Many years ago at the Rangers’ hall of fame dinner I had the absolute pleasure of spending 15 minutes with Rangers legend Ray Wilkins. It was something I’ll never forget. Ray didn’t have to spend the level of time he did with me, at the time I was in my early 20s, and he treated and spoke to me as if I was one of his peers, I will never forget that.

I never like to speak on behalf of any groups of supporters, only offering up my personal option but I think I can on this occasion. I’m sure every Rangers fan will join me in sending our support to his friends and family, at this most difficult of stages

Once a Ranger always a Ranger.

Ray “Butch” Wilkins was signed by Graeme Souness back in 1987 after spells with Chelsea, Manchester United, A.c Milan and PSG, a fine list of clubs that all still hold in high regard, just see Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s remarks at the weekend, or in the Milan museum, located at the San Siro, where there is more than a few examples on display to testify just that.

Wilkins, helped shape the winning mentally that Souness was installing at Ibrox, what he did at training and off the field was just as important as what he did on it (sometimes, apart from one game and goal).

His time in Govan was fleeting, lasting only around 2 years before returning to London with the other less famous Rangers, QPR, the club he would latter go onto manage. Wilkins did return to Scotland in 1996 for one season, turning out for Hibernian, proving in more than a few games he still had it, despite his advanced age.

Butch, gained 84 caps for England during his career, a quite staggering amount at time when caps or International fixtures were not played or handed out with the frequency and relative ease they are today. Even more so when you take under consideration his last cap came in 1986, a full 11 years before he stopped playing.

Wilkins of course is best remembered by Rangers fans for his incredible volley against Celtic in a famous 5-1 victory in August 1988, it was a thing of beauty there are no words that can do it justice, one of the goals that you never tire of seeing. It would become the signature strike for that season and of the 9 in a row campaign.

His final display for the light blues came in November 89 on a foggy day against Dunfermline, a game Wilkins controlled from start to finish, setting up a goal in the process. Wilkins was visibly upset at leaving Ibrox and it’s that kind of affinity with the fans that has endeared him to us all these years.

Ray, you will always be part of Rangers history and all our thoughts are with you at this testing time. I thank you for the 15 minutes you gave to a young man to talk about football. The footballing world has lost a man, who gave so much joy to so many.