As founding members of the Scottish Football League in 1890 and the fifth oldest Scottish professional football club, Rangers are steeped in gripping history. Supporters of the Ibrox club have witnessed some of the greatest performances in British football history, with domestic dominance and European jaunts aplenty.
While the famous names of Laudrup and Gascoigne are known to any fan of the beautiful game, a select number of loyal players have taken heed of the tradition which encompasses the Glasgow giants to represent Rangers with more prolonged distinction. For a club founded by four Glaswegian teenagers, devotion is the ticket to legendary status in the blue side of the city.
Top ten all-time record appearance holders of Rangers F.C.
10. Ian McColl – 526 appearances, 1945-1960
League: 360, Scottish Cup: 59, League Cup: 100, Europe: 7
West Dunbartonshire-born defender Ian McColl served Rangers with great honour over a 15-year period, earning a significant reputation in Scottish football’s post-war era. After signing for the Govan side under the stewardship of club icon Bill Struth in 1945, the ‘wing half’ McColl captained Rangers for much of his illustrious playing career.
With 526 appearances in blue, McColl contributed to seven league titles, four Scottish Cups and two League Cups in an incredibly successful Gers team. He would later manage Scotland between 1960 and 1965 and retains the second best win percentage of any Tartan Army boss.
9. Peter McCloy – 535 appearances, 1970-1986
League: 351, Scottish Cup: 55, League Cup: 86, Europe: 43
As the only goalkeeper on this list with 535 appearances for Rangers, Peter McCloy is arguably the greatest keeper in the Light Blues’ history. Nicknamed “The Girvan Lighthouse” by Gers supporters thanks to his Ayrshire hometown and towering frame at 6ft 4in, McCloy was in the nets for every game of Rangers’ only European triumph – the 1971-72 Cup Winners’ Cup campaign.
Battling off fierce competition for the number one jersey at Ibrox, McCloy ended his 16-year Rangers career in 1986 with ten domestic trophies.
8. Davie Cooper – 540 appearances, 1977-1989
League: 376, Scottish Cup: 49, League Cup: 77, Europe, 38
In eighth place on 540 Rangers matches is wing wizard Davie Cooper – one of the most talented and decorated figures in the history of Scottish football. Such was his importance to a trophy-laden Rangers side of the late 1970s and 1980s that he played in almost every match unless injured, presenting Cooper with an impressive appearance record in just 12 years at Ibrox. He also scored 75 times in a Rangers shirt as the Gers excelled at home and abroad.
Cooper is a Motherwell and Clydebank legend in equal measure, contributing greatly to the history of both clubs on and off the pitch. When Cooper tragically died in 1995, tributes poured in for the 22-cap Scottish international from around the world.
His former Rangers gaffer Walter Smith famously said: “God gave Davie Cooper a talent. He would not be disappointed with how it was used.”
7. Derek Johnstone – 549 appearances, 1970-1983 & 1985-1986
League: 369, Scottish Cup: 57, League Cup: 85, Europe: 38
When a 16-year-old scores the winner in an Old Firm derby, and on this occasion in a League Cup Final, he is surely destined for a heroic Rangers career. While that proved correct for Derek Johnstone, it was no easy ride – the Dundonian striker initially struggled to displace the Gers’ big money signing, Colin Stein, and turned out in defence in the 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup Final in his search for more first team opportunities.
After securing the number nine shirt at Ibrox, he transcended former Rangers heroes to score 210 goals in 549 appearances – including 38 in the 1977-78 season – and is consequentially one of only two Rangers players to feature in the top ten records for both goals and appearances.
6. Dougie Gray – 555 appearances, 1925-1947
League: 490, Scottish Cup: 65, League Cup: 0, Europe: 0
Rangers’ longest serving player with 22 years of impressive service to the club, Dougie Gray places sixth on this list with 555 games played for the Gers in spite of a reported 940 appearances when counting wartime matches. The full-back spent his entire playing career with Rangers, winning ten league titles and six Scottish Cups.
