NO Scottish sports journalist needs an excuse to get one legend talking about another such footballing deity.

However, when the calendar tells you March 4, 2016 is the 65th birthday of one Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish MBE, Scotland’s most decorated and greatest-ever player, it would be a derelict of duty not to ask his oldest friend, Danny McGrain, to look back and pay tribute to the life of The King.

Sometimes this job is a joy and listening to McGrain reminisce about his pal, who he has known for 50 years now, brought back memories which could bring a tear to the eye. Those of us fortunate enough to have seen him in the flesh feel the same way as our fellow lottery winners who were ringside when Muhammad Ali threw a punch.

Let's start at the beginning.

“A couple of summers after we had both signed for Celtic, so this is 1968, Kenny came over to my house to stay for a couple of days,” recalled McGrain who is still a coach at Celtic. “Every day for an hour at least we would go up to one of the red blaes pitches in Drumchapel, it’s where the Donald Dewar centre is now, and we would kick a ball at each other.

“He would talk about what kind of pass he wanted if some defender was up his backside, I would tell him where I wanted him if I had the ball in a certain position so I could find him. It was pretty relaxed but we passed knowledge to each other. If Kenny wanted the ball on his right, then I would play a certain pass.

"That is where we really struck up a relationship and got to know each other as footballers. We worked on all sorts of things. We didn’t have to do it, we just wanted to.

"We knew each other’s game so well and that’s why it clicked on the park. Although Kenny was an easy guy to play with because he was so brilliant."

There was never any doubt both would make it. Celtic were shrewd enough to recognise this and made sure they made it at the same club.

“The first time I saw him? I would have been 16, Kenny 15, and it was the Scottish School trials at Haggs Castle in Glasgow," recalled McGrain. "We would play one game, maybe even 30 minutes or so, then we’d come off. When my game finished, on came this wee guy with red cheeks. It was Kenny. He was alright even then!"

And soon the two were together again at Celtic as part of the group which became known as the Quality Street Gang.

McGrain said “In those days Kenny played in the centre of midfield. I thought he was the next Bobby Murdoch. It shows how much I know. Ach, but he was something else.”

He certainly was. To watch Dalglish was a joy, whether with Celtic, Liverpool or Scotland. He made a record 102 appearances for his country, scoring 30 goals, equal with his hero Denis Law. Dalglish was far better for his country that some have suggested.

Indeed, it is my opinion that the Glaswegian is the greatest British player of all time. McGrain agrees and who is anyone to say Danny McGrain is wrong about anything.

He said: “Kenny always had incredible initiative. If play went a certain way then in a flash he would realise where he should be. He would see things happen before they did. I learned from him and I was the older one.

“At 17 or 18 he had this incredible ability to get on the pass and how to get off a pass. He always seemed to have five options open to him so he was never caught. I copied that. My thinking was that if you gave yourself so many options and couldn’t take on then you weren’t much if a player.

“Kenny was great at getting into the right position. I knew where he would be when I got the ball and he knew where I was going to put the ball. It was never the case of me passing into space; I knew Kenny would be there.”

Graeme Souness once claimed that in the early 1980’s that Dalglish was the best footballer in the world. “I would absolutely agree with that,” said McGrain. “He had everything. Kenny Dalglish was a world class footballer. Larsson, Cruyff, Best, Maradona. Kenny is absolutely in that company."

McGrain turned 65 last year, Dalglish is now of a similar vintage,so it was too tempting to ask him where the time goes.

“It goes but at least we know where it went and we had some great times and created wonderful memories.”

And for that, we can thank these two pensioners from the bottom if our hearts. Happy birthday The King. Here's to many more.