Derek Parlane is a legend of the famous 1972 cup winners cup squad and a two time treble winner.
Inducted into the hall of fame he has immersed himself in our great history with massive contributions in the light blue of our club.
But Parlane was before my time, so I have only ever seen footage. He was of course a hero to my Father, his brothers and indeed his own Father, everyone speaking highly of the man crowned ‘the king of Ibrox Park’
So I had to ask a friend exactly what Derek was like, it wasn’t hard to see the positivity surrounding him. Our very own Andy Cameron MBE told me happily
Many years ago at a golf day Billy McNeill was asked ‘who was your best ever signing’.
Without hesitation he said,“When I was at Manchester City I signed Derek Parlane, he played 50 games for me and scored 48 goals, those goals saved Man City from relegation and saved me from the sack”
Quite a compliment from somebody who’d had many a battle with Derek when he was captain of our rivals.
Big Derek scored a goal against them in the 1973 Cup Final when Rangers won 3-2 and a year previously he scored what was the decisive goal when Rangers defeated Bayern Munich in the semi-final of the Cup Winners Cup.
He is still a Ranger and when you see him on a match day at Ibrox you’d think he would still do a job on the park even at 64.
‘Once a Ranger always a Ranger’ could have been written for Derek Parlane,The King of Ibrox Park.
So when I had the chance to sit down with such a legend of our club, I was naturally thrilled.
1 – You broke through into Rangers first team squad in 1970 at the tender age of just 16, what was it like to play in same team as Jardine, Greig amongst others at that early stage?
When I joined Rangers at 16 it was a very surreal feeling to suddenly be training and playing with players that I had always idolised, so I made a conscious effort to work hard and play as well I could to ensure I was successful, because as a lifelong Rangers supporter this was a dream come true for me and something I had always dreamed about.
2 – April 19, 1972. You had played just two games for Rangers & at the age of only 18 you were thrust into arguably the biggest game in Rangers history at that point, Bayern Munich, How did you feel when you learned you would play that night?
That night when the manager named to team I nearly fell off the seat I was sitting on in the dressing room! I could hardly believe that he’d named me to wear the number four shirt which was normally John Greigs, but he wasn’t fit to play, and as this all happened about two hours before the kick-off, I don’t suppose I had time to be nervous
3 – You scored the second goal that night & Born was the king of Ibrox Park, what do you remember of that goal?
Sandy Jardine scored our first, but I remember everything about my goal as if it was yesterday. Willie Johnson took the corner and Sepp Mayer the Bayern Munich keeper punched it out and I saw it dropping not far from where I was on the edge of the 18 yard box. I thought this was a chance and as it dropped I hit it on the half volley and it flew into the top left hand corner of the goal. I don’t think that I’ll ever forget the noise when I scored that night it was an unbelievable moment in my life.
4 – Your 18 & your goal has sent Rangers on their way to a major European final, you must have been on top of the world?
My life changed that night, it was without doubt the moment that I I introduced myself to the wonderful Rangers Supporters and an evening that will live with me forever.
5 – Barcelona, The final & you were on the bench, what was it like to be involved in that night ?
Yes I was on the bench in Barcelona as our captain was fit, but that was fine I expected it but to just be involved in such a wonderful team/squad of players was incredible and something that I’m so proud of, we would have run through brick walls for each other, the commorardary and team spirit was very special.
6 – As Rangers began their charge at Scottish football the great Jock Wallace became the new manager, what was he like as a manager?
Jock Wallace was a wonderful man first and foremost and someone who demanded 100% in everything we did, both in games and on the training park. He was always honest so you knew what you were getting, which could either be a kick up the backside or a pat on the back, I loved him to bits.
7 – He had a no nonsense style & history tells us he wasn’t to be messed with, where you ever on his wrong side?
Yes there were times when I did get that kick up the backside, as we all did but as I said you always knew what you were getting with the big man.
8 – Colin Stein & Willie Johnston were sold in the years after that European success & you became the clubs main man, You scored in your Old Firm debut, that must have helped you settle even further?
Yes Steven, scoring against Celtic was always special and I was fortunate to have scored quite a few, and my first one against them was a penalty at Ibrox in a 2-1 victory, at the Celtic end too which made it all the better, and I think it did endear me the our wonderful supporters.
9 – You made a habit of scoring big goals, 4 out of 5 seasons you finished as top scorer, was it easy as the Rangers no 9 that replaced hereos like Stein?