Having arrived in Glasgow from the wonderfully named Aberdeen Mugiemoss in 1925, unofficially Gray wore the blue shirt, white shorts and black socks on more occasions than any player in Rangers history. He was also capped ten times by Scotland between 1928 and 1932.
5. David Meiklejohn – 563 appearances, 1919-1936
League: 490, Scottish Cup: 73, League Cup: 0, Europe: 0
Another defender from the early 20th century, Govan-born centre back David Meiklejohn was also a one-club man and led the Light Blues to countless triumphs over city rivals Celtic in the 1920s and 1930s. As tough and reliable as any defender in the club’s history, Meiklejohn was also adept in the opposition’s penalty box with 46 goals in 563 games for Rangers.
Playing and scoring in a 4-0 trouncing of the Hoops in the 1928 Scottish Cup Final, Meiklejohn contributed to Rangers’ first taste of Scottish Cup glory since 1903, and also counts 13 league championships in a grand collection of winners’ medals.
4. Sandy Archibald – 580 appearances, 1917-1934
League: 513, Scottish Cup: 67, League Cup: 0, Europe: 0
The fourth all-time record appearance holder in Rangers history, Sandy Archibald is the only Gers player to have played in more than 500 league games. Over 17 flourishing years in a Rangers shirt, the outside right won the Scottish first division title in thirteen of those seasons in between spells with his local team, Raith Rovers.
A difficult debut in an Old Firm defeat was quickly followed by domestic glory for Archibald, who also carries an impressive goal contribution with 126 league strikes for Rangers.
3. Ally McCoist – 581 appearances, 1983-1998
League: 418, Scottish Cup: 47, League Cup: 62, Europe: 54
In third place with one more appearance to Archibald’s 580 is Gers favourite Ally McCoist. The club’s all-time record goalscorer with 355 goals began a 15-year association with his boyhood club in 1983 and is the most modern player to appear on this list, having departed Ibrox in 1998.
‘Super Ally’ won it all – firing the Light Blues to a historic “Nine in a Row” and picking up numerous individual accolades for his supreme goalscoring ability as a Rangers and Scotland player – before taking up the reigns as manager to lift a damaged Rangers side back up to the second tier of Scottish football following the club’s infamous administration.
2. Sandy Jardine – 674 appearances, 1964-1982
League: 451, Scottish Cup: 64, League Cup: 107, Europe: 52
A stalwart of the Scottish game at club and international level, Sandy Jardine’s 674 Rangers appearances were highlighted by the club’s 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup glory and two-time domestic trebles under successful managers Willie Waddell and Jock Wallace. Jardine was one of the finest full-backs in Scottish football history, earning 38 caps for his country and featuring at two World Cups.
Twice voted as the Footballer of the Year by the SFWA, Jardine played in every Gers match between 27 April 1972 and 30 August 1975, which speaks of his importance to the club’s performance. Now with a stand named after him at Ibrox, Jardine also made over 200 appearances for boyhood heroes Heart of Midlothian in the 1980s.
1. John Greig – 755 appearances, 1961-1978
League: 498, Scottish Cup: 72, League Cup: 121, Europe: 64
John Greig – Rangers’ record appearance holder, Cup Winners’ Cup-winning captain, former manager and “The Greatest Ever Ranger” as voted by supporters in 1999. His record speaks for itself, but his influential association with Rangers Football Club undoubtedly shapes the club to this day.
A midfielder and defender, Greig remarkably netted 120 goals for Rangers during his 17-year playing career in Govan. An appearance record of 755 matches is unlikely to be matched, with Greig playing in more than 20 games in all but one of his seasons with Rangers.
The Edinburgh-born Rangers hero is one of the most significant men in the club’s long history – his contribution to the golden age and continued success of the club is marked by a statue at Ibrox Stadium.