Skip to content

Legends to take the field for Fernando Ricksen on Sunday

Alex Rae and Fernando Ricksen played together at Rangers between 2004 and 2006
Image: Alex Rae and Fernando Ricksen (right) played together at Rangers between 2004 and 2006

Former Rangers midfielder Alex Rae says Sunday’s Fernando Ricksen tribute match promises to be one not to miss as an Ibrox Legends XI take on a side that includes a number of ex-Celtic stars.

The 45-year-old will play alongside the likes of Andy Goram, Michael Mols, Regi Blinker, Tom Boyd and others at Elgin City's Borough Briggs stadium as they help raise money for his former team-mate's charity.

Ricksen revealed he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in October 2013, when he was given just 15 months to live.

Since then the former Rangers captain has been raising money and awareness for MND through a variety of means.

A similar fixture took place at Ibrox in January in front of a crowd of around 41,000, and despite this being a more low-key affair Rae says the big names on display shows how strongly Ricksen is thought of in the footballing world.

He said: "It's the least we can do in terms of the grand scheme of things. It's a tragic situation and Fernando is so popular. Even though he's struggling to communicate, you can still have a laugh with him."

Fernando Ricksen: Hard Times
Image: Michael Mols and Nacho Novo carry Ricksen off to a hero's reception at the Ibrox charity match in January

"A big shout out has to go to the Celtic boys that are coming to play. Sometimes in times like these, you see the human side rather than the intensity of the rivalry between the likes of the Old Firm. So I think they need a good deal of credit."

But the former Wolves and Dundee man has warned spectators not to expect a light-hearted friendly for 90 minutes.

"I've played at Borough Briggs for this type of game before and it was a great turnout and atmosphere." Rae continued.

"The one thing from my point of view is that there's always a wee edge to this type of game. I have played in a lot of these types of matches recently for charities and stuff like that and there's always that competitiveness with the old pros.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Former Rangers captain and Netherlands international Fernando Ricksen opens up about his battle with motor neurone disease in an emotional documentary

"They are always great entertainment. These games are a good opportunity for supporters to see some of those legends of the past. I used to watch the nine-in-a-row era with envy from down south and the team Rangers had then was fantastic, so it will be good to meet up with some of them on Sunday."

Rae took part in his fair share of Old Firm derbies during his time at Ibrox, winning three out of the six he took part in. He has experienced the highs of the matches, but also knows there is an uglier side to the tie.

He sees these types of matches as a way in which the barriers between the clubs and supporters can be transcended for a greater good.

He said: "It's an absolute pleasure to help the cause. I am involved in my own charity and a few years ago Neil Lennon and Alan Thompson were instrumental in getting that off the ground. This type of situation brings out the best in people. Yes the rivalry of the Old Firm is there but you've also got the human side of things."

Alex Rae and Fernando Ricksen among the Rangers players celebrate after winning the SPL title in 2005
Image: Rangers players, including Rae and Ricksen, celebrate after winning the SPL title in 2005

Alison Cameron, a member of the game's organising committee, is looking forward to raising money for a cause that is close to their own hearts.

She said: "We've got one of our work colleagues whose husband died from Motor Neurone Disease last year. We heard that Dougie Ross [another of the organisers] and Marco Negri wanted to get this off the ground and because it is so close to us we wanted to help them out with it.

"We haven't got a target of how much we want to raise, we don't want to set a target. We just want to raise as much as we possibly can.

"Local charities will benefit as well. We've actually put adverts out in the local papers for people to vote for one who will receive donations from the game."

Over 1,500 tickets for Sunday's game have already been sold. And with the capacity at Borough Briggs being 4,000, there is plenty of opportunity for fans of all clubs to watch some of Scottish football's greatest former talents.

A Rangers Legends XI take on a Guest Legends XI at Elgin City's Borough Briggs stadium on Sunday in aid of Motor Neurone Disease
Image: A Rangers Legends XI take on a Guest Legends XI at Elgin City's Borough Briggs stadium on Sunday in aid of Motor Neurone Disease

In addition to the legend-laden tribute match, a Sportsman's dinner will be held on Saturday night, with a lunch also taking place on Sunday. There is a host of prizes up for auction and tickets for these events are still available. For more information visit:

Tickets are available to buy at the stadium on the day.
Adult: £15
Concession: £5

RANGERS LEGENDS XI: Andy Goram, Dave McPherson, Colin Hendry, Marvin Andrews, Scott Nisbet, Alex Rae, Charlie Miller, John MacDonald, Derek Ferguson, Jonathan Johansson, Gary McSwegan, David Healy, Marco Negri, Michael Mols, Kevin Milne (auction winner), Kristofer Taylor (auction winner), Dougie Ross (organiser).

GUEST LEGENDS XI: Alan Combe, Rudi Vata, Enrico Annoni, Tosh McKinlay, Tom Boyd, David Elliot, Brian McLaughlin, Jose Quitongo, Andy McLaren, Joe Miller, Bobby Petta, Regi Blinker, Gavin Price, Michael England (auction winner), Gary Burchell (auction winner), Andrew Baldacci (auction winner), Simon Lobban (auction winner), Jamie Wale (auction winner), Murat Dag (auction winner).

Around Sky