Ronnie McKinnon (Rangers) – A Football Legend Remembered
The footballing world mourns the loss of a true icon as it bids farewell to Ronald McKinnon, the esteemed Scottish professional footballer whose remarkable journey left an indelible mark on the sport. Born on August 20, 1940, in Glasgow, United Kingdom, Ronnie McKinnon’s life was a testament to passion, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to the beautiful game. His recent passing on September 17, 2023, at the age of 83, has left a void in the hearts of football enthusiasts worldwide.
Ronnie McKinnon’s football odyssey began when he joined Rangers from the junior side Dunipace. In a poignant interview before his passing, he recounted the dream-come-true moment that changed his life forever. He said, “I was Rangers daft and always wanted to play for them. I dreamt it would happen but never thought it would.”
His journey to Rangers commenced with a standout performance for a junior team, and it was a phone call from none other than Scot Symon, the legendary Rangers manager, that transformed his dream into reality. Ronnie’s sheer disbelief and the elation of his mother upon receiving that call remain etched in his memory.
From that moment forward, Ronnie McKinnon embarked on a footballing journey that would see him become a pivotal figure in the Rangers squad. His contributions to the team were instrumental in securing Scottish Cups in 1962 and 1963, as well as the coveted title in 1963. Notably, he played a central role in the squad’s remarkable achievement of the domestic treble in the 1963/64 season.
As the 1960s progressed, Ronnie remained a stalwart for Rangers, serving under different eras, including the tenures of David White and Willie Waddell. His leadership on the field was exemplified when he lifted the 1970 League Cup trophy, a significant achievement for the club.
On the international stage, Ronnie was capped an impressive 28 times by the Scotland national team. Two matches, in particular, stand out in the memories of fans – a memorable 1-1 draw with Brazil in 1966 at Hampden, marked by an iconic photo of the legendary Pele remonstrating with Ronnie, and the unforgettable victory over England at Wembley in 1967, making Scotland unofficial World Champions.
In recent years, Ronnie made his home on the Isle of Lewis and became an honorary member of the Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters Club. He continued to share his passion for the club by joining them on their annual pilgrimage to Ibrox.
Just days before his passing, the Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters’ Club organized a benefit night in his honor, attended by former players, Rangers Chairman John Bennett, and Chief Executive James Bisgrove, among others.
Ronnie McKinnon’s contribution to Rangers was monumental, and he received the recognition he deserved with his induction into the Rangers Hall of Fame. His legacy will forever be cherished by the Rangers community, and his name will echo through the annals of football history.
As we remember Ronnie McKinnon, our thoughts and condolences are with his widow Elizabeth, his family, and the multitude of friends and admirers he leaves behind. His memory lives on in the hearts of football enthusiasts, and his life serves as a testament to the enduring power of the sport to unite and inspire generations.