Colin Jackson (1963 to 1982)
May 24th 1972 will forever be engrained in the minds of all true Rangers supporters, our greatest ever victory resulting in our one and only European trophy success to date. The 'Barca Bears' were born and continue to be idolised by subsequent generations of fans.
For one player in particular, that famous day in Barcelona held mixed emotions. Injured in training on the eve of the European Cup Winners' Cup Final versus Moscow Dynamo, Colin Jackson was forced to miss the match in the most heart-breaking of circumstances. Having played in 7 of the previous 8 matches on the European run, he would have been a certain starter in Barcelona and there is no doubt that his semi-final performances against the word class Gerd Muller had been a major factor in Gers eliminating (overwhelming favourites) Bayern Munich and progressing all the way.
Colin's association with Rangers began back in 1962 when he signed for the Club on provisional forms. Born in London, the Aberdonian left the North East the following year to become a full time player at Ibrox. Initially biding his time in the Combination Reserve League (representing the Third Team), he would be joined by fellow new boys Willie Johnston and Billy Semple and all three would become first team players.
Colin would make his breakthrough on the first day of 1966, just two months after celebrating his 19th Birthday, as Partick Thistle were swept aside 4-0 at Ibrox; Willie Johnston, John Greig, Alec Willoughby and George McLean netting the goals. However, as we faced Celtic at Parkhead 2 days later, the experienced Hynd and Scotland regular McKinnon had been restored to the side (in what was a painful afternoon for Rangers). It was a sign of things to come for Colin as he had to show unbelievable patience before becoming a Rangers first team regular.
1970/71 would be the turning point for Colin, he would play in 33 out a possible 34 league matches whilst making a further 18 appearances in Cup competitions. Whilst he had played in key matches such as Newcastle United, Athletic Bilboa and several Old Firm clashes in the proceeding years, this would be the season where he would become an automatic first choice. The League Cup Final win over Celtic would end a 4 year wait for silverware and it was Jackson's defensive partner Ronnie McKinnon who would captain the side to victory at Hampden. The luck that would desert Colin in Barcelona was possibly on his side that day, John Greig missing the League Cup Final with Flu and Jackson slotting in to the side. 'Bomber' never looked back.
Colin would go on to secure a further 4 League Cup winners medals making it five in total. Perhaps one of his greatest personal moments came in the final seconds of the 1978/79 final when he headed home the winner against Aberdeen in the 90th minute as Rangers came from behind to win 2-1.
By then, Colin had suffered the disappointment of Barcelona but had more than bounced back by tasting success in winning the domestic Treble, twice.
The long wait for the Championship to return to Ibrox had ended in 1975 and Colin was at the heart of the Gers defence as Colin Stein secured the required point at Easter Road. His blossoming partnership with Tom Forsyth had been the rock on which the title success was achieved and they would continue to be at the top of their game as the Treble was secured in both 1977/76 and 1977/78 under Jock Wallace. It was a pairing that would rival any in European football for three or four years.
Colin was a great penalty box defender, a stopper of international class who was alert to the movement of attacking threats. Nowhere near as physical as his partner Forsyth, he was still extremely commanding and his ability in the air was a key attribute.
Under John Greig as manager, Colin would secure the last of his winners medals as Dundee United were defeated 2-1 in the League Cup Final at Hampden in November 1981. He would be back at the national stadium just 6 months later but Rangers would crumble in extra time as the Scottish Cup returned to his home City of Aberdeen. With signs that the ageing legs were naturally starting to go, this would prove to be Colin's 505th and final appearance for Rangers. He had secured 12 major honours during that period chipping in with 40 goals.
An outstanding servant to the Club for close on 20 years, Colin had been awarded a richly deserved testimonial in the weeks leading up to that 1981 League Cup Final victory. The Rangers support turned out to honour Colin as Everton provided the opposition in a 1-1 draw.
Colin played out the twilight of his career with Partick Thistle and Morton whilst proving to be successful in business operating as a Financial Consultant. He continued to be involved in football, scouting in Scotland for Sheffield United, before returning to Ibrox for many years as a much loved host in the hospitality suites where he would often pair up with one of his own heroes, Jimmy Millar.
Colin passed away in 2015 at the age of 68 following a battle with leukaemia.
by Rick Plews