Bobby Russell was told he wasn’t big enough and he wasn’t good enough. Thankfully, he listened to those who believed he was both. Almost five decades on, his story acts as an inspiration to players of today and is recalled with fondness by those who witnessed his ability and achievements.

The memories and the anecdotes have now been committed to black and white. Written in conjunction with author Ross Wilson, the Russell legacy is encapsulated in his journey from Easterhouse to Eindhoven. For some, it is unbelievable. For the man himself, it was a case of living his dream as a boyhood Rangers supporter – born in the shadow of Parkhead – became a treble winner and a Hall of Fame inductee.

Now 67, Russell had to be convinced to take part in the project. Wilson’s persistence paid off and his family have now taken it upon themselves to help spread the word, proud of the deeds of a classy midfield player in his day. On Friday evening, Russell will be joined by former teammate Gordon Smith at New Edmiston House for the official launch and to talk through a Rangers career of one League title, three Scottish Cups and four League Cups.

“Football gave me a great career, good memories and great friends,” Russell told the Rangers Review. “I had a lot of great times but a lot of downsides as well. It wasn’t all plain sailing and rosy in the garden, it was depressing at times, especially with the injuries and things like that. It is all part and parcel of the game that you are going to get injured, but I had my fair share.

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"It was great to meet a couple of my old mates, going away back to primary school. I met them, had a couple of beers and reminisced and I met my old schoolteacher, who I have kept in touch with all these years. And of course, Bobby Dinnie as well, he is just a mine of information and a great man. It has been an adventure, without a doubt. It is great to look at it and think ‘Christ, did I do all of that?’.”

Indeed he did. In many ways, Russell owes his career to Dinnie. It was the legendary Possil YM figurehead that spotted a certain Kenny Dalglish and a trip to watch Bishoploch High School changed Russell’s life. Dinnie recalls the diminutive midfielder being ‘the right height for clapping dugs’ but a possessing a talent that gave him that feeling of potentially being something special. A trip to the family home in Easterhouse went on for so long that Dinnie missed the bus back to Possil and had to walk home.

It was during a trial at Ibrox a couple of years later that Russell was first informed by Willie Thornton that he had to come back when he had filled out a bit. By the time he did so, Russell had taken up an apprenticeship as a fitter/welder with York Trailers and seen what he believed would be his big break end prematurely. He admits he was underdeveloped, both physically and mentally, for life at Sunderland and, aged just 17, he signed on and spent his days drinking and playing darts and pool down his local pub.

Russell started the 1975 campaign with Rutherglen Glencairn. He ended the 1977/78 season as a treble winner for Rangers. His decision to reject Jack Steedman’s lucrative offer to sign for Clydebank paid off and his performance in a trial match at Tannadice was enough to convince Jock Wallace to sign him.

Russell recalls how Wallace allowed his father, Bobby, to travel on the team bus and laughs at the reaction he received when he got changed pre-match. By the time his suit with padded shoulders and his heeled shoes has been taken off, he wasn’t quite the strapping physical specimen that Rangers thought they had invited along.

“They called me in the morning after that game,” Russell said. “My dad wasn’t a great football man and he probably remembers me playing for Possil when it was the Roy of the Rovers stuff. When you start playing professional football it is a different game altogether. He didn’t think I played that well, but I did enough for Jock to bring me in to sign me.

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"It was incredible going up the Marble Staircase with my dad and signing that contract. I signed and we were walking out when Big Jock called us back in and he said ‘you haven’t even asked what you are getting’. I never asked, I didn’t know what I was getting paid. My dad never said anything, he was just so proud that I had signed that the money side of it wasn’t relevant. I had signed for Rangers.”

It turned out he was on £20 a week on a provisional deal while he still turned out for Shettleston Juniors, with a run to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup delaying his introduction to life at Ibrox. Every Tuesday night, he reported to the stadium for sprint and circuit training with Wallace. He was soon in shape.

