There’s a good chance, if you watched Rangers or Celtic in Europe in the nineties or noughties, you have a fair idea of just who Archie Macpherson is.

Or perhaps, during your Hogmanay one year, ahead of the bells, sipping on a whisky, you came across a send-up of Archie by Jonathan Watson and co on the now sadly no longer with us Only an Excuse.

Even if you ever indulged in the famous Scottish film Trainspotting, you will have heard the voice of Archibald Macpherson.

Because the man from Shettleston is somewhat of a cultural icon.

Archie has worked for the BBC, STV, Eurosport, Setanta Sports, Radio Clyde and Talksport, covered three Olympic Games, six World Cups and was inducted into Scottish football’s Hall of Fame in 2017.    

He fought with Aberdeen manager Fergie, tussled with Scotland gaffer Tommy Doc and battled Celtic legend Big Jock, relationships prepared for no doubt during his pre-broadcasting days as a headteacher of Swinton School.

Clydebank Post: Macpherson pressed BBC bosses for a sports slot on the newsMacpherson pressed BBC bosses for a sports slot on the news (Image: Stock)

Clydebank Post: Archie in May 1985 at Hampden Park with another great voice of sport Arthur MontfordArchie in May 1985 at Hampden Park with another great voice of sport Arthur Montford (Image: Stock)

And, during his many visits to Clydebank covering the famous Bankies over the years, the well-travelled broadcaster remembers well the rise and fall of the club under the stewardship of the Steedmans in the seventies, eighties and nineties.

“Clydebank were adventurous," explained Archie.

"And, they revived the interest in football in the area.

"It is very difficult to establish a club and nudge its way into acceptance by people like me and the general public and the Steedmans I think did a great job there.”

Pushing Scottish sport

Among some lesser-known credits in his four-decade-long Scottish football showreel, is that Archie can lay claim to being the man who brought sport, and specifically football, to the masses.

Long before shows such as Clyde 1 Superscoreboard, Open Goal or Sportscene, the media landscape when it came to sport in Scotland was a very different place.

It was the early seventies and sport was held with indifference and disdain, almost completely dismissed unless some football personality broke the law of the land.

That was until Archie entered the fray, pushing bosses of BBC Scotland’s new flagship news programme at the time, Reporting Scotland, to give sport a regular Friday evening sports bulletin and a weekend preview.

Today, we have a 24-hour rolling sports news channel.

But when questioned on whether this introduction - which would lead to wall-to-wall sports coverage - is responsible for fuelling the fire of Old Firm bitterness and perhaps heightening tensions, veteran Archie isn’t buying that one.

“It was always intense,” he says with an authoritative swagger.

“Shettleston was split, there were Rangers pubs and Celtic pubs, not that that is unique to Shettleston, you get that all over the place.

“I was proud that I convinced BBC News to involve sport more regularly, make it an actual segment, not just refer to it now and again.

“I wanted to make football in particular a regular occurrence for the viewer and eventually Reporting Scotland started that, and I am very proud that it continued.”

Clydebank Post: Celtic manager Jock Stein (L) and captain Billy McNeill (R) turn up at Parkhead with the European CupCeltic manager Jock Stein (L) and captain Billy McNeill (R) turn up at Parkhead with the European Cup (Image: Stock)

Clydebank Post: Macpherson had an eventful relationship with Aberdeen manager FergusonMacpherson had an eventful relationship with Aberdeen manager Ferguson (Image: Stock)


Archie details his admiration for sporting icons in his most recent book Touching the Heights, in which he paints a captivating personal portrait of his relationship with great sporting Scots.

Men like Dundee United manager Jim McLean, former Ger Graeme Souness, one of Scotland’s greatest footballers Jim Baxter and, of course, Jock Stein, are all looked at through the lens of a man who covered these men and their lives as his day job.

And Archie – who wrote a biography on the Celtic legend – remembers the days when Stein used the media to fan a fire in his players.

He continued: “Stein grew up as a Rangers supporter in Blantyre and he was fully aware of Rangers success under Bill Struth in the 1940s.

“They were the establishment club; everybody went with them, and they were hugely influential because of that.

“But when he went to Celtic and crossed the divide, he played on that very heavily with his players and in general he could take aim at the press for being Rangers-inclined, and I think he used it as a spark.

Clydebank Post: Jimmy Johnstone (left) takes on the Leeds defences in 1970Jimmy Johnstone (left) takes on the Leeds defences in 1970 (Image: Stock)

“I don’t think he was doing it all the time, but I think he just sensed the establishment was not pro-Celtic and he wanted that as part of the psychology, and clearly it worked.”

Il Topolino

In the book, amid a chapter titled Il Topolino – the name the Inter Milan players gave late Lisbon Lion Jimmy Johnstone – the former commentator reflects on a man he thought of dearly as a friend, and who he described as the nicest man he had ever met – as well as a rascal.

And he explained Johnstone wasn’t happy with his own performance in the Lisbon final which crowned Celtic European Champions in 1967.

Archie added: “He felt he should have penetrated more than he did. He was very well marked by an expert defence, who employed that very famous Catenaccio defensive strategy, and he just felt, yes it was a glorious day for Celtic, but he just felt that he didn’t sparkle.

“And he told me that.  And of course, that wouldn’t have been noticed in terms of the overall achievement of the team.”