McKinnon and McBride – pictured in action in the 1966 Scottish Cup Final - regularly went head to head in the heat of the Old Firm battle and also when the prolific goal-scorer played for Motherwell before joining Celtic and then when he moved to Hibs.
And the legendary Rangers centre half was saddened to hear of the passing of an old foe, especially as he was someone he respected greatly.
McKinnon is, of course, deeply distressed and concerned about the plight of his club Rangers whom he supported as a boy having grown up in Govan and played for with superb distinction for over a decade between 1960 and 1971 when injury effectively ended his career.
Indeed, there is an unfortunate parallel between the careers of McBride and McKinnon as serious injuries not only cut short their careers with Glasgow’s big two but prevented them from being involved in the finest moment in each club’s history.
McBride scored 35 goals in 24 matches in the first half of the 1966/67 season when he suffered a serious knee injury against Aberdeen on Christmas Eve and did not play again for a year, missing the European Cup Final in Lisbon.
Similarly McKinnon suffered an horrendous leg break against Sporting Lisbon in 1971 which ended his season as Rangers went on to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Barcelona the following May.
But the Rangers Hall of Famer preferred to focus on the positive as he discussed a different era with rangers.co.uk.
He said: “I am very sad to hear about Joe. I had a lot of respect for him and we had many great battles on the park.
“Joe was a fierce competitor and someone who was very difficult to contain.
“He was always buzzing about and you could not give him an inch. He was a very dangerous striker as you can tell from his great strike rate.
“He was always hungry for goals so you had to be on your toes. I was quite lucky that I had decent pace and I needed it if I was going to keep Joe quiet.
“To have a striker like Joe in your team was a real bonus.”
McKinnon and Rangers dominated the first half of the 1960s and then Celtic took over but far from being bitter enemies there was genuine camaraderie.
He said: “Joe and I had great respect for each other and a lot of the players were friendly in these days.
“Bobby Lennox and I got on like a house on fire and I was also very friendly with Bobby Murdoch,
“There were other friendships between the players. When we all got together on Scotland trips for example, it was great and we all got on really well.
“Of course, we were great rivals on the park but good friends off it.”