Rod of the Rangers | @AlexHTheMAX

He's a Celtic fan right down to the tracksuit he wears when he fills in the potholes outside his mansion so his Ferrari remains undamaged but Sir Rod Stewart in a RANGERS strip?

@AlexHTheMAX tracks down the evidence that led Rock Royalty to Rangers not once but twice!

Many people have asked the question over the years "what is the deal with Rod Stewart and Celtic anyway?".

The veteran rocker told radio station TalkSport earlier in the year that, although he was brought up in London, his Edinburgh born father was a Hibernian fan, and young Rod was raised on tales of Hibs as the first British club to play in the European Cup (reaching the semi final) and the "famous five" Hi-bees forward line of Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond.

In the early 1970s, Stewart played Glasgow at the height of his fame and was invited by a couple of Celtic players who attended his gig in the city to train with them the next day at Parkhead.

Stewart turned up the next morning to be met by the great Jock Stein, who laughed at the rock star's winkle picker shoes, and then proceeded to put him through a training session that made no concessions for its superstar guest.

Stewart was massively impressed by Jock Stein, leaving Glasgow a confirmed Celtic supporter, and now, some 48 years later, the honorary Scot, born in Highgate, is still an occasional visitor to Celtic Park.

However, in the mid-1970s when Stewart was invited to Dam Park, a Junior football ground in Ayr, for a charity match largely organised by former Rangers hero Johnny Hubbard, he was forced to don the strip of Celtic's deadly rivals thanks to a mistake by the Scottish Football Association.

Brutalist football design: Dam Park Stand, Ayr. Designed by Maurice Hickey in 1963.

The Scotland v England "old crocks" match at Dam Park featured England World Cup winners Bobby Charlton and Gordon Banks for the visitors and Billy McNeill, Jim Baxter and John Greig for Scotland. With the time ticking down to kick off though, England were suitably stripped for action while Scotland were still waiting for their kit to arrive.

When it became clear someone at the SFA had clearly forgotten to act on the memo, the Rangers contingent in the Scottish select made a hurried call to Ibrox and the Gers first team kit of the day was delivered in time for the start of play.

Rod Stewart, flanked by Rangers heroes of the 1960s. Bobby Shearer (right) and Eric Caldow, and yes, that is Celtic legend Billy McNeill also wearing a Gers kit as the Scotland one didn't turn up!

Some say Rod was a late addition to the Scottish side in Ayrshire, flying up to Glasgow early morning or the previous night, and then hiding away in an Ayr plumber's van, before going in a side entrance at Dam Park such was his fame in his Maggie May days.

It was Rod of the Rangers once again in 1978 as he helped to promote John Greig's testimonial. 

John Greig and Rod Stewart in 1978.

As Rod dabbled in Disco, with the number 1 single "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" proving to be one of the biggest world-wide hits of the year, the spiky haired 33 year old was once again pictured in Ibrox blue next to the inspirational Gers captain and legendary number 4.

The Greig testimonial match had an attendance of over 65,000 (Rangers 5  Scotland select 0 at Ibrox) and was perhaps a prelude to what was about to come for Scotland as only months later the nation would witness in disbelief the nightmare that started as a World Cup dream as the national squad touched down in Argentina.

Captains Bruce Rioch and John Greig prepare for battle at Ibrox in 1978.

As far as we know Rod wasn't on the pitch playing in the Greig testimonial but he did say during the promotional events leading up to the game that John Greig was one of his football heroes.

So, will we see Rod rejoining Rangers for their 150th anniversary this year in some capacity?

"Nae chance pal", as they say in Glasgow, but Rod of the Rangers was a thing once even though the rocker will be forever associated with green and white hoops.

Mick Jagger looks on as Rod, in a Celtic shirt, meets the Scottish police (circa 1975).

By Alex Horsburgh, written for @TFHB.

©The Football History Boys, 2022
(All pictures borrowed and NOT owned in any form by TFHB)


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