Former football star Ian Redford found dead in woods

Ian Redford Mr Redford signed for Rangers in a then Scottish record fee in 1980

The former Rangers, Dundee and Dundee United player Ian Redford has been found dead in woodland near Irvine in Ayrshire, BBC Scotland understands.

Police Scotland confirmed that a body was found near Long Drive just after 11:00 on Friday.

Officers said there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.

Mr Redford, who was 53, began his career with Dundee before joining Rangers in February 1980 for a then Scottish record fee of £210,000.

After six seasons with Rangers, which included four domestic cup trophies, Redford moved to Dundee United, where he collected runners-up medals in the Uefa Cup and Scottish Cup in the space of a few days in 1987.

'Brilliant player'

He also played for Ipswich Town, St Johnstone, Brechin and Raith Rovers in a career that lasted almost 20 years.

John MacDonald, who played with Redford at Rangers in the 1980s, said: "It's unbelievable. I met him not long ago at Colin McAdam's funeral and he was in good spirits and talking away to all the boys.

(L-R) Stuart Cosgrove, Ian Redford, Graham Speirs and Tam Cowan Ian Redford (second from left) pictured recently with Stuart Cosgrove, Graham Speirs and Tam Cowan

"It seems the only chance you get to see former team mates is at these sort of things or Rangers functions now.

"He was a brilliant player, his pace and skill down the wing was great and he set up a few goals for me. He was great to play with, I remember him scoring the winner in the 1981 League Cup final against Dundee United and that was a great day."

He added: "You couldn't meet a nicer guy off the park. I met him at a few Rangers golf days over the years and he was great, even though we'd all slowed down a bit because we were all older.

"He was from Perthshire and although he moved when he played with Rangers, he moved back to be nearer his family after, but he always made an effort to make all the functions. It's terrible to hear, really unbelievable."

Some of the clubs Redford played for paid tribute to him on their websites.

'Part of history'

A Dundee United statement said: "Everybody at Dundee United is devastated to hear of the passing of ex-United player Ian Redford.

"The memory of his performances for United at a time when the club competed in the higher echelons of European football will forever be part of our history and his winning goal against Borussia Monchengladbach in the semi final of the Uefa Cup semi final in 1987 will always be looked back on with particular fondness by Arabs everywhere.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Ian's family at this very sad time."

Rangers manager Ally McCoist said: "We are deeply shocked to hear the very sad news that Ian has passed away.

"I had the honour of playing with him early in my Rangers career and he was a terrific lad and an extremely talented footballer who will be sadly missed.

"Everyone at Rangers sends their sincere condolences to Ian's family and our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time."

Dundee FC said: "Everyone at Dundee FC were saddened to hear of the death of former midfielder/striker Ian Redford - one of the most talented kids to come through the Dens youth system over the last few decades.

"Ian was mainly a striker during his time at Dens - and he scored four goals in one match against St Mirren in 1979 in a 4-1 win.

"It was the kind of performance that brought attention from richer clubs and Ian was sold to Rangers for a Scottish record transfer fee not long afterwards.

"Ian was a silky and attacking player who was not quite the stereotypical footballer - he'll be missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time."

The midfielder was capped for Scotland's under-21 side, but not for the senior team, having played at a time when the national squad could call on Graeme Souness, Paul McStay and Gordon Strachan, among others.

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