FOUR sports fanatics from Prestwick have launched a fundraising campaign to have one of the town’s most famous sons officially recognised.

Friends Bill Baillie, Alan Haggo, Gordon McKenzie and Tam Cairns want to have a statue or tribute erected in memory of former Ayr United and Rangers legend Johnny Hubbard.

Ayr Advertiser:

At the time of writing £585 of the £5,000 target had been raised through Crowdfunding.

The South African-born icon, nicknamed the Penalty King, was a sports allrounder and also captained and coached at Prestwick Cricket Club as well as being involved in football coaching in schools and across the community and coaching at Prestwick Tennis Club.

Johnny also watched his beloved Prestwick Cricket Club in action late in his life at the Henry Thow Oval.

He was the first African player to compete in the European Cup, having played in October 1956 with Rangers v Nice and also the first African player to score a goal in the competition.

Hubbard became one of the few players to score a hat-trick in an Old Firm match on January 1, 1955 - the only foreign player in Rangers history to do so.

He was nicknamed the “Penalty King” by Rangers fans, due to his exceptional record of 65 goals scored from 68 penalty kicks , 22 consecutively.

Bill said: “I remember being coached at football by Johnny who ran successful fives sessions at the Dam Park. My son Jonny, who is coaching at Girvan, also took part in classes with Johnny. Tam also had some coaching from him.

Ayr Advertiser: JOHNNY HUBBARD, RANGERS FC..1956...

“He was Allan Haggo’s teammate at Prestwick Cricket Club. Gordon is a former Provost and also has a strong interest in sport. Johnny’s contribution to children and sportin Ayrshire is immeasurable.

“We are a small group of people who personally knew the man and felt it would be fitting to recognise the contributions made by Johnny by providing a memorial in Prestwick to show the appreciation of the local community for all the hard work done by Johnny for the region.

“Johnny was such a nice guy and everyone in the area knew him. It would be good if was either a statue or plaque of some kind. He was a great player at Ayr United and Sir Alex Ferguson, one of his teammates said one of the goals he scored for Ayr was the best he he had ever seen, which was a huge compliment.”

Johnny, who died in June 2018 aged 87 played for Glasgow Rangers and Bury, in England before ending his career back in Scotland with Ayr United where he retired, staying in Prestwick.