Former Rangers and Scotland skipper Eric Caldow has died, the club have announced. He was 84.
Caldow won five league titles, two Scottish Cups and three League cups with the Ibrox club in a career which spanned 407 appearances, and was also capped 40 times by his country and captained the national side on 14 occasions.
Rangers announced his death in a statement on their official website, saying: “Rangers Football Club is today saddened to learn of the death of former captain Eric Caldow at the age of 84.
“The condolences of everyone at Rangers Football Club today go to the family of Mr Caldow, one of our genuine legends, who will never be forgotten by his club.”
Former team-mate John Greig, Rangers’ honorary life president, led the tributes to a man he described as “an absolute gentleman” and “a class act”.
Greig said: “It’s a sad day. Eric was a great player and captain for the club, but above all else he was an absolute gentleman.
“You can’t play over 400 times for Rangers and not be something special, and he definitely helped me a lot when I was a young boy at the club.
“He was a class act and the biggest compliment you can give Eric is that a lot of people outside the club when they saw him would say, ‘That’s Eric Caldow of Rangers’.
“He stood out and even in his latter years he was such a likeable chap. I’ve never heard anybody have a bad word to say about him.”
Cumnock-born Caldow, whose association with the club began at 14, made his senior debut in 1953 as a 19-year-old and soon established himself as a regular in the side.
Greig said: “He was quite a quiet and unassuming type of guy Eric, but he led by example rather than being vociferous.”
He collected his first league winners’ medal in 1955-56 and his fifth and final one in 1962-63 having in the meantime guided Rangers to the 1961 European Cup Winners’ Cup final, where they lost 4-1 to Italian side Fiorentina.
Caldow was capped for the first time by his country against Spain in May 1957 and played in all three of Scotland’s games at the World Cup finals in Sweden the following year.
However, his international career ended in horrific circumstances in 1963 when he broke his leg in three places against England at Wembley.
He fought his way back to fitness and into the Rangers team, but made only three appearances in his final season before moving to Stirling Albion and then as player-manager to Corby Town.
Rangers chairman Dave King said: “I was profoundly saddened to hear of Eric’s passing and I would like to convey my deepest sympathies to his family. Every one of us at the club share their sense of loss.
“Eric truly was a player who could easily be described as heroic and came to epitomise the standards, characteristics and values associated with this club. He was, of course, also a player of international renown with Scotland.
“This is a sad day for the club and the country.”