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Ian McColl, one of the great players of postwar Scottish football and a member of the famous Glasgow Rangers 'iron curtain' defence, died at the age of 81 on 25 October 2008. He was later a successful manager of the Scottish national team.
McColl was the grandson of another famous Scottish international, William McColl. His name was actually John Miller McColl, although in his football career he was always known as Ian.
Born in Alexandria, in western Dunbartonshire, on 7 June 1927, he attended the Vale of Leven academy - Vale of Leven was his initial club. When he went to Glasgow University to study civil engineering in 1943, he joined the amateur Queens Park club before signing for Rangers as a professional two years later.
He remained at Ibrox for 15 years, during which time Rangers won the Scottish Championship six times, the Cup five times, and the League Cup twice. In 1949, the "iron curtain" defence made possible the first treble in Scottish football. In front of the goalkeeper Bobby Brown were the full-backs Jock Shaw and George Young and half-backs Willie Woodburn, Sammy Cox and McColl himself, who would eventually succeed Young as captain. Meanwhile, he played 14 times for Scotland from 1950 onwards, helping the team to reach the World Cup finals in 1958, although he was not involved in the matches in Sweden.
By 1960, he had lost his regular place in the Rangers team, but when his successor, Harold Davis, dropped out, he stepped in for the Cup final at Hampden, when Kilmarnock were beaten 2-0 - a nice way to bow out, he observed. He then retired as a player, having made a remarkable 526 appearances for Rangers.
As managers of Scotland from 1960 he won 17 out of 28 matches (with three drawn and eight lost) under his management, an average of 60.7%, surpassed only by the 70% record of Alex McLeish in 2007. The team failed to qualify for the 1962 and 1966 World Cup finals, however, and in 1965 McColl was replaced by Jock Stein. He then became manager of Sunderland for three seasons. From Roker Park, McColl returned to civil engineering. In recent years, when he had been in ill health, he had been elected to Scottish football's hall of fame.