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David Wilson (born 10 January 1939) is a Scottish former international footballer who played as an outside left and is perhaps best known for his decade at Rangers in which he played an important role in the club's success of the early 1960s.

Davie Wilson
Personal information
Full name David Wilson
Date of birth (1939-01-10) 10 January 1939 (age 80)
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Outside left
Youth career
1954–1956 Baillieston Juniors
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1956–1967 Rangers 227 (99)
1967–1972 Dundee United 129 (20)
1972–1973 Dumbarton 48 (2)
Total 405 (121)
National team
1958 Scotland under-23 1 (0)
1960–1965 Scotland 22 (10[1])
1960–1964 Scottish League XI 7 (3)
Teams managed
1974–1977 Dumbarton (assistant)
1977–1980 Dumbarton
1980–1981 Kilmarnock (assistant)
1984–1986 Dumbarton
1986–1987 Hamilton Academical (assistant)
1987–1989 Queen of the South
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He was also selected 22 times for the Scottish national team, and was later a manager.


Playing careerEdit

Wilson, a native of the mining village of Newton[2][3] just outside Glasgow, was a Rangers supporter in childhood. On a visit to Ibrox Stadium he received advice from former star Alan Morton who played left wing, the position in which Wilson became established.[3]

As a teenager he was rejected by local Junior club Cambuslang Rangers for being too small, and instead began his career at Baillieston.[4] He soon came to the attention of Rangers who signed him in 1956.


Wilson made his first-team debut on 2 January 1957 just prior to his 18th birthday, was selected for European matches against AS Saint-Etienne[5] and AC Milan, and played sufficient games for a League winner's medal in 1959, but it was not until the 1959–60 season that he became a regular in the side. He also began to score frequently, with 22 goals from 50 appearances in all competitions having only scored 8 in 51 in his first three seasons combined. Rangers reached the semi-finals of the European Cup and won the Scottish Cup.[5]

The following season was even more successful, as Rangers won the Scottish Football League and the Scottish League Cup. Wilson played every minute of the campaign's 56 matches and scored over 20 goals, forming part of what would become known as one of the greatest Rangers forward lines, along with Ralph Brand, Jimmy Millar and Willie Henderson, supported by Jim Baxter.[2][3] However, there was disappointment in the European Cup Winners' Cup as Fiorentina overcame Rangers in the final.[5][6]

1961–62 ended with Scottish Cup and League Cup victories,[5] and Wilson achieved a club record which has never been equalled since when he scored six times against Falkirk (a 7–1 win) in March 1962[4][5] (however Jimmy Smith had achieved the feat twice in the 1930s).[7] The next year brought a League and Cup double and Wilson hit over 30 goals, including four in one match against Partick and one in the replayed cup final against Celtic.[5]

In 1963–64, Wilson missed a large part of the winter through injury – a broken ankle[5] – including the League Cup Final, but returned to play in the Scottish Cup Final as Rangers completed the second treble in their history.[8] However, in 1965 they only finished mid-table after Baxter broke a leg,[3] and in the League Cup Wilson was injured in the semi-final and again could not take part in the final.

Rangers regained the Scottish Cup in 1966 against Celtic but lost out in the other competitions to the same opponents, who were beginning a period of dominance. Wilson played in both cup finals[5] but made only 21 appearances overall, his fewest since 1958. Wilson's last campaign with Rangers was 1966–67, as Willie Johnston and new signing Alex Smith became the preferred choice's on the left flank. He made 29 appearances and scored 8 goals, being introduced as a substitute for Johnston in the League Cup final loss to Celtic and the infamous Scottish Cup defeat to Berwick. He did not feature in Rangers' second Cup Winners' Cup Final[5][9] although he played his part in the run including the winning goal in the semi-final, away to Slavia Sofia.[10]

Wilson departed from Ibrox aged 28, having scored a total of 159 goals in 382 matches in all competitions.[11] He was naturally right-footed, and became adept at dribbling with either foot, crossing from the byline on the left, and cutting inside to shoot powerfully with his stronger foot or connect with through balls – tactics which brought an impressive goal tally particularly for a player who was not a dedicated striker (he is ranked seventh of all post-WWII scorers for Rangers).[12] He has since been inducted to the Rangers Hall of Fame.[2]

Dundee UnitedEdit

In August 1967 Wilson transferred to Dundee United along with teammates Jimmy Millar and Wilson Wood, with Orjan Persson moving in the opposite direction. He spent four seasons at Tannadice, playing over 150 matches (129 in Division One) as the club consistently finished in the top half of the league.[13] His time with the club coincided with that of future Rangers boss Walter Smith, whose father had worked with Wilson whilst he was apprenticed to a local steelworks in the village of Westburn, and who would later be signed by Wilson's backroom team in his time as an assistant manager.[3][14] In 2017 Wilson became a member of United's Hall of Fame.[15]


Wilson moved to Dumbarton in January 1972, helped the club win promotion at the end of that season. He retired as a player at the end of the following campaign in 1973, aged 34, after helping Dumbarton maintain their status in the top division;[16] he thereafter became a coach at the club.


