Bobby Russell - Rangers FC - Biography of his career at Rangers.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 10 April 1982

Click on image to enlarge

      Inside Right/Right Midfielder
      Monday, 11 February 1957
      Glasgow, Scotland
  • Rangers FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 13th August 1977 in a 3-1 defeat at Aberdeen (Aged: 20)
    • Club Career
      218 League apps (+32 as sub), 31 goals
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Bobby RUSSELL - Rangers FC - Biography of his career at Rangers.


Part of a trio of new signings at the start of the 1977/78 season, Bobby Russell was a skilful, attacking midfielder with an eye for a killer pass. Aged just twenty when he arrived from Shettleston Juniors, Russell and fellow new acquisitions Davie Cooper and Gordon Smith were expected to help reinvigorate a Rangers side that had stagnated badly in 1976/77, just one season after securing the domestic Treble.

Bobby made his debut for Rangers in a pre-season friendly against Nairn County, scoring in a 3-2 win, and when the competitive action got underway he continued his scoring streak, although his goal on this occasion was a mere consolation as Rangers opened their league campaign with a 3-1 defeat against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.


However, despite that early setback, the Light Blues soon recovered, and aided by the promptings of Russell and Cooper and the goals of Derek Johnstone, they soon emerged from the pack to secure the Premier Division title. Russell missed just three of the thirty-six league fixtures, and added to his goal against Aberdeen on the opening day of the season with further strikes in a 4-0 win over Partick Thistle at Firhill and a 1-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice. Bobby, whose slender build and extensive range of passing had pundits comparing him to the late John White, a stalwart in the Tottenham Hotspur side of the 1960s, was also prominent as Rangers secured legs two and three of the Treble. His chip into the penalty area created the opening goal of the Scottish Cup Final for Alex McDonald, and although he missed the League Cup Final against Celtic due to the effects of a virus, he wore the number eight jersey in each of the previous seven ties that Rangers had played in the tournament.


In his second season at Ibrox, 1978/79, Russell was an ever-present, playing in each of the sixty-one matches that Rangers contested at home and abroad. He added Scottish Cup and League Cup winners' medals to his collection, although a second successive Treble was snatched from Rangers' grasp when the Light Blues lost out to Celtic by three points. It was on the European stage that Bobby truly shone, though, particularly in Eindhoven when Rangers became the first team to win a European tie at the home of PSV Eindhoven. After a stalemate at Ibrox, few gave the Light Blues much hope of progressing to the last eight of the European Cup, but a spirited display in Holland saw Rangers level at 2-2 as the second leg entered its closing stages. With the visitors' goal under siege by a home side desperately seeking the goal they needed to progress, a clearing header from Derek Johnstone broke to Tommy McLean who sent Russell scampering clear in a lightning fast breakaway. Although the PSV defenders were rapidly converging on him, Bobby was coolness personified as he drew the goalkeeper and curled a sumptuous shot into the net to give Rangers a stunning 3-2 victory. The goal was later voted 'Goal of the Season' by the BBC.


The following season, however, was one of disappointment in Govan, with Rangers slumping to a fifth-place finish in the Premier Division and losing to Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final. Russell endured a stop-start season, missing thirteen league matches through injury.

Having already collected five winners' medals during his first three years with Rangers, Bobby Russell supplemented his collection of honours in the 1980/81 season when he added another Scottish Cup winners' medal. Having had his 1979/80 season blighted by injury, he returned to form in the first full campaign of the 1980s and was instrumental in Rangers' Scottish Cup success. It was Russell's goal that secured a 2-1 win over Morton in the last four, and he was on the score-sheet in the Final replay too, ghosting in at the back post to rifle a cross from Davie Cooper into the net with his right foot.

Dundee United were the vanquished opponents in the Final and the Tangerines were put to the sword again in 1981/82 when Rangers claimed the League Cup courtesy of a 2-1 at Hampden. Russell was once again a prominent figure in the team that negotiated its way to the Final, but he was powerless to stop what was fast becoming a slide into mediocrity for the Light Blues. Although he missed only four league matches and scored six goals, Rangers finished third in the title race, twelve points adrift of champions Celtic. (Alistair Aird, Author of Ally McCoist - Portrait of a Hero)



This shot of Bobby Russell playing for Glasgow Rangers was taken the following season

(also by George Herringshaw) on 23th October 1982, in a very different looking kit to that of just

a few months earlier as pictured above.  ©



As Rangers continued to career towards a spell in the doldrums, Bobby Russell remained one of the shining lights as one of the most wretched eras in the club's distinguished history began to unfold. Although a knee injury curtailed his involvement in the 1982/83 season - he made just twenty-nine appearances as Rangers finished fourth in the league and lost in both domestic Cup Finals - he was back to his best the following season. Buoyed by the return of his former mentor Jock Wallace to the Ibrox helm, Bobby helped Rangers to win the League Cup in March 1984, winning a first-half penalty, which was converted by Ally McCoist, and picking up the Man-of-the-Match award as Rangers defeated old rivals Celtic by three goals to two. A poor start to the league campaign meant that the Premier Division title would not be joining the League Cup on the Ibrox sideboard, and interest in the Scottish Cup was ended at the quarter-final stage by Dundee.


With injuries becoming more and more persistent, Russell endured a nightmare campaign in 1984/85, appearing in just half of Rangers' thirty-six league fixtures, although he was in the line-up when Rangers defeated Dundee United to retain the League Cup. He was sorely missed too, as Rangers finished fourth in the Premier Division for a second successive season, this time ending the campaign fifteen points adrift of champions Aberdeen.

Russell saw his 1985/86 season curtailed by injury too. Although he missed just one of Rangers' first twenty-four league fixtures, a persistent knee injury flared up again and Bobby made just four more appearances in the first team before the end of a doleful campaign in Govan. Rangers ended the season without a trophy and plummeted to a fifth-place finish in the Premier Division.


After such a cataclysmic season the winds of change gusted through Ibrox in the summer of 1986, and the arrival of Graeme Souness was expected to kick-start Bobby's career again. Alas, he made just two appearances in the 1986/87 season, playing alongside his new gaffer in midfield in what proved to be a fiery opening Premier Division encounter against Hibernian at Easter Road and then turning out in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Finnish side Ilves Tampere in the opening round of the UEFA Cup. He became a peripheral figure thereafter, and the appearance against the Finns was the last of his 370 appearances in a Rangers jersey. He was eventually sold to Motherwell for a nominal fee and proceeded to enjoy a renaissance at Fir Park, winning a Scottish Cup medal in 1991 when the Lanarkshire side defeated Dundee United by four goals to three in an epic Final.

(Alistair Aird, Author of Ally McCoist - Portrait of a Hero)

1977–1987    Rangers    250    (31)
1987–1992    Motherwell    131    (15)
1992–1993    Ayr United    4    (1)
1993             Arbroath    1    (0)
1994             Cowdenbeath    6    (0)
1994–1995    Cumbernauld United        
1995–1997    Albion Rovers    13    (0)

Russell later moved to  Aurora Ontario.