COLIN STEIN scored one, Willie Johnston two. The deeds and the glories have been immortalised in song at Ibrox as the Barcelona legacy lives on through the generations.

Five decades have elapsed since Stein and Johnston became Rangers legends but the passing of time has not diminished the importance of their achievement or their standing with supporters.

Many of those who chant about the victory over Dynamo Moscow will only have heard second or third hand the legend of the Barcelona Bears. Those heroes of yesteryear will never be forgotten as supporters cherish the finest night in their club’s history.

“I can’t believe it was 50 years ago,” Johnston said of the 3-2 win at the Nou Camp that clinched the European Cup Winners’ Cup. “The memory is not bad! It was a great time, but it was a long, long time ago now.

“Me and Colin Stein are the only two footballers that I know that get serenaded on the subway on a Saturday night or a Sunday night after the game. When the young ones talk to you, they say ‘oh, my grandfather told me about you and told me about Barcelona’.

“A long time has passed since then. That makes me feel old, but not as much as when I try to get out my bed and my legs and ankles are killing me! It was a great time for us all.”

Stein and Johnston would enjoy iconic, historic careers for club and country. When it comes to one game in 1972, their lives are intrinsically linked.

One goal each had Willie Waddell’s side within 45 minutes of European success. When Johnston made it 3-2 just after the break, the Bears were born.

“It is tremendous to be remembered in that way,” Stein said. “We do the hospitality at Ibrox and the respect that we get from the younger players and fans, who have never seen us play and only been told by their fathers or grandfathers, is really warming. It is brilliant.

“We had a lot of personalities in the team. The work ethic in that team was tremendous. We worked for each other and looked after each other.

“Ronnie McKinnon didn’t play and Colin Jackson didn’t play but Alfie Conn came in and Derek Johnstone came in and they just slotted into the team. On our day, we knew we could beat anyone.”

The years have not diminished the sense of pride that Rangers hold when it comes to their most famous team. Thankfully, time has not faded the memories either.

The video footage and pictures from that night remain iconic but the sense of frustration at the celebrations – conducted in the changing area after John Greig was presented with the trophy in a side room – remains for Stein even to this day.

“I can still remember the goal vividly, and Bud’s two goals as well,” Stein said. “The only thing that soured it for me was not getting presented with the cup on the park after the trouble with the Spanish police.

“That was the only downside for me, but the wives and girlfriends and mothers were in the hotel and celebrated with us and that was nice.

“We still enjoyed ourselves, don’t get me wrong. It was still a wonderful achievement for us all, but we wished we could have got the trophy on the park and been able to celebrate there with the supporters.”

Rangers may not have been able to take the acclaim in Spain but that certainly wasn’t the case in the previous round as a great Bayern Munich side were beaten and Ibrox roared.

A 1-1 draw in Germany was followed by a 2-0 victory in the return leg as Sandy Jardine and Derek Parlane netted. That feat would be put into remarkable context over the next few years as the core of that side – including the likes of Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller – went on to conquer Europe and the world.

“Playing for Scotland and winning a European trophy were the highlights of my career,” Johnston said. “They were great moments for me that I am very proud of.

“But I would say that the night that we beat Bayern at Ibrox, when we beat them 2-0, that was the best atmosphere I have ever experienced in a football ground.

“Even with Scotland versus England and going to Wembley, that night beats it. That night at Ibrox was electric. That, for me, was like a final.”

The run to that stage was far from straightforward. Stade Rennais and Torino were both beaten 2-1 on aggregate – with Johnston scoring in both ties – and victory over Sporting Lisbon was only confirmed after Rangers thought they had been beaten on penalties.

It was a squad that had class and commitment in abundance. In the end, those qualities would see them finally add European silverware to Rangers’ illustrious honour roll.

“We had a lot of good players, a lot of great players in fact,” Stein said. “But we weren’t really consistent enough.

“It was always Rangers and Celtic during my time and Celtic were more consistent that Rangers. But Rangers, on their day, could match anybody and beat anybody.

“It wasn’t just the final that was a great performance. We went to Italy, France and Portugal, which was obviously in and out, and got results and I think our fitness was key to that.

“Fitness wise, we were really good. Jock Wallace had us down at Gullane and he got some stick in the paper but there wasn’t a team in Scotland or the world that finished stronger than us.”

Thankfully, many members of the squad are still going strong today. The Bears are regular faces at Ibrox and functions as they continue to represent the club in the right manner.

On May 24, they will all be thinking of each other. Some will be in their thoughts for different reasons as they toast Absent Friends but never to be forgotten team-mates.

“We still keep in touch and we have a couple of nights out,” Johnston said. “Some of the boys are not here and they are the ones you think about.

“We had a big dinner in Glasgow in February and it was brilliant. We all enjoyed that. It is just memories now.

“We try and enjoy it when we catch up, but you are always thinking of when Sandy died, or big Colin Jackson. It could have been me, it could have Steiny, it could have been Greigy.

“You miss those boys and talk about them. We have a couple of drinks and do what old boys do and talk a load of rubbish!

“There are a few that have got good stories to tell. It is nice to meet up and reminisce them all when we get the chance.”