Derek James Parlane was born on the 5th May 1953 in Helensburgh. Following in the footsteps of his father Jimmy Parlane, Derek grew up to become a professional footballer who had a distinguished club career and also represented his country at international level. Father Jimmy had represented Rangers during the war years and for a short while after hostilities ended.
Derek started his football career as a schoolboy playing for Rhu Primary School, before starring for Hermitage Academy. He played for the school team and local Dumbarton team, Castle Rock and was then asked to train with Queen’s Park. It was whilst playing for the Queen’s Park second XI that he got his break. At the age of 15 he was selected to play for Scotland Amateurs in the home Internationals and came to attention, as a 16 year old, to several clubs offering professional terms.
Derek was signed by Willie Waddell and Willie Thornton for Glasgow Rangers FC, when they visited his home, an occasion Derek fondly remembers.
He signed for Rangers, where he went on to win 2 championships, 3 Scottish Cups and 2 Scottish League Cups and was capped by Scotland 12 times with one under 21 cap. He played for 10 seasons between 1970 and 1980 and scored 80 goals, finishing the club’s top scorer in four seasons, in 202 matches. He is fondly remembered by Rangers fans for his European debut in 1972. Derek scored the decisive second goal in a 2-0 win – a stunning volley – to put Bayern Munich, arguably West Germany’s greatest ever club side out of the European Cup-Winners’ Cup at the semi final stage. Rangers went on to win the competition beating Moscow Dynamo 3-2 in the Nou Camp Final.
It was during the 1975/76 Treble winning season, that Derek was dropped by Rangers for the first time. His form dipped in the November and his No 9 shirt was given to Martin Henderson. Until that time, Derek had played virtually every game for Rangers and he later recalled his disappointment at being called into Jock Wallace’s office on a Friday and being told he was to be dropped the following day. Derek remembers visiting his parents in Rhu to give them the bad news. Derek was to regain his place the following season, although Rangers failed to retain any of their trophies. Although Rangers swept all before them in the 1977/78 season, Derek was to play a peripheral role – with most of his appearances coming from the bench. His final Rangers honours coming in the Scottish Cup final reply where Hibs were beaten 3-2 AET.
In March 1980, Derek left Rangers for Leeds United for a fee of £160,000 but this wasn’t to prove a successful stay. He scored 10 goals in 53 appearances for Leeds before going to Hong Kong on loan with Bulova. On 14 July 1983, new Manchester City manager Billy McNeill brought him to Maine Road. Derek went on to score 20 goals in 48 appearances for City.
Derek was injured in September 1984 and was sold by City to Swansea City in January 1985. After the season finished he played in New Zealand for the summer with North Shore United. He spent the 1985-86 season in Belgium with Racing Jet (2 games 0 goals) before returning to play two seasons with Rochdale from 1986-88, playing 42 games and scoring 10 times.
His last professional club was Airdrie in the 1987-88 season, scoring 4 goals in 9 games, before signing for then non-league outfit Macclesfield Town in England.
On the 22nd February 2010, Derek Parlane was inducted into the Rangers FC Hall of Fame. At the presentation, Derek said:””My father Jimmy played for Rangers in the 1940s and he died a few years ago. This would have been a big night for him and he’d have been so proud of me too. I’ve been delighted to be part of this football club. If someone said to me when I signed at 16 and a half, that one day I would be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I’d have thought they were having a laugh. I had 10 great years at Ibrox. I was a supporter first and foremost and this just caps it all perfectly. It’s my best moment as a Ranger.”
After his football career was over, Derek moved to Lancashire, working for Reebok. He lives in Lytham St Annes, and has two sons and a daughter.
Image copyright and used by permission of Glasgow Rangers FC