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Fifty Years Ago - Barcelona Bound

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  • Frankie changed the title to Fifty Years Ago - Barcelona Bound
38 minutes ago, alexscottislegend said:

Penman, on the other hand, I always thought was under-rated.

All incomers to Rangers suffer by comparison to illustrious predecessors. We were wanting a replacement for Ian McMillan. Neither Penman or Alex Willoughby before him could do that. Let’s face it. Who could?

Penman did very well, though and at Dundee he was consistently excellent in a top team. Perhaps the early sixties Dundee was a better side than the late sixties Rangers?

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The First Steps.


The process of walking before learning to run was most important to Rangers relatively new management team of Willie Waddell and Jock Wallace. Former star player of two decades, Waddell retired from playing and  took up the managerial vacancy at Rugby Park. After seven seasons and three cup final appearances he led Killie to the League championship at Tynecastle on the last day of season'64-65. He retired and became a Journalist for the Scottish Daily Express. He nailed his predecessor, Davie White in the Ibrox hot seat by penning a column entitled, 'the Boy David'. Waddell believed in knowing your opposition and was meticulous in providing his own players with all the facts concerning their opposite numbers on the field.


 Jock Wallace was a Platoon Sergeant and Physical Training Instructor in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. When not in the field, he was on the field as a Keeper. He coached Berwick Rangers to their Scottish Cup victory over their far most famous Glasgow namesakes, then became Hearts Trainer before, joining Waddell as Rangers First Team Coach. Big Jock believed both soldiers and Rangers players should be able to run forever. Group morale was just as important, there were no cliques in a fire trench.


Playing off the cuff was out, you were prepared and in this state you ran and gave your all and, then some for the Rangers. The cantankerous Deedle and gruff senior NCO, Big Jock had enjoyed initial success with the new mindset but, the League Cup victory was being quickly forgotten as the new season lurched from one disappointment to another. When Rangers stepped off the plane in Brittany, the focus among the players was putting some type of run together in the league. Playing Rennes was a welcome interference until Waddell pointed out that the Bretons were lying second in the French championship whilst Rangers had secured nil points from two games.


Goalkeeper, Peter McCloy reflected on Rangers approach in Europe that season, "we played a strict 4-4-2 system, only the front pairing of Stein and Johnston had any freedom". Sandy Jardine offered, "We had been losing silly goals and Waddell kept us on the training field for over an hour the evening before the game. We worked on defending corners, set pieces and Rennes known set plays". The teams lined up in the first leg, 15th September'71 as thus : Rennes - Aubour, Cosnard, Cedolin, Chlosta, Cardiet, Garcia(Rendon), Keruzore, Terrier, Musjov(Periault), Betta and, Lenoir. Rangers - McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, McKinnon, Jackson, McLean, MacDonald, Stein, Penman and, Johnston. Attendance : 20,000.


The game began with Rennes on the front foot, pushing and confining Rangers to their own eighteen yard box for the first 15 minutes. The Bretons had won nine corners but the prior evening's work on the training field was working as all were defended. It took 20 minutes before the combination of Greig and Doddy in midfield allowed Penman to find Stein with a raking pass. Colin was upended on the edge of the penalty area. Penman curled the free kick around the wall, grazing the outside of the post. The stop start nature of the game was suiting Rangers, with the Skipper's determination negating the effect of playmaker, Betta. We went in at half time nil nil.


Jock Wallace demanded more application in the second half, wanted more aggression and adventure. Rangers won a couple of corners and the second was flighted by McLean on the 68th minute. Stein's run was early and he was under the ball, taking two defenders with him. Bud Johnston was lurking at the back stick and prodded the ball home. The players remembered the width of the Rennes pitch, it was comfortable knocking the ball into wide areas, allowing Bud's pace to take the team up the pitch. Being higher up saw Betta slip his marker and take the ball wide right to the byeline, he turned and floated a cross which was met by substitute Redon sliding in at the back post. It was 1-1 in the 78th minute.


The game finished one all and the French side were not happy. Manager, Jean Prouff fumed, "Rangers did not play football here, what they did had nothing to do with football. They came only to defend. They took the spectacle out of the game and the Breton fans feel cheated". Talented midfielder, Raymond Keruzore was frustrated with Greig's constant attention, "there was nothing I could do, he shadowed me everywhere I went". Ouest France Journo, Andre Mausson grumbled, "The Scots achieved their goal in the most unpleasant of means, the whole affair was not very catholic".


On hearing French complaints Willie Waddell was unsympathetic, "it's not the responsibility of Rangers to please Rennes fans". My personal favourite post match quote came from Journo, Roger Glemee, "Rangers were a dirty team and if they had been in the front line during world war two, it would only have lasted a week". Big Jock took that as a major compliment. Generally, the Scots Press praised Rangers display but the Herald niggled with, "Rangers deserve to be complemented despite three bookings. Johnston epitomised this approach by both scoring and receiving a caution".


My old man took two daily newspapers, the Glasgow Herald for news and correspondence and the Scottish Daily Express(then a broadsheet written and printed in Albion Street, Glasgow) furra fitbaw. John Fairgrieve reported on the Saturday morning after the match, Jean Prouff has received letters from Celtic supporters encouraging his team to continue playing football the right way and he has confidently stated, "the result is not important to us, it is the way we play and the correct way is by attacking. I will not lose my job if we get beat". Fairgrieve also reported in his rumour mill that he had heard Wullie Henderson had ended his feud with the Rangers management team and was back training.


Saturday the 18th September'72, Rangers were due to play Falkirk at Brockville.



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Leaving Ibrox yesterday after drawing 1-1 with Motherwell, considerable angst was being expressed. I thought our falling out the game in the last thirty minutes was in part due to a Euro-hangover. Lyon had the majority of the possession on Thursday and the legs were wearying in the latter stages against the claret and amber. 


