If you utter the words ‘Henrik Larsson' anywhere other than within a 20-metre radius of Ibrox you’ll hear football fans chattering about a legend. Kris Boyd has just announced his retirement and doesn’t command anywhere near as much respect but maybe he should and at Rangers, at least, he'll always be remembered as one of the best, a true legend.
Boyd was born in the village of Tarbolton and spent his younger years growing up locally before an opportunity to go on trial with the Rangers youth set up presented itself. It proved to be unsuccessful and the then fullback signed for Kilmarnock where he was quickly shifted to the other end of the pitch – a wise move to say the least. After seven years with Killie – including two as a youth player – a £750k January deal saw Boyd arrive at Ibrox. What a bargain he would prove.
His first appearance for the Gers sets the tone for his career in Glasgow as he bagged a hat-trick during a 5-0 Scottish Cup thrashing of Peterhead. Boyd went on to net 20 or more goals in the next five seasons and in doing so helped Rangers to six pieces of silverware – two SPL titles, two Scottish cups and two league cups.
A personal honour for Boyd, but one that everyone associated with Rangers remains amongst his greatest highlights, was the five-goal masterclass he put on during a 7-1 demolition of Dundee United. It was the game that saw him write his name into the history books of Scottish football as he moved ahead of Celtic forward Larsson to become the SPL's all-time record scorer.
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It’s not only Boyd’s goal scoring prowess that endeared him to Rangers though. On more than one occasion during his peak years Boyd rebuffed money spinning offers from Birmingham City and a duo of Turkish clubs – Trabzonspor and Kayserispor. At the time it caused a split of opinion amongst the fan base due to the transfer fees being mentioned.
The deal on the table from Birmingham was an upfront £4million rising to a potential £5million, but on reflection his rejection of those moves was one born out of love and loyalty for the Gers – a trait that is hard to find in footballers nowadays. Boyd could have earned much more money south of the border or overseas but chose to stay at Ibrox to add more trophies to his cabinet, which he did.
The time did eventually come for Boyd to move on though and he played for Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest as well as Eskisehirspor in the Turkish Super Lig. After that he accepted a big money offer to join the Portland Timbers in America, where ‘soccer' is dwarfed by the likes of the NFL (fun fact: just this April, a cornerback with the same name, Kris Boyd, was drafted and will start the NFL preseason with the Minnesota Vikings).
Boyd’s American dream was cut short and he headed back to Scotland with Kilmarnock where he proved he hadn’t lost the knack of putting the ball in the net; he promptly signed for a second spell with Rangers. Unfortunately, the first stint was much more successful for both parties and the reunion lasted for just a solitary season. Boyd joined Killie for a third time where he continued doing what he does – scoring goals – until he decided to bring down the curtain on a goal filled career.
All in all, Boyd netted over 130 goals over 213 matches with Rangers and he’ll forever be remembered as one of the greatest ever goalscorers to grace the field at Ibrox. He may have started and ended his career at Kilmarnock, but he will forever be remembered as a Ger.
Thanks for the memories, enjoy your retirement, Legend.
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