Ian McColl: Rangers stalwart and successful Scotland manager

When Ian McColl left school, he headed for the gothic tower of Glasgow University. It is a measure of how well he embraced one extra-curricular activity while there that his life would eventually be better known for his achievements under the rather different Twin Towers of Wembley Stadium. For any Scot, playing against England is the stuff of dreams. To manage a Scotland side that beats the auld enemy in their spiritual home, however, is rare indeed. McColl oversaw a 2-1 triumph over England at Wembley in 1963 which made Scotland the British champions.

Wembley was not the only citadel stormed that year. McColl's men went to Madrid's Bernabeu and thrashed Spain 6-2. The rich talent at McColl's disposal was indicated by the fact that two of his men, Denis Law of Manchester United and Jim Baxter of Rangers, were back at Wembley a few months later to play for the Rest of the World against England in celebration of the centenary of the Football Association.

McColl's four-year tenure, between 1961 and 1965, saw him establish the second-best record of any Scotland manager, losing only eight of his 28 matches. He failed to deliver qualification for a World Cup, but that was partly the result of wretched luck. In 1962 an injury-hit side lost a play-off to Czechoslovakia, who went on to reach the final in Chile, losing to Brazil.

What made McColl's managerial career all the more remarkable was that running the national team was his first job and that he acquired it at the age of just 34. He had, however, spent 16 years in a Rangers side which won six Scottish League championships.

Learning was McColl's speciality. The Vale of Leven Academy pupil left his Dunbartonshire home in 1943, when he was accepted by Glasgow University to study civil engineering. Once he got there, the teenager's talent for football saw him recruited by Queen's Park, the Glasgow club who were the pioneers of the British game but remain amateur to this day.

McColl swiftly earned a place in the Queen's Park team, at right-half, playing 57 games. Two years later, in June 1945, he turned professional, with Rangers. However, McColl had continued his degree and he was a part-time player during his long career at Ibrox, working for Rangers and FJC Lilley, civil engineering contractors.

Ian McColl (christened John Miller McColl – Ian being a Scots form of John) was the grandson of William McColl, who played for the Dunbartonshire side Renton in the 1895 Scottish Cup final and was capped by Scotland. Ian made his Rangers début on 16 August 1945, in a 4-2 win over Partick Thistle and went on to make 647 appearances, 538 of them in competitive matches. He won six League titles, five Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups.

McColl was an elegant player, yet his fame was established in the unglamorous trade of defending. He was part of a unit that was dubbed "The Iron Curtain" by the press as they kept out opposition forwards with such ease that Rangers conceded less than a goal a game en route to the title in 1949. This group of men – the goalkeeper Bobby Brown and the full-backs George Young and Jock Shaw, with McColl, Willie Woodburn and Sammy Cox in front of them – played 353 out of 360 League games between 1948 and 1950.

McColl scored 15 times for the club and was a member of the first Rangers side to participate in the European Cup, in 1956-57. He went out on a high in 1960 when he played in a Scottish Cup final win over Kilmarnock. He then took charge of the Rangers reserves before replacing Andy Beattie as Scotland manager.

The appointment reflected McColl's international experience – he won 14 caps over eight years, three against England – but also the fact that he helped out, as a player-assistant, in the successful 1958 World Cup qualifying campaign. However, in those days the role of national manager was merely to suggest players for inclusion – the final selection was made by a committee at the Scottish Football Association.

McColl's advice was good enough to set up wins over England in the Home International Tournament for three successive seasons between 1962 and 1964 and a 2-2 draw at Wembley in 1965, a few weeks before he resigned to be replaced by Jock Stein, who combined the role with his job at Celtic.

McColl, though, was still in demand. A month later he took charge of Sunderland, a club then nicknamed "The Bank of England", for their spending prowess. His first large cheque was issued to Rangers for the talented but wayward Baxter. The player, however, never hit the heights at Roker Park that he had at Ibrox and he left the club before McColl did, in 1968.

At 41, McColl returned to Scotland and went into business as a civil engineer. He then became a coal merchant and, latterly, ran a guest house in Milngavie near Glasgow.

John Miller McColl (Ian McColl), footballer and manager: born Alexandria, Dunbartonshire 7 June 1927; married (one son, one daughter); died Glasgow 24 October 2008.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

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

English Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Group: English as an Additional Langua...

Nursery assistants required in Cambridgeshire

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...

History Teacher

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...

** Female PE Teacher Urgently Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album