Willie Henderson

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Willie Henderson
Personal information
Full name William Henderson[1]
Date of birth (1944-01-24) 24 January 1944 (age 75)
Place of birth Baillieston, Scotland
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Playing position Winger
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1960–1972 Rangers 478 (36)
1972 Durban United 3 (0)
1972–1974 Sheffield Wednesday 48 (5)
1973 Miami Toros 7 (0)
1974–1976 Hong Kong Rangers
1976–1977 Caroline Hill
1977–1978 Brisbane Lions
1978–1979 Airdrieonians 2 (0)
Total 538 (41)
National team
1962–1971 Scotland 29 (5)
1962–1968 Scottish League XI 6 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

William "Willie" Henderson (born 24 January 1944, in Baillieston, Glasgow) is a retired Scottish football player. He played most of his career for Rangers, and spent the latter part of his career with Sheffield Wednesday, in Hong Kong with Hong Kong Rangers and with Airdrieonians. He played as a winger. He also featured at international level for Scotland.

Henderson made his career debut in 1960 at the age of 16. He was a very pacy right-winger and as he was only 5 feet 4 inches tall he became known as Wee Willie.[2]

Football career[edit]


During his time with Rangers he won two Scottish league championships, the Scottish Cup four times and the League Cup twice. He was also part of the Rangers team that got to the finals of the 1960–61 and 1966–67 Cup Winners Cup competitions, and was part of the Rangers campaign that eventually brought home the trophy in the 1971/72 season. He was not involved in Rangers' 3–2 final victory over FC Dinamo Moscow in Barcelona in May 1972, however, as he had left Rangers just prior, having fallen out with the then manager, Willie Waddell. Henderson later admitted that missing that game was one of the worst moments of his career. Thus while he sat on a beach in South Africa, his former teammates had their names carved onto the trophy. It was a very sad way to end his Rangers career. He made a total of 478 appearances between 1960 and 1972.

Henderson signed for Sheffield Wednesday for the 1972–73 season and made his debut on 12 August 1972 in a 3–0 victory over Fulham. Henderson was a great favourite with the Wednesday fans in the two seasons that he was there even though the club had little success. He made 50 appearances for Wednesday with six as substitute, scoring five goals in his two seasons there. His last appearance for the club was on 27 April 1974, the last match of the 1973–74 season against Bolton Wanderers, a match Wednesday had to win to avoid relegation to Division Three. They won the match 1–0. Henderson left Wednesday at the end of that season and went to play for Hong Kong Rangers. In November 1976, he moved to Caroline Hill.[3] He spent three years in the colony and captained the Hong Kong League XI (a team made up of foreign professionals plying their trade in Hong Kong) before returning to Scotland for a final season with Airdrieonians.


He made his debut for Scotland on 20 October 1962, against Wales in a 3–2 victory for Scotland, in which he scored the winning goal.[4] He also scored in his second game for Scotland in a 5–1 victory over Northern Ireland. He went on to gain a further 27 caps and score three more goals, a total of 29 caps and five goals. His last game for Scotland was on 21 April 1971, in a 2–0 defeat by Portugal. Henderson remains one of the youngest players to represent Scotland at 18 years and 269 days. In an interview with the Scotland on Sunday newspaper in April 2006, Henderson admitted that Scotland's failure to qualify for the 1966 and 1970 World Cups was a great disappointment to him as Scotland at that time had one of the best teams in Europe. "I can't believe that we had so many players who were genuine world class yet we didn't reach the best-ever finals of the biggest tournament of them all," said Henderson. He also represented the Scottish League XI.[5]

Later career[edit]

Whilst playing for Rangers, Henderson owned and ran a hairdresser's shop in Glasgow. Upon his retirement he opened a pub alongside Alfie Conn, Jr. in Coatbridge. He currently operates a hotel in Lanarkshire and works for Rangers at Ibrox on match days as a hospitality host.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Henderson is short sighted and wore contact lenses. People found this amusing as they would often wonder how much better he would have been had his eyesight been better. Legend has it that late on in an Old Firm encounter he inquired on the sidelines, "How long to go, how long to go?" Jock Stein replied: "Go and ask at the other dugout, you bloody fool – this is the Celtic bench!"[citation needed]

Career statistics[edit]


Scotland national team[6]
Year Apps Goals
1962 2 2
1963 8 1
1964 2 0
1965 8 1
1966 3 0
1968 1 0
1969 4 1
1971 1 0
Total 29 5

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.[7]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 20 October 1962 Ninian Park, Cardiff  Wales 3–1 3–2 1962–63 British Home Championship
2. 7 November 1962 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Northern Ireland 4–1 5–1
3. 13 June 1963 Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid  Spain 5–2 6–2 Friendly
4. 24 November 1965 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Wales 2–1 4–1 1965–66 British Home Championship
5. 17 May 1969 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Cyprus 7–0 8–0 1970 FIFA World Cup qualification


  1. ^ "Willie Henderson". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b "WILLIE HENDERSON". Rangers Football Club. Rangers.co.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Sensational move cripples Rangers Blues' Henderson joins Caroline Hill". South China Morning Post. 20 November 1976.
  4. ^ "Scotland supreme, but learn some lessons from Wales". www.londonhearts.com. 20 October 1962. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Scotland FL Players by Appearances". Londonhearts.com. London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  6. ^ National Football Teams profile
  7. ^ SFA profile

External links[edit]