“He was a fearsome character first and foremost,” Russell said. “But if you behaved yourself and you gave your all, he would treat you accordingly. If you stepped out of line, he would say ‘If I punch you with my left hand I’ll knock you out, but if I punch you with the right I might kill you. What do you want?’ And you said: ‘I will take the left if you don’t mind!’ He wasn’t noted for his tactics, which I thought was very unfair. He was known for his motivation. He would make sure you were ready for games. He had an aura, he made you feel that you were the best. He had you going on the park feeling fit and ready for the 90 minutes and that was something Big Jock always instilled in you.”

A fee of £500 was paid to Shettleston and Russell turned up for pre-season training a fortnight early. He spent those two weeks running up and down the Ibrox terraces with Bobby McKean before the rest of Wallace’s squad – many of whom Russell had idolised as a supporter – joined them. Smith was also signed that summer, as was a certain Davie Cooper. A second treble in three seasons awaited.

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Cooper and Smith scored in the League Cup final victory over Celtic as Russell watched on. A viral infection floored him for several weeks and he lost weight that he didn’t exactly have to shift. Wallace couldn’t take a chance on him at Hampden but he still collected a medal, an act to selflessness and class from Sandy Jardine seeing him hand over his gong to one of the youngest members of the Ibrox squad.

“There were about eight or nine players in the first team who won the European Cup Winners' Cup, the best achievement in the history of Rangers,” Russell said. “You are walking into a team who you know are winners, are legends. The season before they didn’t win anything but that was off the back of having won the treble before that and they had not long won the Cup Winners’ Cup. You know you are going into a squad of quality of experience. At time I felt we were getting a lot of the credit and the praise and it was taken away from these guys who were experienced, the likes of Greigy, DJ, Doddie, Sandy. They were the heart and soul of the team and we were just part of the jigsaw. We played our part. It was definitely a great team to be involved it, without a doubt.”

Doddie and DJ netted in the Scottish Cup final victory over Aberdeen as Rangers finished two points clear of the Dons in the Premier Division. Just days later, Big Jock resigned. Russell’s captain became his manager and it was with The Greatest in the dugout that the midfielder produced one of the famous moments of his career.

It was the goal that secured a place in the quarter-finals of the European Cup, one which inflicted a first home defeat in continental competition on PSV Eindhoven. Rangers were already heading through on away goals but Russell wasn’t content with that. As he recalls the build-up and the finish, the images are replayed in the mind in all of their glory.

“I think the manager was probably pulling his hair out seeing me run away forward like that,” Russell said. “It would have been ‘what are you doing!’ People ask me what made me do it. I knew that Tommy McLean had the ball and you know he is the best passer in the team. That made my mind up. If it had been anyone else and no disrespect, say big Tom Forsyth, I wouldn’t have made the run because I don’t think Big Tam had the ability like Wee Tam to play that kind of pass. I wasn’t the quickest but if I could get a couple of yards on them then they wouldn’t catch me. The goalkeeper made my mind up as well. If he had stayed on his line, I would have had to take another two or three touches and they might have got back. He came out, and well the rest is history. I stuck it away.”

The moment that provides the title to Russell’s book is far from the final chapter in his tale. He describes the moment Wallace informed his side they were heading to Baghdad on a tour and the meeting with Saddam Hussein, and how the arrival of Graeme Souness - alongside groin and pelvic complaints - was the beginning of the end for him at Ibrox. With contributions from friends, teammates and journalists, it becomes clear how highly Russell was rated and he is perhaps one of the finest players never to have been capped by his country.

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Injury denied him a place in the fabled Scottish Cup final between Motherwell and Dundee United and he left on a family holiday in the hours after it, opting not to take a place on the open top bus through the town. Not all of his memories are good ones. On Friday evening, Russell will have the chance to reminisce with those who hailed and heralded him.

“I was privileged to play with the Greatest Ever Ranger in John Greig,” Russell said. “I played with one of the best players ever in Davie Cooper. And I would never take anything away from the others that I played with, not just in the first season but after that. To me, they were all great players. You don’t play for Rangers if you are a bad player. I know people will have their opinions about Rangers class, but if you have signed and played for Rangers, you have got ability and you are a good player. The one thing I would say is that I don’t think there was one that I disliked. They were all genuine, good guys that gave me great memories.”