No wedding bliss for Billy McPhee thanks to Rangers manager Willie Waddell's demands

Billy McPhee
Billy McPhee

Billy McPhee knew the writing was on the wall at Ibrox when boss Willie Waddell demanded he show up for a reserve game just hours after his wedding day.

To make matter worse - the outside left never even got stripped for the match.

East Fife legend McPhee admits it was an honour to play for Glasgow Rangers, but is still irked by the way his years at the club came to an end.

The outside left was always around the fringes of the first team under Scot Symon and David White, but found Waddell a little more frosty.

"He never called me by name," said McPhee who joined the Fifers from Rangers.

"He put me in the third team one day to play Jordanhill and I scored three goals - he never acknowledged it.

"Wee Willie Johnston said to me 'I don't know what's happening, son'.

"I thought it was maybe because Davie White liked me so he didn't.

"I was due to get married in December and went to ask Willie Waddell for a day off.

"He said 'footballers don't get married in the winter - they get married in the summer, has nobody told you that?'

"So, I was getting married on Monday and he told me to be at Shawfield on Tuesday for a reserve game.

"I went and he didn't strip me."

Despite ending his time with Rangers on a sour note, McPhee's eyes still light up when recalling his early time with the club.

A talented forward, several clubs chased his signature from Bowhill YC - but once the Gers came calling, there was only one place he was ever going to go.

"A scout from Dunfermline came up to me at Cowdenbeath and said 'I want to sign you, son'.

"My manager told me to go away for a bath and when I came out he was gone.

"The next thing there's a chap at the door and this man walks in all dressed up and says 'can you get to Glasgow on Monday? Scot Symon wants to sign you for Rangers.

"I'm just a boy from Methil, and asked if he had the right person.

"My head was blown away.

"The next thing Scot Symon is signing me and standing watching me training."

After signing, McPhee remained with Bowhill but trained at Ibrox before eventually joining the Rangers second team.

"The next year I trained really hard in the summer at Stark's Park with Willie Johnston because their pre-season started before Rangers.

"Jimmy Millar was the manager (at Raith Rovers) at the time.

"I was fit and determined.

"We got drawn in the League Cup with Partick Thistle, Celtic and Morton.

"Celtic beat us in the first game and Davie Smith got injured."

Smith's injury was the break McPhee needed to get in amongst the top team squad and found himself in contention for the next game against Partick Thistle.

"I got pulled aside and was asked how I'd feel about playing in front of 25,000 people," added McPhee.

"I said 'it won't bother me' but I was shaking like a leaf.

"We won 5-1 and it was a real education.

"Andy Penman played, he was a wonderful player, and 'Fergie' (Sir Alex Ferguson) did too.

"When you play with good players it's easy."

Things were going well for a young Billy as he found himself in favour with boss Davie White.

But a headline grabbing signing saw him bumped down the pecking order again.

"He signed Jim Baxter," said McPhee.

"He's a God but maybe wasn't as good when he came back and wasn't as fit.

"So Davie White was slated and there was a survey in the Daily Express (where Willie Waddell was working) asking 'who do you want to replace David White?'

"The result came out as being for Willie Waddell.

"I didn't twig at the time but it was him who wrote the survey; he was the reporter!"