DAVIE Cooper’s unique ability created an everlasting memory, not just with those who played with him or coached him, but also those who watched him and even those who played against him…

 

Terry Butcher, former teammate…

“He was second to none in terms of delivery of the ball, and I’d rate him better than David Beckham in terms of free-kicks and corners. He was a magnificent talent and a wonderful character. I still miss him terribly.”

 

Craig Brown, former Scotland manager…

“This country doesn’t unearth all that many genuinely world-class stars, but Coop came into that category without a shadow of a doubt.”

 

Alex McLeish on that Cooper free-kick from the 1987 League Cup Final…

“I don’t think any of us saw it flashing into the net and Jim Leighton didn’t realise it had been taken. Normally, Davie, who could open a tin of peas with that left peg of his, would go for a technical, curling shot.

“But he blasted it. It didn’t go through the wall, but it was just so well-aimed for that top-corner. The wall did its job – they stood up and didn’t turn their backs on it, but Jim Leighton just never saw it.

“That was a game where we saw Davie’s real match-winning qualities at the top level.”

 

Ruud Gullit, Holland legend and Ballon d’Or winner…

“Davie Cooper was one of the best football players I have ever seen.”

 

Danny McGrain, Celtic full-back…

“Davie was a nightmare to play against. I kicked him a few times and he nutmegged me a few times.

“To play against him, and to play with him for Scotland was a great pleasure. He had immense quality – he was born with it.

“To play against people like myself, who were trying to ‘do’ you, meant you had to have a strong personality, as all the great wingers of world football had.

“We had a few tousy meetings, but whoever won, Davie was first to shake my hand as I would be to shake his, whether he had won or I had won. He was a gentleman.”

 

The late Sandy Jardine, former teammate…

“Davie was a wonderful talent. I was at the club for 18 years as a player, and there are two people who stand out in your memory for ability – one of them was Jim Baxter, and the other was Davie Cooper.

“Both of them had a wonderful, educated left foot, and they could do anything with that left foot, and they were very similar.

“Jim Baxter wasn’t a flying machine, he wasn’t the quickest – but neither was Coop. He had such good ability, such good vision and his crossing ability with his left foot was absolutely fantastic.”

 

Gordon Strachan, Scotland teammate and opponent when with Aberdeen…

“Davie would hug the left touchline. He was the best ball player and wide man I’ve ever seen. He wasn’t fast; he’d just get past defenders with an amazing change of direction. He was also a superb passer of the ball and his crossing was second to none.”

 

Cooper’s former manager Graeme Souness…

“His nickname was ‘Albert’ which stemmed from the Coronation Street character Albert Tatlock who was always moaning. I could tell if Coop was going to have a good game if he came into Ibrox and was moaning even more than usual!

“I always believed that Davie Cooper was a more naturally gifted player than even the great Kenny Dalglish. And that is high praise.”

 

Walter Smith, assistant manager to Souness…

“God gave Davie Cooper a talent. He would not be disappointed with how it was used.”

 

Former teammate Chris Woods…

“His skill on the pitch – what can you say? He had everything. His left foot was like a magic wand and he didn’t just do it now and again, it was every day in training.

“I used to love watching him in training and I can remember some of the goals he scored thinking, “how did he do that!?”

 

Former teammate Jim Stewart…

“Him and I struck a relationship up when we were in the [Scotland] under-21s.

“He was a close friend until his untimely death, and as a football player, for me, he was tops. He was exciting, he had a fantastic talent and he always had this thing where scoring goals for him wasn’t a big thing.

“But setting goals up, he got a buzz from that and he made more than a few opportunities for a number of the top strikers at the time.”

 

Former teammate, the late Ray Wilkins… 

“He was a Brazilian trapped in a Scotsman’s body.”

 

The man himself, the late, great Davie Cooper…

“I played for the team I loved.”

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