THERE have been some hugely talented players who have pulled on the Light Blue over the decades and it is fair to say that John “Kitey” McPherson was the club’s first superstar.

The recruitment of the Ayrshireman coincided with the formation of the Scottish Football League in 1890 and he became a huge figure in what was a highly successful era for Rangers.

Indeed, he made the kind of start that dreams are made of. He scored on his Rangers debut – a 5-2 win over Hearts – scored four times in his second game, a 6-2 thumping of Renton, and then hit five goals in the 8-2 demolition of St Mirren.

It was an unbelievable start, but it was no flash in the pan. McPherson was a pivotal player in 12 years on the field and subsequently a skilled administrator of the Club.

He actually played in every position for Rangers, including goalkeeper, but it was as an inside forward that he shone brightest scoring goals as well as setting them up with tremendous regularity.

He was part of the first Championship-winning team when Rangers and Dumbarton shared the inaugural Scottish League title.

The two sides had finished level on points and the authorities ordered a play-off which finished 2-2 so a share was a declared.

How the clubs’ fortunes quickly differed. Dumbarton won the tile the following season but have never been champions of Scotland since.

McPherson was captain by the time Rangers achieved one of their main ambitions, to win the Scottish Cup.

They had not been in the final for 15 years when they faced Celtic at Hampden in front of 17,000 in 1894 and, fittingly, McPherson scored the third goal in a 3-1 victory over the team that was fast becoming their main rivals.

Jock had scored in every round en route to the Final as Rangers finally claimed the prize seen as the Blue Riband of the Scottish game.

McPherson was on the score-sheet again when Rangers won the trophy for a second time in 1897 when Dumbarton were thrashed 5-1 and a year later the old trophy was retained when Kilmarnock were beaten 2-0.

Season 1898/99 was astonishing to say the least and McPherson was a key man in a league campaign that has never been equalled anywhere in the world.

Rangers won all of their 18 league matches scoring 79 goals and conceding just 18. It was the perfect league championship win and McPherson played in 15 of the games, scoring seven times.

It was the start of a wonderful stranglehold of the Scottish title and the team that did it is undoubtedly on a par with the great sides that dominated the 1920s and 30s, the late 1940s, the early 1960s and the 1990s.

With McPherson at the hub of it all, Rangers retained the title in 1899/1900 by seven points from Celtic.

He only missed two matches the following season and scored seven times as the title remained at Ibrox for a third successive year,

And then Rangers made it four in a row in 1901/02, McPherson’s final season in the first team.

Incredibly, his final league appearance was as goalkeeper in the 3-2 win over St Mirren on January 18 1902 – a match Rangers had to win to hold off Celtic for the title – as regular keeper Mathew Dickie was injured.

It’s a bit like Brian Laudrup replacing Andy Goram – no doubt Laudrup would have handled that too!

McPherson had been a massive player in a fantastic era for Rangers. In 1907 he became a director of the club and served until his death in 1926.

He collapsed and died while watching the Clyde Sports at Shawfield and one contemporary described him as “the finest player in the first 50 years of the club’s history”.

Regarded as Rangers’ finest player in the club’s first 50 years

Born: June 19, 1868, Kilmarnock.

Appearances: 218. Goals: 121.

Honours:

League title – 1890/91, 1898/99, 1899/1900, 1900/01, 1901/02 (5)

Scottish Cup – 1893/94, 1896/97, 1897/98 (3)

Caps: 9, Scotland (5 with Rangers)