Peter McCloy (1970 to 1986)
We have been blessed with some magnificent goalkeepers down the years but only one has ever managed to lift a European trophy as Rangers Number 1. Nicknamed ‘The Girvan Lighthouse’ due to his place of birth and colossal 6’4” frame, that man is Peter McCloy.
Peter was born on this day in 1946 and arrived at Ibrox in 1970, signed by Willie Waddell from Motherwell in a deal that would see both Bobby Watson and Brian Heron move to Fir Park. Already established in that Motherwell side, he had played almost 150 league matches for ‘Well by the age of 23. His Rangers debut came on 14th March 1970 in a 2-1 defeat to Dunfermline at East End Park. In fact, in 7 appearances during that part debut season he would taste victory just once.
His first full season at Ibrox (1970/71) saw him collect his first winners medal, a League Cup win over Celtic in which he kept a clean sheet. He would miss only 3 games of that campaign, already demonstrating his durability.
Season 1971/72 would be the season he would secure legendary status at Rangers as one of the ‘Barca Bears’. Peter was the only ever present that season including, of course, a memorable 9 match run in the European Cup Winners’ Cup. He even provided a partial assist for what proved to be the winning goal with one his trademark booming kick outs!
The Scottish Cup was added in season 1972/73, that famous Centenary win over Celtic when the late Tom Forsyth stabbed home the winner in a 5 goal thriller at Hampden. Again, Peter missed only one match throughout the entire campaign.
He remained first choice keeper under Jock Wallace for season 1973/74 but it proved to be one that would leave us empty handed in terms of silverware. The agonising wait for a league championship success ended in season 1974/75 but not for McCloy as by then it was Stewart Kennedy who was occupying the goalkeeping position meaning he did not make a solitary appearance.
Not for the last time in his Rangers career, Peter fought back to not only win his place but also his first league championship medal. Season 1975/76 would, however, see both he and Kennedy occupy the position for spells. The Treble was secured with Kennedy enjoying the limelight in the League Cup Final whilst Peter finished the season in pole position to secure a Scottish Cup Final win over Hearts.
This battle between Peter and Stewart continued over the next two seasons. Kennedy made the lions share of appearances and Peter was restricted to another Scottish Cup medal in season 1977/78 despite the Club enjoying additional success.
Just as he had done before, he bounced back under John Greig to become an ever present in season 1978/79 earning his 4th Scottish Cup and 2nd League Cup winners medal. The big money signing of Jim Stewart in March 1981 should probably have signalled the end of Peter’s Rangers career but ever the consummate professional, he simply worked away as hard as ever awaiting his next chance.
Whilst the early to mid 1980’s were a struggle in general, Peter added a further two league cup medals to his name featuring in both 1984 victories over Celtic and Dundee United respectively.
Competing with Nicky Walker for the final part of his Rangers career, he played his last first team match on 26th April 1986 in a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie at the age of 39. Walter Smith would be in charge of the team that day pending the arrival of Graeme Souness as manager. Peter remained registered as a player during Graeme’s first season (as emergency cover) and was also initially part of his backroom coaching staff before finally leaving the Club.
He is one of an elite group of Players to make 500 plus appearances for Rangers whilst also representing Scotland on 4 occasions.
'Gas Meter’ was at Ibrox on 1st April 2023 as Allan McGregor became the latest player to join that exclusive club.
by Rick Plews