Jim Baxter will be forever remembered for playing ‘keepie-uppie’ at Wembley in 1967 during Scotland’s famous victory over World Cup winners England.
His audacious skill against a bemused England defence was just typical of one of Scotland’s most talented footballers, who came from the humblest of beginnings.
Jim originally worked as an apprentice cabinet-maker and spent five years as a miner in Fife before being plucked from junior football by Raith Rovers in 1957. A record Scottish transfer fee of £17,500 saw him move in 1960 to Rangers, where he enjoyed the best football of his career, playing 254 games for the Ibrox outfit.
Strong and athletic, and blessed with both tactical vision and precise passing, the attacking left half dubbed ‘Slim Jim’ helped Rangers win 10 trophies in five years. He became renowned for his feints and tricks, crowds whooping in delight as he tormented and enraged defenders with cheeky nutmegs.
He briefly shone on the international stage, with his two performances against England at Wembley living longest in the memory. After scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory in 1963, he returned to torment the Auld Enemy in 1967. As well as his juggling antics, the match marked the only time he ever took – and scored – a penalty, ensuring a 3-2 victory.
Jim played for Sunderland and Nottingham Forest from 1965 to 1969, scoring 12 goals south of the border before returning to Ibrox in 1969. He retired the following year aged 31. During his memorable career, Jim amassed 34 Scotland caps and won three Scottish League Championships, three Scottish Cups and four League Cups. He died in 2001 aged 61.
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