JOHN Greig was one of the greatest of all Rangers players and the only one to step up from the dressing room straight into the manager’s office.

During his 18 years as a player, Greig had been a massive figure at Ibrox. He was an inspirational captain who had lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup, beating Moscow Dynamo 3-2 in the Final in 1972. He had played in three Treble winning sides.

His honours with Rangers included five Championships, six Scottish Cups and four League Cups. He had captained his country and won 44 caps. In short, he had done it all.

Greig, a skilful and versatile player who had turned in top performances at full back, wing half and inside forward during his career, had experienced the glittering prizes early in life. But he had also known the lean years.

When times had been difficult and Celtic were enjoying success under Jock Stein, Greig had seen it through. As captain of Scotland he was a target for top English clubs, but Greig stayed with Rangers.

That loyalty and his strength of character meant that he more than anyone came to embody the spirit of Rangers. He commanded enormous respect for his playing ability and for his passionate will to win, qualities close to the hearts of the supporters.

And so in May 1978, with the season just finished, Greig had set off for the golf course to relax with his team-mate Sandy Jardine. Rangers had achieved a clean sweep of the League, Cup and League Cup for the second time in three seasons, making Greig the only man ever to win three Scottish Trebles.

But what neither player knew was that the manager who had led them to those honours, Jock Wallace, was about to quit.

Greig took a phone call from Willie Waddell at the golf course and was offered the job that day. His playing career was over. He had played 753 games for Rangers – second only to Dougie Gray – including a club record of 496 appearances in the Scottish League.

Greig set about the new challenge. He was a natural leader and a born fighter. What’s more he lived for Rangers, believing the club’s supporters to be the most passionate in the world.angers fans”

He went desperately close to repeating the Treble in his first season. Rangers won the Cup, beating Hibernian 3-2 at the third attempt, and the League Cup 2-1 against Aberdeen. But when leading the table they lost 4-2 at Celtic and the chance of the League had gone.

They had also enjoyed a good run in the European Cup, beating Juventus and PSV Eindhoven before going down 2-1 on aggregate to Cologne in the quarter-finals.

Rangers were to win another Cup and League Cup under Greig, but the team were unable to make an impression in the Championship.

He resigned in October 1983 and was replaced by previous manager Jock Wallace.

Greig, who received the MBE for his services to football, had been one of the most important and influential personalities in the history of the club and in 1990 he returned to Ibrox as public relations officer.

Folllowing the arrival of Dick Advocaat, Greig worked closely with the Dutchman as virtually part of the coaching staff. Alex McLeish also utilised Greig’s experience in his early months.