No it wasn’t easy to replace Colin because he was a hero amongst the fans, but I was conscious that I needed to work hard and score goals and I did this, but the moment when I knew I had the fans backing was when I scored our fourth goal against East Fife away just before Christmas in my first season, and they started singing Parlane, Parlane, Parlane, Parlane, Born is the King of Ibrox Park, it was a very special moment and the moment I felt accepted, I went on to score 27 goals that season.
10 – Rangers finally broke Celtics resistance in 1975 to clinch the league title, talk us through that day & how it finally felt?
We stopped Celtic winning ten in a row so that was important, so I can remember that we were all so focused that day going to Easter Road to play Hibs knowing that a point would win us the league and when Colin Stein scored with a great header to give us the point we needed we’d done it, I think I was nearly crushed by Jock Wallace when he ran onto the pitch at the final whistle and hugged us all, it was a special day in our history.
11 – Treble winning season that followed as Rangers stamped their authority on the Scottish game you lost your place as number 9, how difficult was that?
It was difficult but I’d gone off the boil a bit and tried to refocus on what I needed to do to find my form again, but it’s part of the game and something that every player goes through so I had to work even harder to get my no 9 shirt back.
12 – You were part of another historic treble winning side in season 1977/78 what does it feel like to have been part of two treble winning Rangers sides?
It’s very special being involved in such a big part of this great clubs history and certainly something that I’m very proud of, but as I said previously the squad we had in that era were a brilliant set of lads and every one of them now recognised as Rangers legends.
13 – You left Rangers and went down south to Leeds & enjoyed time at Man City amongst others, what was life after Rangers like?
I found things after Rangers difficult as they were such a huge part of my life but I had to adapt and although I struggled at Leeds Utd, I found my form again at Man.City and really enjoyed my spell there at the old Maine Road scoring 22 goals in my first season.
14 – You were enrolled into the Hall of Fame in 2010, How does it feel to be engrained in our history with such an honour?
I won’t ever forget the moment I knew I was to be enrolled into the Rangers Hall of Fame which is such an elite collection of great players who have played for the club through the years, and I don’t mind telling you that I had a tear in my eye when I collected the wonderful trophy that evening in Glasgow.
15 – You scored many goals, many massive goals but is there a particular favourite?
Two goals instantly come to mind Steven, obviously my goal against Bayern Munich was very special and certainly launched my career, but the other one has to be Rangers first goal against Celtic in the 1973 Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park. It was the Centenary Cup Final and the first one attended by royalty and in front of 130,00 supporters. We won the match 3-2 and to cap it all it was my 20th birthday that day.
16 – Finally, not many Rangers forwards are part of European teams that gain success, Treble winners & score the goals you did, as impossible as it might be, what was the highlight of your Rangers career?
I think being a Rangers supporter as a boy growing up and being told by my Dad that Rangers were coming to our house to sign at me was a dream and a memory that I’ll never forget, but every goal I scored was special and the way I was embraced by the fans during my 10 year spell at Ibrox, and the way I’m still treated and recognised for what I did is amazing but you know what they say Steven – once a Ranger, always a Ranger …..
It was truly an honour for me to spend some time speaking with Derek Parlane and he has undoubted love for our club. It is a shame I never got to see him but researching his history and watching footage is something I have thoroughly enjoyed.
It’s fitting that the final word should go to the voice of Rangers Mr Tom Miller, when I asked him about Derek he couldn’t have been happier to tell us the following
10 years at Ibrox but a Ranger for life.
That sums up the legend that is Derek Parlane.
Steeped in the Rangers tradition with his Dad Jimmy, a stalwart of the war years sides, meaning when Derek started attracting attention as a youth player there really was only 1 destination for his talents.
April 1972 and with skipper John Greig side lined with injury, Derek was thrust into the Rangers engine room as his replacement for the Semi Final of the European Cup Winners Cup against a Bayern Munich side that boasted more than half of the German international side of the day ! Not for a moment was the 18 year old in any way overawed and actually scored the crucial 2nd goal in our 2- nil win with a thunderous effort into the roof of the net.
It was only Derek`s 3rd appearance for the Light Blues but a star was born.
Reverting to his preferred strikers role in the following seasons Derek was a revelation as Rangers bossed the Scottish game including a treble win in 1975/76.
300 Rangers appearances and 111 Goals. A hat trick of titles Scottish Cups and League Cups marks Derek`s legendary status at the club.
A top player without a doubt but more than that – Derek still has an incredibly deep affection for the club and it`s a pleasure to be in his company any time he comes north from his home in Lancashire for a game.
I`m incredibly proud and privileged to call Derek Parlane a pal.
Derek Parlane ‘The king of Ibrox Park’