Tributes are being paid this morning to former Rangers FC, Heart of Midlothian FC and Scotland defender Sandy Jardine, who has died at the age of 65. The Ibrox club confirmed late on Thursday evening that Jardine had lost his 18-month battle with cancer and peacefully passed away surrounded by his family.
Edinburgh-born Jardine was part of Rangers' triumphant 1971/72 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup side. The right-back made 671 competitive appearances for the Light Blues, winning three Scottish titles and five Scottish Cups during his 17 years at the club. He earned 38 caps for Scotland and played in the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cup finals. He captained his country on nine occasions and was twice voted Scotland's Player of the Year, the second award coming at the age of 38, 11 years after the first.
Jardine joined Hearts in 1982 and made over 200 appearances for the Tynecastle club before being appointed joint manager with former Rangers team-mate Alex MacDonald between 1986 and 1988. He returned to work for the Ibrox outfit in various roles after his playing career ended, but in November 2012 it was confirmed he was being treated for cancer.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist said: "Sandy is a legend in every sense of the word. We are all devastated by the news he has passed away; we have lost a great man. He was respected not only by Rangers fans but also the wider football community and he is a huge loss to the game. He recently told me he was proud to be a Ranger and wanted to be remembered forever as a Ranger. Well, Sandy, you will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time and we will miss you terribly."
Sir Alex Ferguson was a team-mate of Jardine during his own time as a player at Ibrox and the former Manchester United FC manager and his wife Cathy added their own tribute. "From Cathy and I, this is some of the worst news we have heard," said Sir Alex. "Sandy was a noble and courageous man. The respect he is held in at Rangers is immense. He was one of the greatest players ever to wear the jersey. To Shona and family, we express our sympathy and sadness."
Scottish Football Association (SFA) president Campbell Ogilvie added his condolences. "I am extremely saddened by the news of Sandy's passing," he said. "I have known him for more than 40 years and found him to be as warm and courteous off the field as he was reliable and elegant on it. As well as being a talisman for both Rangers and Heart of Midlothian during an illustrious and enduring playing career, he was also a terrific servant to the Scotland national team."
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