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David Hagen's quiet battle leaves him forever at his Rangers peak in our memories - Gary Ralston - Gary Ralston

A father told his son to head to London because the streets were paved with bank notes and gold.

Following his old man’s advice, the kid arrived in the Big Smoke on a Sunday night – and immediately spotted £50 lying in the gutter.

As he watched it blow away into the distance, the youngster told himself, ‘Ach, I’ll start in the morning.’

Seize the day, dear readers, for we all never know what lies around the corner.

The phone call on Friday night to break the news of the death of David Hagen at the age of just 47 arrived like a brick through the window.

We all knew he had been ill from MND and, big Hagey being big Hagey, he spent the last two years dealing with this wretched illness in dignified privacy, with support from his very closest family and friends.

Yours truly is glad about that because it allows those of us who shared a chapter of his life to remember him at his absolute peak.

David Hagen's quiet battle leaves him forever at his Rangers peak in our memories - Gary Ralston - Gary Ralston science 第1张 (Image: EMPICS Sport)

In these eyes he will forever be 21 and a big, handsome so-and-so with a gentle personality in stark contrast to the power he showed along the attacking line for Rangers.

One Ibrox teen posted a pic on Instagram last week of his new Mercedes during a summer in which Steven Gerrard has warned of his unwillingness to work with youngsters with an ego.

From memory Hagey, who was good enough to muscle his way into a team of Nine In A Row stars in the early 90s, drove a 10-year old Ford Orion.

In fact, it was probably its lack of reliability that forged our friendship as we both made our way in our respective careers.

He would hang out at the offices of the Rangers News after training because he knew our photographer, Michael, and news editor, Eric, were always good for a lift back to Falkirk.

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He was genuine, kind and charming and if he lacked the ruthlessness to make it at the very top level with
the Light Blues over a prolonged period then let that stand as an endorsement of his personality, rather than a criticism.

We even swapped jobs for a day for a feature – hanging around the office so often, Hagey was always good for a decent write up – and, sharp as a tack, he made a better reporter than I did a player.

This was the era of young players such as Hagey, Lee Robertson, Neil Murray and Steven Pressley – initially nicknamed Mr Logic by, I think, Ian Durrant because his terrible pudding bowl haircut put us all in mind of the character from Viz.

The fields of dreams in those days weren’t at Ibrox or Parkhead but Reserve League West venues such as Linlithgow and Shotts, where John McGregor and Billy Kirkwood spent half the time coaching and the other half herding cats.

David Hagen's quiet battle leaves him forever at his Rangers peak in our memories - Gary Ralston - Gary Ralston science 第6张David Hagen, in action for Rangers against Partick Thistle, has been diagnosed with MND (Image: Daily Record)

Life moves on and if Hagey never became a first team regular at Ibrox he still played 16 more games for the club than even the most diehard fan.

He also featured for Hearts, Livingston, Clyde and Peterhead, as well as his hometown club, with Alex Totten among the first to call on Saturday morning to share his grief and memories.

Hagey played in the Scottish Cup Final in 1997, the same year he scored the only goal of the game for the Bairns in the Challenge Cup final against Queen of the South.

Alex summed it up best when he said: “Such a lovely laddie, taken by such a cruel disease.”

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The American playwright Arthur Miller once wrote that life was a constant casting off but the stitches of time sometimes drop far too quickly.

Scottish football will froth in the coming days when the result of the arbitration between the SPFL and Hearts and Partick Thistle will be made public.

It will be, as it always has been, a bunch of glorious nonsense.

The real fights in life are often fought quietly, even when you know you’ve no chance of winning.

Rest easy, big man, for you battled valiantly until the very end.

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