EVERYONE at Rangers sends their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Johnny Hubbard after the former Light Blues winger passed away peacefully today at the age of 87.
A talented and immensely popular player at the club, Mr Hubbard made 238 competitive appearances and scored 104 goals from 1949 to 1959, and up until recently he regularly attended games at Ibrox, travelling from his home in Ayrshire.
Rangers Chairman Dave King today said: “All of us at Rangers are deeply saddened by the news that Mr Hubbard has passed away. He was an inspirational player for Rangers and was also one of our most passionate supporters.
“Mr Hubbard wasn’t just a great Ranger, he was also a wonderful person. He was a gentleman and will be missed terribly by everyone connected with our club.
“Our thoughts and our sympathies go to Mr Hubbard’s family but perhaps they may take some comfort in knowing he is a genuine Rangers legend.”
Managing Director Stewart Robertson added: “This is a profoundly sad day for Rangers. Mr Hubbard, apart from having been a great player, was a true supporter of this club and he will be missed badly.
“He became a welcome fixture around Ibrox and his legendary status is assured. I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Mr Hubbard’s family who are in our thoughts at this time.”
Known as ‘The Penalty King’ – he scored an amazing 65 out of 68 spot kicks during his Rangers career – Mr Hubbard was in the first Gers team to play in Europe. That was in season 1956/57 when the Ibrox men, who had won the Scottish title, took part in what was only the second European Champions Cup competition.
Rangers were paired with OGC Nice, and in front of a crowd of 65,000 they beat the French champions 2-1 at Ibrox in what was their inaugural European match, with Max Murray and Billy Simpson scoring the goals.
Only 5,000 people watched the return leg on the Riviera as Nice managed to produce the same scoreline, but it was South African star Johnny who made history that night by becoming the first Rangers player to score on foreign soil and the first African to score in the European Cup.
The Light Blues won a penalty five minutes before half-time when Murray was brought down and Johnny, naturally, was given the responsibility of finding the net.
He also holds the proud record of being the last Ranger to hit a league hat-trick against Celtic, a 4-1 home win on 1 January 1955.
Following his years at Ibrox he went on to play for Bury and Ayr United but Rangers were never far from his mind, and he was an immensely proud man when he was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame having thrilled fans with his wing play during the Bill Struth and Scot Symon eras at the club.
Rangers Appearances (1949-1959): 238
Rangers Goals: 104
League Championship (3): 1952/53, 1955/56, 1956/57
Scottish Cup (1): 1952/53