Former Hearts and Scotland footballer Sandy Jardine was remembered as a “legend in his lifetime” as more than 500 mourners gathered to say goodbye at his funeral.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Ally McCoist and Hearts manager Gary Locke were among those paying their respects at Mortonhall Crematorium yesterday.
Edinburgh-born Jardine –who died aged 65 last Thursday following a battle with cancer – won the European Cup Winners’ Cup with Rangers before later signing for the Tynecastle club he supported as a boy.
Jardine – christened William but known as Sandy due to his hair colour – was named Scottish Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year for a second time aged 37 while playing for Hearts and months later became the club’s joint manager with Alex MacDonald.
Tributes were led by lifelong friend David Ross, who told the packed congregation that Jardine’s greatest loves were football, friends and family.
He said: “To all football fans, Billy will be remembered as one of the greatest ambassadors of the game.
“He was a wonderful player who played to win but played fairly and bore no grudges once the final whistle was blown.”
The son of a bus driver, Jardine and his twin brother grew up near Tynecastle and he signed for Rangers in 1964. The funeral heard that his first bonus was paid in cash, which he spent on a fur coat for his mother, Peggy.
Jardine’s death followed an 18-month battle with cancer which began when he complained of a lump in his neck while out for dinner in November 2012.
Mr Ross said: “He suffered huge pain for over a year and it looked like he’d won the battle.
“However, it was not to be and in January this year he was informed that the cancer was terminal.
“Throughout this period Billy’s strength of character and courage was beyond belief. Never once did we hear him complain or ask ‘Why me?’.”
Thanks were given to NHS staff on behalf of Jardine’s wife of almost 45 years, Shona, son Steven, daughter Nicola and his seven grandchildren.
Mr Ross added: “Billy has been a dedicated, loving husband, father and grandfather. Let’s remember him for all his great qualities and appreciate the time we spent with him. We should make sure that his memory lives on in all of us as long as we live. He was simply the best.”
The 40-minute service ended with mourners singing My Way, a song they were told Jardine enjoyed singing himself. The order of service featured a photo of Jardine with the words: “A legend in his lifetime. In our hearts forever.”
Former Rangers manager Walter Smith, Ibrox captain Lee McCulloch, ex-Hearts and Scotland manager Craig Levein, Motherwell boss Stuart McCall, and former Rangers players Gordon Durie and Ian Durrant also attended the service.
A floral tribute came from rock star Rod Stewart, with a card attached reading: “Goodbye Sandy. Rest in Peace. Rod Stewart.”
Following the service, Councillor Eric Milligan said: “He was a football player of the highest standard and a credit to Scotland. He always kept his feet on the ground and was a great example to his family and friends.”