Ian McMillan, the man who made the ba’ do the work

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By The Govanhill Gub
The sad news on Friday that Ian McMillan had departed for that big dressing room in the sky was another loss to that link to a golden period for the club, as in that early 60s era.  There’s not many of them left.
Now, I’ll be honest, if I saw ‘the Wee Prime Minister’, I’d have been a toddler so I have no knowledge or memory of him playing; only my old man’s memories of the man.
Before we go any further, I’m truly convinced at times that for many of us, football and our fondness for certain times is generational.
For instance, there I was sitting in the back of my uncle Jim’s van and we’re going up to a rather foggy Tannadice in 1984.  So 40 years ago.  Part of the motley crew at the back, were my granda and his peer, Tam Bain.  For some reason alcohol liquids were being consumed. (the fog will do that to you) so being a student of the club I thought, I’d ask them a question.
What, or who was the best right winger/inside right partnership they saw watching us? Bear in mind, they had been watching Rangers from the 1920s.
Archibald and Cunningham?
Waddell and Gillick?
Scott/Henderson and McMillan?
They were like a tag team and in unison.  Waddell and Gillick.  There was absolutely no doubt in their minds.  Now if we move on a generation, to my old man and my uncle Billy, who watched that mid to late 40s side as youngsters, would have argued all day with them. Scott/Henderson and McMillan all day long.  As I say, it’s a generational thing.
Going back to the late 60s/early 70s, even if we had been at the game (home or away), Saturday night was spent in the kitchen with my old man and he’d regale me with stories of the forties team he grew up with, but there’s no doubt that team of the Baxter era was probably his favourite time.  Although he’d argue just being a Rangers fan is special.
But boy, did he love Ian McMillan as a footballer.  ‘The wee man made the ball do the work.  His vision was such he’d always be able to pass the ball inside the full back for the winger to run on to.’  That’s what he’d always tell me.  He always maintained we should have signed him ten years earlier, when Tory Gillick’s time was coming to an end.
Now, I could trot out his list of honours with us, but they’re there for all to see.  Again, I’ve not seen too much of his play but the wee bits we see from the 1962 Scottish Cup final v St Mirren gives us all a glimpse into his elegance and skill on the ball.
Airdrie have lost one of their favoured sons too, here.
I give you, Ian McMillan, the man who made the ball do the work.

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