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Kevin Drinkell

Kevin Drinkell (1988 to 1989)

Kevin Drinkell’s Rangers career came to an end on when he swapped the Royal Blue of Rangers for the Sky Blue of Coventry City. It was a shock departure given the success he had enjoyed in his first (and only) full season with the Club.

Along with Gary Stevens, Kevin had arrived at Ibrox in the summer of 1988 as Graeme Souness looked to further strengthen his squad in an effort to regain the title from Celtic. Just as he had done the previous two summers, Souness turned to England to land the powerful target man he seemed so intent on leading his forward line. Neither Colin West nor Mark Falco had managed to cement their position and so Graeme’s attention switched to the 28 year old Norwich striker who had scored 50 league goals for the Canaries but who was also attracting interest from both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Rangers got their man and Drinkell arrived for a fee of £500,000.

His competitive debut came on 13th August 1988 as Rangers defeated Hamilton Accies 2-0 at Douglas Park. It was a symbolic day for the Club, the first league fixture in a run that would culminate in 9 successive championships. Drinkell partnered Ally McCoist on that opening day and whilst he did not get on the scoresheet, his first goal arrived only 4 days later as Gers defeated Clyde 3-0 in the League Cup at Firhill. His first Ibrox goal came in the same competition the following midweek as Clydebank were thrashed 6-0. Next up for “Drinks” was the first Old Firm clash of the season and a game he would never forget. Despite falling behind to an early goal, Rangers roared back to destroy Celtic 5-1 with Drinkell scoring the fourth with an outstanding header (his challenge on Andrews was also instrumental in the third goal that afternoon).

Drinkell’s first winners medal arrived in October as Rangers defeated Aberdeen 3-2 to secure the League Cup at Hampden. Kevin had missed the semi final through injury but played in all the other rounds.

During the run-in to the league title, he would score a number of crucial goals including the only one of the game at Easter Road and the opener in a 2-1 win at Parkhead (our first away victory over Celtic in the league since 1980). It was fitting that Drinkell would score two of the four goals on the day that the title was eventually secured as Rangers defeated Hearts 4-0 on 29th April 1989. He finished the season as the Club’s top scorer with 19 goals (11 league, 5 Scottish cup, 2 league cup and 1 UEFA). With Ally McCoist having missed large parts of the season though injury, both Drinkell and Mark Walters had stepped up to the plate in terms of goal scoring.

Never one to stand still, Souness would shock the footballing world by signing Maurice Johnston in the summer of 1989 and it was the unfortunate Drinkell who, ultimately, found himself surplus to requirements. He did appear in the first four league games of the 89/90 campaign including starts against Celtic and Aberdeen as we picked up our first points of the season but was soon heading to Highfield Road for a fee of just under £1M. It represented good business for Rangers but the vast majority of fans were saddened to see Kevin leave the Club, he had certainly never let the side down during his 15 months in Glasgow.

by Rick Plews 

Stats

Competition
League
League Cup
Scottish Cup
Europe
Total
Starts
34
5
8
3
50
Sub
2
1
0
1
4
Goals
11
2
5
1
19
Other
11
0
5

Honours

Competition
League
League Cup
Scottish Cup
Europe
Wins
2
1
0
0

Kevin Drinkell

D.O.B
18 June, 1960
Signed
29 June, 1988
Norwich City
Left
1 June, 1999
Coventry
Competitive Debut
Hamilton Acas v Rangers 0-2 13 August 1988
Appearances
54
Goals
19
Bio
Gallery
DOB: 18 June, 1960
Signed: 
Left: 
Competitive Debut: Hamilton Acas v Rangers 0-2 13 August 1988
Total Appearances: 54
Competition
Starts
Sub
Goals
League
34
2
11
League Cup
5
1
2
Scottish Cup
8
0
5
Europe
3
1
1
total
50
4
19
Honours
League
2
League Cup
1
Scottish Cup
0
Europe
0
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