THERE are a multitude of footballers who have been described as world class over the years but most of them would have not been fit to lace Baxter’s drinks, never mind his boots.

There is little argument that Baxter was the most incredibly gifted player to pull on the blue shirt of Rangers.

For five years he was the king of the all-conquering Rangers side put together by Scot Symon and he relished the adulation. The bigger the stage the better it suited “Slim Jim”.

However, as with contemporaries like George Best and Jimmy Greaves, Jim’s love of life off the field proved to be his downfall.

Baxter in full flow was like an orchestra conductor. He had beautiful ball skills, an exceptional left foot and the vision and time to make space for others to play in.

He also had his own style. There was a rule that Rangers players must have their shirts tucked inside their shorts. Baxter, however, always left a small part hanging outside over his left hip.

It was a distinctive trademark and went with the swagger about his movements that marks out only a few as being of the highest class. Naturally, the fans adored him.

He simply loved to take the mickey – especially out of Celtic and England, on the international stage.

He had an incredible Old Firm record. In 18 games against Celtic – 10 League, five League Cup and three Scottish Cup – he only lost twice.

There is scarcely a more enduring image than Baxter keeping the ball in the air with his priceless left foot during the 3-2 win in 1967 over then world champions England at Wembley.

He was born in Hill o’ Beath on September 29 1939 and had worked as a coalminer before coming to Ibrox from Raith Rovers for a then record fee £17,500 as a 20-year-old in June 1960.

Those who saw him will never forget the formidable sight of “Slim Jim”, a truly world-class player in all his pomp. A player of style, maybe even arrogance, but one blessed with sublime skills.

In the last season of his first spell at Ibrox, Baxter broke his leg during a 2-1 European Cup tie victory over Rapid in Vienna in December 1964. He was out for three months and by the time he returned he had become restless.

He made his last appearance in April 1965 in a 1-0 League defeat by Dundee and the next month he was transferred to Sunderland for £72,500.

He then moved to Forest for £100,000 in 1967 but he was becoming more known for his off-field activities. His return to Rangers in 1969 was unsuccessful and in December 1970 he hung up the boots for ever at the age of 31.

Sadly, Jim lost his fight with cancer at the age of 61 on April 14, 2001 and football lost one of its greatest sons. Glasgow Cathedral was packed for a moving and entertaining funeral service – just as Jim wanted – and he will forever be etched into the folklore of Ranger and Scottish football as a whole.