Book Review - Great Scot - the James Scotland Symon story by David Leggat

Last updated : 28 October 2012 By Grandmaster Suck

Somehow, perhaps because of Berwick or because of the towering figure of Bill Struth, Scot Symon has been overlooked.

Yet in his 13 years at Ibrox he won 15 trophies and took the club to two European final.


I’m a great fan of Leggo’s daily blog but the book is written in a more measured style and if he set out to do Symon justice then he has succeeded in telling an affectionate but yet warts and all story.  It’s a page-turner - I read it over two nights.  


For such a private man as Symon in an age when the media was much less intrusive Leggat won a  watch in having a source like journalist Roger Baillie who as a young man courted Symon’s daughter and was able to give a great insight to the hustle and bustle of the household.


Even without Rangers Symon’s story is remarkable enough - a professional player for Dundee, Portsmouth, Rangers and Scotland he was also capped at cricket for his country.


In managerial terms he was was remarkable - he led East Fife to two League Cup wins and a Scottish Cup appearance.  Then he took over a Preston North End team fielding Tom Finney and took them to the 1954 FA Cup Final.  After he left Rangers he managed Partick Thistle before moving upstairs to become their general manager - but of the famous 1971 who beat Celtic 4-1 in the League Cup Final he had give half of that team their first team debuts between 68 and 70.


At Ibrox he presided over the magical early 60s team which many consider to have been Rangers finest - the names of players he managed ring down the years - McMIllan, Baxter, Greig, Scott, Wilson, Johnansen, Millar, McKinnon, Johnston, Provan, Ritchie, Henderson, Jardine and Smith.


I predict the book will become a standard volume in the libraries of Rangers fans across the world - it’s 42 chapters are work in themselves - so once you’ve read the whole thing you’ll be able to dip into it time and again to refresh your memory on incidents, finals and players such as Baxter, Woodburn, the 60s Treble, Berwick, Nuremberg, et al.


Highly recommended.


Available from all good book stores and Amazon -