East Fife still a special club to legend Billy McPhee

Billy McPhee rifles one of his famous left footed strikes towards goal for the Fifers. Pic East Fife FC.
Billy McPhee rifles one of his famous left footed strikes towards goal for the Fifers. Pic East Fife FC.

Billy McPhee loved his time with Rangers at Ibrox - but admits home is where the heart is with East Fife.

The Bayview legend, known for his famous left foot, is looking forward to taking in this weekend’s Betfred Cup tie at Bayview.

It brings together two clubs he holds dear to his heart - making the breakthrough in the senior ranks with Rangers, before going on to create a name for himself with the Fifers.

Billy looks back fondly on the few years he was part of the Ibrox squad – playing and training with the likes of the legendary Jim Baxter after joining from Bowhill YC in the late 60s.

In the days before a bench full of subs were part of a matchday squad, a young McPhee found his opportunities scarce.

But he learned enough with the Gers in the years he was there to make a huge impact with his home club following his transfer.

Nobody is more proud than Billy that he was able to pull on the black and gold.

“My brother used to play for East Fife, he was 10 years older than me,” said McPhee, who played outside left.

“My father was a bus driver and, at the old Bayview at the Kirkland Road end, the drivers would all stand with their uniforms on.

“My dad used to stand there and I was next to him and he’d say ‘that’s your brother, son’.

“I’d look at my dad and say ‘I’ll be better than him’.

“But he never got to see me play and died when I was 15. I buried his ashes at Bayview and my mother’s as well so East Fife is very special to me.”

Rangers have started their league campaign at a blistering pace, knocking six behind Hibs on Sunday.

But Billy has seen enough from the current crop of Fife players to recognise that they have a puncher’s chance at causing an upset in front of the TV cameras.

“I was at the Hearts game and I was asked the question about how I thought that game would go,” he said.

“It’s big boys and wee boys and the first 20 minutes will tell you if the big boys are up for it and if the wee boys have a chance.

“It panned out that Hearts played well, went in front and then never did any more.

“East Fife knew that so came at them and deservedly won.

“You have to hope to catch Rangers on a bad day, but Mr Gerrard seems to have instilled a new determination in them.

“But East Fife always have a chance, particularly at home.

“If they can match them, they have a chance.”

Visit fifetoday.co.uk for more from Billy ahead of the game.