Scotland’s Own Footballing Genius

by Ross Dunbar

Born and raised in Hamilton, Davie Cooper was one of the very few Scottish children given a natural talent for the beautiful game.

The extremely talented left-winger was even touted as one of Europe’s finest by the legendary Dutch international Ruud Gullit. Cooper is something of a legend down Edmiston Drive after 12 years wearing the blue of Rangers and his contribution to Motherwell has made him a hero in those parts of Lanarkshire as well.

Cooper broke through the ranks at Clydebank in 1974 and in his three years with the ‘bankies’, he helped them through successive promotions to the Premier Division. That contribution sealed him a move to his boyhood heroes Rangers where he enjoyed over 375 league matches at Ibrox and building an excellent rapport with the Rangers fans.

He was influential in a domestic treble during the 77-78 season under manager Jock Wallace and the year later, he scored one of the finest goals you will ever see against Celtic. Sadly, the quality of footage is not great, but for any football purists you can only sit back and admire a stunning piece of individual magic.

Cooper won just 3 league championships and a number of domestic cups in his 12 years at Ibrox, which probably does not do the winger justice given the moments of genius he brought to the Scottish game.

The Graeme Souness revolution kicked into Scottish Football in 1986 and ‘Super Coop’ was to play a major part in the turn around of fortunes for Rangers. Cooper netted a penalty-kick in the 1986 League Cup Final against Celtic and was also a key part in Rangers’ League Championship win that same year.

The year after, Cooper scored a sensational free-kick against Aberdeen in the League Cup Final which Rangers won 5-3 on penalties as he secured his 7th medal in a Rangers shirt. Cooper’s final year ended in disappointment with Souness opting to favour a number of new signings ahead of the winger in the 1989 season.

Tommy McLean made the move to bring Cooper to Motherwell and the Rangers legend would have the same impact on the ‘Well supporters as he did on the Ibrox faithful. He made over 170 appearances, including a star performance in the classic 4-3 Scottish Cup final against Dundee United in 1991.

Davie Cooper died at the age of 39 after suffering a brain hemorrhage while filming a coaching video at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld.

Cooper has left a fine legacy after his death and is worshipped by the fans at Ibrox and Fir Park. The 2005 League Cup Final between the two sides was tagged “The Davie Cooper Cup Final” and the convincing win for Rangers would have left the man who said “I played for the team I loved” very proud indeed.

Last Wednesday was the 16th anniversary of his death in 1995 and he will proudly remembered as a true footballing genius up there with the finest to have graced Scottish Football.

Tribute to Davie Cooper

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