Having appeared for the Under-23 side,[17] Wilson made 22 full appearances for Scotland between 1960 and 1965, scoring ten goals;[1][18] he was in the squad which won the 1961–62 and 1962–63 editions of the British Home Championship with perfect records. He enjoyed three wins over rivals England, including scoring in 1962 at Hampden, and playing most of the 1963 fixture at Wembley at left back after his Rangers mate Eric Caldow had his leg broken (before the days of substitutions);[3][5] he had also featured and scored in Scotland's embarrassing 9-3 defeat in 1961.[3][18] Wilson also represented the Scottish League XI seven times, scoring three goals.[19]

In 2014, Wilson was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, which he described as his "greatest honour".[4][14]

Managerial careerEdit

Having served as assistant manager to Alex Wright at Dumbarton – during which time the Sons reached the semi-final stage of the 1975–76 Scottish Cup[20] – Wilson had two spells as manager of the Boghead Park club (1976–1978[21] and 1984–1986),[22] developing players such as Murdo MacLeod, Graeme Sharp and Graeme Sinclair in his first stint and taking the side into the Premier Division in his second, widely regarded as a commendable achievement for a part-time club.

After a short period as assistant to John Lambie at Hamilton Academical, during which they knocked Rangers out of the 1986–87 Scottish Cup,[23] Wilson also had a spell as manager of Dumfries club Queen of the South, taking over after the surprise resignation of promotion winning Nobby Clark.[24]

In retirement Wilson remained an enthusiastic supporter of Rangers, attending many matches and functions and commenting on the club's struggles.[25][4][2] He has also been an after-dinner speaker.[26] In his spare time he kept racing pigeons, and is a lifelong teetotaler and non-smoker.[3]


International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 15 April 1961 Wembley Stadium, London   England 2–3 3–9 BHC
2 15 April 1961 Wembley Stadium, London   England 3–5[a] 3–9 BHC
3 7 October 1961 Windsor Park, Belfast   Northern Ireland 1–0 6–1 BHC
4 14 April 1962 Hampden Park, Glasgow   England 1–0 2–0 BHC
5 8 May 1963 Hampden Park, Glasgow   Austria 1–0 4–1 Friendly
6 8 May 1963 Hampden Park, Glasgow   Austria 2–0 4–1 Friendly
7 13 June 1963 Bernabeu, Madrid   Spain 4–1 6–2 Friendly
8 25 November 1964 Hampden Park, Glasgow   Northern Ireland 1–1 3–2 BHC
9 25 November 1964 Hampden Park, Glasgow   Northern Ireland 3–2 3–2 BHC
10 27 May 1965 Olympia Stadion, Helsinki   Finland 1–1 2–1 WCQG8
  1. ^ The Scottish Football Association archive credits the 3rd Scotland goal to Wilson, and footage from the match (Footage #1 – 2:05 and Footage #2 – 1:29) appears to confirm this; most sources (and the contemporary commentary on the footage) credit the goal to Pat Quinn


  1. ^ a b The Scottish Football Association archive Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine credits the 3rd Scotland goal to Wilson, and footage from the match (Footage #1 – 2:05 and Footage #2 – 1:29) appears to confirm this; most sources (and the contemporary commentary on the footage) credit the goal to Pat Quinn
  2. ^ a b c d "Tribute to one of Newton's favourite sons Davy Wilson". Daily Record/Rutherglen Reformer. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Interview: Davie Wilson on golden era at Ibrox and Hampden". The Scotsman. 16 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "Hall of Fame honour for former Rangers star Wilson". Evening Times. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Hall of Fame Profile: Davie Wilson". Rangers F.C. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  6. ^ Murray, Keir (22 April 2008). "When Rangers met Fiorentina in '61". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Football mourns the loss of Rangers legend Jimmy Smith". The Herald. 6 December 2003. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Classic matches: Rangers 3–1 Dundee, April 1964". Rangers F.C. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  9. ^ "When Euro glory evaded Rangers". BBC Sport. 30 May 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Drama and controversy on road to 1967 European Cup-Winners' Cup Final". Evening Times. 9 June 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Rangers player profile". Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Rangers Postwar Player Records". Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Dundee United player Davie Wilson profile". Dundee United FC Historical Archive. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Walter Smith reveals how long-running internal warfare at Rangers has kept him away from Ibrox". The Daily Telegraph. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Davie Wilson - Hall of Fame inductee 2017". official website. Dundee United F.C. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Dumbarton player Davie Wilson profile". Dumbarton Football Club Historical Archive. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Scotland U23 profile". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  18. ^ a b "The Cambuslang lad who went on to help Scotland beat the old enemy". Daily Record / Rutherglen Reformer. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Scotland FL Players by Appearances". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Dumbarton supermo Gilbert Lawrie yearns after another cup semi-final despite memory of Walter Smith's own-goal clanger". Daily Record. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Dumbarton manager Davie Wilson profile (1st spell)". Dumbarton Football Club Historical Archive. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Dumbarton manager Davie Wilson profile (2nd spell)". Dumbarton Football Club Historical Archive. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  23. ^ "31st January – 30th Anniversary of one of our most famous victories". Hamilton Academical F.C. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  24. ^ Nobby Clark career profile and interview Archived 17 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Rangers legend Davy Wilson recalls day he was pelted with beer bottles as he calls for football booze ban to stay". Daily Record. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Davie Wilson celebrity speaker profile". Scotbase entertainments. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  27. ^ Did not play in 1963–64 or 1964–65 finals
  28. ^ Did not play in 1967 final

External linksEdit