Rangers have paid tribute to their “much-loved, legendary kit man” Jimmy Bell, who has died at the age of 69.

He was a constant presence at Ibrox for the past 30 years, gaining a cult status among the club’s support.

Bell started driving the Rangers team buses to matches across the country, before moving on to his current role as first-team head of kit.

Regarded as a vital member of the Rangers’ set-up, he was there during the successful times such as the nine in a row era and UEFA Cup final run and remained during administration, bottom-tier football and their return to the Scottish Premiership.

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Jimmy Bell was part of Rangers for more than three decades

In a statement, Rangers chairman Douglas Park said: “As a club, we are absolutely devastated to learn of the loss of our colleague and more importantly, our dear friend, Jimmy Bell.

“Jimmy dedicated his life to Rangers Football Club. Having worked under managers from Graeme Souness through to Giovanni, he experienced some of the greatest days in our 150-year history. Of course, he was here during some of the lowest points, and showed selfless dedication, regardless of the challenge ahead of him.

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Former Rangers director and player Gordon Smith pays his tribute to the club’s kit man Jimmy Bell

“Jimmy’s work ethic was second to none. He dedicated countless hours to preparation for each training session and game. No job was too big or too small for him, and he thrived on working for his boyhood club.

“I spoke with Jimmy regularly, having known him from his time as a mechanic and bus driver at Park’s. He was excited for Thursday night’s game at Ibrox, particularly having experienced a European semi-final before under Walter Smith.

“Rangers, and Scottish football as a whole, have lost a legend and a friend today. He was a family man, a devoted father, grandfather and husband. Jimmy will be sorely missed and I send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Bell family at this difficult time on behalf of Rangers Football Club.”

Former manager Steven Gerrard once joked that Bell was “the boss” when it came to selecting what kit the team would wear for a game, while current boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst called him a “wonderful person” when they were reunited 20 years after the Dutchman stopped playing for the club.

Jermain Defoe mentioned Bell in his farewell message to Rangers on Sky Sports News, highlighting him as a “funny character”.

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