John Greig

By Adam Robertson
 September 27, 2020

John Greig - Greatest Ever Ranger

John Greig - Greatest Ever Ranger

There are few, living or dead, who typify the spirit of Rangers more than John Greig.  Once voted the ‘Greatest Ever Ranger’, he is remembered as a player who drove the team forward with fist clenched symbolising the fierce determination that characterised his game.  It was legendary Boss, Bill Struth who coined the maxim that ‘only the best was good enough for Rangers’ and, in Greig, Rangers had a player who was the embodiment of that adage.

A versatile player, equally comfortable in the midfield or defence, he showed unquestionable loyalty too.  Rangers was the only club he played for and even when, in 1978, he hung his boots at the age of 35 after 18 seasons, there were many who felt it was premature.  By then, he had played 859, including a record number of 498 League appearances for the club and scored 142 goals.  However, legendary status is not achieved by appearances alone.  Greig reached the pinnacle as a player by leading the side to that famous European Cup Winners Cup 1972 win in Barcelona by beating Dynamo Moscow 3–2.  

It was not the only honour he won at the club of course.  He helped the side to the domestic Treble on three occasions – in 1963-64, 1975-76 and 1977-78 – the only player to have done so.  Indeed, his tally of domestic medals included five Championship, six Scottish Cup, and four League Cup.

It’s an impressive collection, but who knows what he would have achieved if his career had not coincided with a period of sustained dominance by city rivals Celtic through the later part of the 60’s and early 70’s, culminating in their nine successive championships.  Ironically, it was through this period that his reputation as a gritty no nonsense player was consolidated.  The Rangers fans saw him as a figure who would stand defiantly, almost single-handedly it seemed at times, in the face of the stern challenge from the east of the city.  Stand he did until Rangers prevailed to enjoy their own period of dominance.

International honours naturally followed for John Grieg and he played 44 times for Scotland, captaining the side on 15 occasions.  One of these was the memorable 1967 victory over England in their first match after winning the 1966 World Cup.  

Official recognition for Greig’s contribution was provided initially in two Scottish Sportswriters Player of the Year Awards in 1966 and 1976 and then, in 1977, he was awarded the MBE for his services to the game. The ultimate accolades came when he entered that Rangers Hall of Fame and finally became Honorary President of the club.  A true legend by any standard. 

David Mason - Club Historian

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