Robert Prytz (1982 to 1985)
Robert Prytz could possibly be categorised as one of those players who represented the Club at slightly the wrong time. A cultured midfielder, Robert played the game with a real continental style which perhaps did not sit particularly well with a support still used to the far more direct approach of Scottish Football.
John Greig paid Malmo £100,000 for the Swedish Internationalist on this day some 40 years ago and he officially became a Rangers player on 1st July 1982. Whilst clearly delighted to get his man, Greig bemoaned the fact that the money had not remained in Scotland but insisted that clubs had been asking “ridiculous prices” for players he had enquired about. At 22 years of age and with a European Cup Final appearance under his belt, Rangers certainly appeared to be getting good value for money. Along with record Club signing Craig Paterson and the dependable Davie McKinnon, that trio of summer acquisitions would bolster the starting XI for the start of the 1982/83 campaign.
Prytz made his competive debut on August 14th at Easter Road in a 1-1 League Cup draw with Hibernian. Rangers qualified from their Section and Robert scored his first goal in a 4-1 win at Clydebank. He followed this up with a penalty in the return tie between the sides at Ibrox. The league campaign got under way at Fir Park and Prytz again demonstrated his prowess from 12 yards to give Rangers an early advantage. However, Rangers surrendered a two goal lead to Jock Wallace’s side with both Well goals coming in the final 15 minutes. It was Prytz who secured our first away win in the league 3 weeks later when he scored our second goal in a memorable 2-1 win at Pittodrie. A goal on his Old Firm debut was another early highlight and with a regular midfield four of Prytz, Bett, Russell and Redford, there was no shortage of ability in that area of the pitch. However, results were inconsistent and by the turn of the year the league challenge was already over.
The Cup competitions had proved more fruitful but despite an Old Firm Hampden appearance, Robert had to settle for a runners up medal in the League Cup and did not feature in the Scottish Cup Final defeat to Aberdeen. He would make 48 appearances in his first season scoring 7 goals (3 penalties).
With his small but stocky physique, golden locks and ruddy complexion, Robert certainly stood out in terms of appearance but his retention of the ball in the hustle bustle of the Scottish game also set him apart. Operating in a central or left sided midfield role, he was a focal point for set piece deliveries and possessed a powerful strike which made him a goal threat.
His second season at Ibrox would see him feature regularly under both John Greig and Jock Wallace, 40 appearances in total across all competitions. Unfortunately, he missed the highlight of the season through suspension as Celtic were defeated 3-2 in the 1983/84 League Cup Final. Prytz had been red carded AFTER the final whistle of the previous match (a Scottish Cup defeat to a Cammy Fraser / Iain Ferguson inspired Dundee) and automatically missed the next match as a result! Ian Redford was dismissed in the same match.
Robert’s only major honour with Rangers came in his third and final season at Ibrox. He appeared as a substitute as the League Cup was retained with a 1-0 win over Dundee United in October 1984. By then, Iain Ferguson and Cammy Fraser had joined the Club and also picked up their first winners medals.
With the number of starting appearances beginning to subside, it was no real surprise when Robert returned home to Sweden in the summer of 1985, joining IFK Goteborg with Rangers making a modest £30,000 profit. Robert would go on to play in the top leagues across Europe including spells with Atalanta and Bayer Uerdingen. Voted Sweden’s Player of the Year in 1986, there was no doubt that Prytz was someone who may well have been in the reckoning had he still been at the Club following the arrival of Graeme Souness as Manager.
Somewhat of a Cult hero, Robert returned to Scotland in the twilight of his career having brief spells at a number of senior sides including Kilmarnock. Approaching his 40’s, Robert dropped to the Junior leagues and became a firm favourite with Pollok, enjoying a couple of successful seasons at Newlandsfield. In fact, his performances prompted former team mate Ally Dawson to sign him for Hamilton Academical where he finished his career some 16 years after leaving Rangers.
He would briefly return to Ibrox later in a coaching capacity, assuming responsibility for some of our youth sides.
In all, Robert made 118 appearances scoring 20 goals.
by Rick Plews