A Scottish schoolboy international, Ladybank, Fife born centre half Jimmy Simpson signed for Dundee United from Newburgh West End in 1924 and made his Scottish League debut at Raith Rovers at the age of 17 as a wing half in August 1925. A regular during the club’s first two years at the top level, United could not retain him following relegation in 1927 and he was transferred to Rangers for the then sizable fee of £1,000 after 7 goals in 60 appearances.
With Gers beginning to dominate the Scottish game, they were winning titles galore but in his first three seasons he played just 22 times. His fourth campaign brought a little more involvement but it was in 1931-32 that Simpson really became a regular in the first team. Now 24, he claimed the first major honour of his career that season as Kilmarnock were beaten 3-0 in a Scottish Cup Final replay.
Converted into a centre half, he became an integral part of the team which dominated the Scottish game during the 1930’s. Simpson won five League Championships, with League wins coming in 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937 and 1939. and four Scottish Cups with three more Scottish Cup victories, the back-to-back triumphs of 1934, 1935 and 1936, adding four Scottish League representative caps and 14 full Scottish international caps to his collection. In total, Simpson played a total of 331 competitive games for Rangers – the majority as captain – and scored five goals in matches for the Ibrox team.
However his career was curtailed by the Second World War during which he made a brief return to Dundee United in 1941 as a wartime guest, scoring once in 18 North Eastern League matches before moving on to join St Mirren, where he played 16 times for The Buddies in 1942.
After the War Simpson returned to Ibrox but left Rangers in July 1946 to take up a player-coach role with Highland League club Buckie Thistle. Simpson was appointed manager of Alloa Athletic on 19th December 1947, but left the club in February 1949.
His son Ronnie played as a goalkeeper for Queen’s Park, Third Lanark, Newcastle United, Hibernian and Celtic, and was part of the Celtic side which won the 1967 European Cup Final.