Davie Cooper

By Adam Robertson
 September 20, 2020

Davie Cooper - Footballing Ballet

Davie Cooper - Footballing Ballet

I was a shy 13 year-old, still harbouring dreams of working in sports media, when I was sat next to a hero sharing some food. I had managed to land a day's work experience in the Scotsport studio and, after filming was done in Cowcaddens, was invited to the post-shoot sandwich tea. As Jim White struggled to contain his excitement about their footage of Duncan Ferguson and John McStay, I just wanted to ask the studio guests a question. Gordon Smith was before my time but Davie Cooper was a key part of the first Rangers team I could remember. The Adidas Predator had not long been launched, to great fanfare, and I worked up the courage to mumble something about what he could have done with them. "If I had those son, the ball would have come back around and hit my arse." 

He didn't need gimmicks or artificial support, as his free kick in the 1987 Skol League Cup Final proved. "I had the wind behind me and just blasted it", he told the press afterwards, as if all you and I needed was a bit of a breeze. He hadn't touched the ball in the opening 20 minutes as Rangers were behind and rattled. One was enough to change the momentum as he raced to take the adulation of a wild north enclosure, on which he would have been stood had he not been a genius. 

Cooper was involved in my favourite Rangers goal of all time, although by way of a masterful assist rather than a finish. His reverse pass to Ian Durrant in the first defeat of Celtic in that famous 1986/87 season was a thing of absolute wonder. Both lives were touched by tragedy but still provided more light than millions of others, and they combined, amidst the usual Old Firm heavy metal, to provide a moment of pure footballing ballet. 

Famously Ruud Gullit, who had played against Cooper when at Feyenoord in 1984, selected him in his all-time XI. Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho were left on the bench.

Martyn Ramsay - @hobbes_ff

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