Colin McAdam: Fearless striker for Rangers

 

Colin McAdam’s aggressive, barrelling style and long, shaggy hair led to his being branded “The Beast” by followers of Rangers, with whom the 6ft 1in, 13st Glaswegian achieved the highest profile in a Scottish League career spanning nearly 20 years.

There were no holds barred in his battles with younger brother Tom – a forward who had converted to defence, whereas Colin made the opposite switch – in Rangers’ Old Firm tussles with Celtic. Yet away from the game, he was an urbane, educated character whose death, after a heart attack at the age of 61, shocked all who knew him as a fit, healthy teetotaller.

At his first club, Dumbarton, McAdam was dubbed “Hoof”. After making his debut in 1969 he was primarily a defender, although current chief executive, Gilbert Lawrie, who watched from the terraces at their quaintly named ground, Boghead, recalled early evidence of attacking intent. “He shot from the halfway line and the ball bounced on the only dry patch on the pitch, leaving the Arbroath keeper floundering as it sailed into the net.”

In 1975 McAdam moved to Motherwell, where he spent three seasons and was re-branded “Tony” after the tiger in the Frosties TV advert. Three years later, Partick Thistle, managed by former Celtic European Cup winner Bertie Auld, paid £25,000 to bring him back to Glasgow. “He can operate at centre-half, full-back, midfield or up front,” purred Auld, “so we’ve got a few players in one.”

In the event he became a fully fledged striker, enjoying success in tandem with Jim Melrose, who would later flourish with Leicester and Charlton. McAdam’s run-through-a-brick wall approach earned selection for the Scottish League XI and alerted Rangers’ manager John Greig. In 1980, in the first Scottish transfer to be decided by an independent tribunal, he switched to Ibrox for a fee of £165,000.

He scored in his second appearance, against Partick, the first of his 21 goals in 1980-81. The next season, with Greig favouring players such as Derek Johnstone and Gordon Smith, he tended to be used at centre-back. Ally McCoist’s arrival from Sunderland in 1983 pushed him further down the pecking order. McCoist, referring to McAdam affectionately as “Big Beastie”, said after his death: “He was fearless. I always tried to make sure I got on his team in the training five-a-sides.”

Rangers consistently under-achieved – this was the era when the New Firm of Aberdeen and Dundee United put Rangers and Celtic on the back foot – and when Greig was replaced by Jock Wallace, McAdam was marginalised even more. Leaving after 32 goals in 99 games and one winners’ medal, from the 1984 Scottish League Cup final against Celtic and brother “Tam”, he briefly served Adelaide City and Hearts. Rejoining Partick, his 87th-minute header rescued a point against Forfar on his second debut.

Having retired in 1989, he played “junior” football and coached the Clydebank Boys Club team while  resuming the teaching career he  had put on hold as his reputation in football burgeoned.

Colin McAdam, footballer and teacher: born Glasgow 28 August 1951; played for Dumbarton 1969-75, Motherwell 1975-78, Partick Thistle 1978-80, Rangers 1980-84, Adelaide City 1984, Heart of Midlothian 1985-86, Partick Thistle 1986-88; married first Myra (marriage dissolved, two sons, one daughter); second Celia (one daughter); died Glasgow 1 August 2013.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We require a teacher of Science in this com...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of waste ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Representative

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To promote and sell the Company...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea