Colin Jackson: Defender who won multiple honours with Rangers and helped Scotland to victory over England in Glasgow


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Colin Jackson was tall, lean and pacy, a formidably tough central defender whose physical power was matched by his intelligent reading of the action as he collected 11 major honours with Rangers in the 1970s, including two domestic trebles. Nicknamed “Bomber” for his aerial prowess at both ends of the pitch – he scored 40 goals in his 505 appearances for the Ibrox side – he was never on the losing side in his eight games for Scotland, whom he helped to beat England at Hampden Park on his farewell international outing in 1976.

There might have been European glory, too, but Jackson turned his ankle the day before the Cup-Winners’ Cup final of 1972, in which Rangers defeated Moscow Dynamo in Barcelona. His absence was particularly poignant as he had shone in the semi-final victory over Bayern Munich, in which he had nullified the great German marksman Gerd Muller.

Born in London but raised in Aberdeen, Jackson joined Rangers in 1962, then was farmed out to junior club Sunnybank Athletic to gain experience before returning to Ibrox a year later. Thereafter he needed patience, waiting in line behind such revered bulwarks as Ronnie McKinnon and John Greig, not enjoying his first settled run in Willie Waddell’s team until 1970-71, when he also pocketed his first major honour as the Blues beat Jock Stein’s massively dominant Celtic to lift the League Cup.

Jackson finally cemented his place, alongside fellow centre-half Tom Forsyth in 1974-75 when Rangers, now managed by Jock Wallace, ended the Bhoys’ extraordinary run of nine consecutive League titles, and after that silverware flowed into Ibrox on a regular basis. Trebles of the League Championship, Scottish Cup and League Cup were secured in 1975-76 and 1977-78, when Jackson scored in the final-day clincher against Motherwell; there was another Scottish Cup in 1978-79 and two more League Cup triumphs, in 1978-79 – when he headed a last-minute winner from Tommy McLean’s corner – and 1981-82.

There was also a rousing European Cup adventure in 1978-79, with Jackson excelling as Juventus and PSV Eindhoven were swept aside, only for Rangers to lose their quarter-final to Cologne.

His international input, which began in a 1-1 draw in Sweden in April 1975 and lasted a year, was limited by the quality of Gordon McQueen, Martin Buchan and others, but could hardly be faulted. He left Rangers aged 35 in 1982, ending his playing days in 1984 after two fleeting stints at Morton, split by a brief spell with Partick Thistle. Later a partner in a printing company, he died of leukaemia.


Colin MacDonald Jackson, footballer and businessman: born London 8 October 1946; played for Rangers, Morton (twice), Partick Thistle and Scotland; married (one daughter, one son); died 6 June 2015.