So it’s pretty funny to think the Celtic full back was once viewed as a symbol of the west’s excesses by communists in Albania – essentially he was the epitome of western decadence because he had a beard.
Celtic had been drawn against Partizani Tirana in the first round of the European Cup in 1979 and under Enver Hoxha, facial hair was banned in the country, along with other ‘evils’ like rock music and Rod Stewart's trousers.
So it was highly possible McGrain would be denied entry to the capital for the first leg. He later claimed he would have shaved his beard off if necessary although there was every chance this could have led to a period of mourning among Celtic fans.
In the end McGrain was allowed to play and captained the club in the 1-0 defeat – at least he would have been easy for TV viewers to spot.
The Hoops battered their opponents 4-1 in the second leg in Glasgow and were eventually knocked out by Real Madrid in the quarter-final, meanwhile, communism remained in Albania until 1990.
Goalkeeper Packie Bonner noted in his autobiography The Last Line the lack of women not just on the streets, but working in shops and hotels in addition to the drab colours people wore.
"When we all went out for a walk one night, Johnny Doyle attracted a crowd of forty to fifty locals as he was strutting around downtown Tirana in a white t-shirt and white shorts," he said adding the country was a fascinating place albeit a strange one.
But back to the beard.
When McGrain was manager of Second Division side Arbroath in 1992, a section of the club’s supporters christened themselves ‘Danny McGrain’s Bearded Army’. They loved his facial fuzz so much they even took to wearing t-shirts and stick-on beards acknowledging what was by now an institution.
This affection was helped considerably by their run to the Scottish Cup quarter-final in 1993.
“The supporters are great and I’ll never forget the Bearded Army,” he told Angus newspaper The Courier in 2011.
“Someone had the idea to stick a beard on and it just caught on from there. Apparently it was an old bear costume he had under his bed somewhere that he cut up. It was crazy but brilliant.”