeen as he had been sent off in the league match prior to Ham­p­den showdown.

Simp­son watched from the Main Stand but the fi­nal was drawn 1-1 and he came back for the April 29 re­play to score the only goal in front of 113,700 sup­port­ers. He thrived un­der Struth’s suc­ces­sor Scot Sy­mon and was in­stru­men­tal as Rangers over­came Hearts to win the ti­tle in 1956/57.

He was only capped 12 times by North­ern Ire­land. How­ever, later that year Simp­son scored the win­ning goal at Wem­b­ley when he headed the third goal in a 3-2 win over Eng­land.

On leav­ing Rangers in 1959, he moved to Stir­ling Al­bion ini­tially and then played, ap­pro­pri­ately, for Thorn­ton at Partick This­tle.

Simp­son had a short spell with Ox­ford United but a knee in­jury ended his ca­reer and he re­turned to Glas­gow where he got a job work­ing for Rem­ing­ton Rand in Go­van.

He reg­u­larly went to Rangers matches in his lat­ter years, with his good friend and for­mer team-mate Johnny Hub­bard, un­til ill-health pre­vented his at­ten­dance,

Rangers will hold a minute’s si­lence ahead of the Fe­bru­ary 4 league match with Ross County.

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