Willie Thornton

William Thornton MM (3 March 1920 – 26 August 1991) was a Scottish footballer and manager. Thornton's entire senior playing career was spent with Rangers, and Thornton is considered to be one of the greatest players in the club's history.

Willie Thornton
Personal information
Full name Willam Thornton
Date of birth (1920-03-03)3 March 1920
Place of birth Winchburgh, Scotland
Date of death 26 August 1991(1991-08-26) (aged 71)
Position(s) Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1936–1954 Rangers 219 (138)
National team
1946–1952 Scotland 8 (1)
1949 Scottish League XI[1] 1 (0)
Teams managed
1954–1959 Dundee
1959–1968 Partick Thistle
1969 Rangers (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Football career

Thornton played for Rangers from 1936 to 1954, then became a manager with first Dundee and then Partick Thistle. Thornton later returned to Rangers as assistant manager to Davie White in the summer of 1968 and was briefly caretaker manager in 1969 after White's dismissal. Thornton then worked as assistant to William Waddell until 1972. The club won the two matches when Thornton was in charge. Thornton is one of Scotland's all-time top goalscorers, with 138 league goals.

Military career

Thornton served in World War II in the Scottish Horse, winning the Military Medal for his bravery.[2]


Thornton died on 26 August 1991, aged 71 years old.[citation needed]