Fifty years past, the ECWC away draw in Rennes inspired the team. An away league game at Brockville was tricky in the early 70s. The Bairns had a couple of former Rangers in their ranks, Denis Setterington and Elbows Ferguson(better known these days as, 'Sir Awex'). The Gaffer made one change to the team, Tommy McLean dropped out to be replaced by Alfie Conn. 


We started well, Colin Stein scoring on the 7th minute. The attacks continued and a flying Bud was upended in the box, penalty awarded and, duly missed by Johnston. After the hour mark, Falkirk began to pin us back and Bomber Jackson became busy defending numerous crosses from Setterington. Our Skipper grabbed the game, became an inspiration and, finished the match with a late double to secure Rangers first two league points of the season. Ham and Egg notched on the 78th and 82nd minutes.


The attendance was given as 20,000, it felt considerably more? I remember standing at the back of the terrace at the railway end being subjected to considerable wasp attention. The then Falkirk match programme was a perfect swatter. Next up was Jimmy Bonthrone's Dandies at Ibrox and, we would be stung.

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Circling Vultures.


Wandering along Paisley Road West, the talk pre-match was Ronnie McKinnon being out. I believed it was precautionary, the gazelle like centre back was highly mobile and would be needed for the midweek home leg against Rennes. Most of the mates argued he was needed against a strongly performing Aberdeen. Forty-two thousand watched the teams run out and we found out Dave Smith was Ronnie's replacement. The teams were, Rangers : McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, Jackson, Smith, Penman, Conn, Stein and, Johnston. Aberdeen : Geoghegan, Boel, Hermiston, Murray, Young, Buchan, Forrest, Robb, Harper, Willoughby and, Miller.


Former Rangers and cousins, Jim Forrest and Alec Willoughby made little impact but I remember Martin Buchan strolled it, Stevie Murray ran the legs off Alfie Conn, Joey Harper was a pest and, left back Jim Hermiston out wing backed Sandy Jardine. The first circling vulture was spotted at half time. We were one down to a Murray goal and a heated discussion behind me nearly came to punches. The manager must suppress his pride and reinstate Wullie Henderson to the team. Apparently, the bunion effected winger was the only Ranger to be relied upon to carry the ball and, the team up the pitch.


When Harper took the ball into his feet, dropped a shoulder and, swivelled to hit a goal bound strike; the vultures were stacking. Deservedly spanked 0-2 by the Dandies, we had played four league games and had amassed two points. We were fifth bottom of an eighteen team league. The Sunday papers were unforgiving, "Alarming Gaps must be Plugged" screamed the Sunday Mail. Otherwise, we were out of Europe. The Express offered, "Wednesday's Euro tie is a must win to avoid a full blown crisis". Willie Waddell was quoted by his old blat, "there is no crisis". 


Monday's press took a different line, they quoted the visiting French press. A bleak city of tenements and shipyards was the background, the foreground was loud, bellowing Bears, "when lubricated with whisky, Rangers supporters vocal cords are indestructible". The Herald's Ian Archer revealed Rennes boss, Jean Prouff had been the recipient of numerous letters from Sellik supporters wishing his side well when visiting Ibrox. The Bretons were confident and surely Prouff was tempting fate when he said, "The result is not important to us, it is the way we play and the correct way is by attacking. I will not lose my job if we get beat" Maybe, it was a different era?


I have mentioned two Aberdonian players above who would finish the season with contrasting fortunes. Silky Dave Smith would be voted Scotland's Player of the Year and Jim Hermiston left Aberdeen for the security of the Grampian Police. Would the Tams and, 'Hey Girl don't Bother me' make it to number one, would the Education Minister, Margaret Thatcher really withdraw free milk from schools and most importantly, would Rangers defeat Rennes? Answers on Wednesday.

Edited by 26th of foot
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The Return of Wullie.


Margaret Thatcher achieved 'Milk Snatcher' status by decreeing children between the ages of seven and eleven were no longer eligible for their third of a pint of the white stuff after school morning break. Being young, being foolish and, being happy did not require a daily calcium injection. Talking of the Tams, the Atlanta four-piece harmony group took their name from their constant headwear, the Tam O'Shanter. Who knew Atlanta was in Ershur as 'Hey Girl don't Bother me' became Number One?


The Rangers News middle double page spread declared, "One is Enough". Willie Waddell was utilising the new publication to manage fans' expectations. We were reminded of then recent forays in Europe had crumbled on fans demands for constant all out attack. Gornik Zabrze had epitomised the smart game a couple of years before. The Silesians had arrived at Ibrox after a home 3-1 victory and conceded early to a Jim Baxter goal. If Rangers had notched a second without conceding, they went through on away goals. Sixty thousand Bears demanded blood and thunder, Gornik grabbed three breakaway goals including a wonder strike from Lubanski. Manager Davie White was sacked after the match.


Truthfully, the attitude and mentality of your average Rangers supporter had not changed. Forty thousand paying customers expected caution to be discarded, get on the front foot and, get steamed in for ninety minutes. As the teams emerged, there was one change from Saturday's 0-2 loss to the Dandies. Wullie Henderson had replaced Andy Penman. The teams were : McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, McKinnon, Jackson, Henderson, Conn, Stein, MacDonald and, Johnston. The Bretons fielded : Aubour, Cosnard, Cardiet, Cedolin, Chlosta, Toublant, Terrier, Garcia, Keruzore, Betta and, Lenoir. An early ball into our box saw a determined Bomber Jackson go through Alfie Conn and Betta to effect a clearance.


Commitment was the name of what transpired as a stop-start game. The crowd was restless with impatience, bugles were being blown but the charges were not happening. Keeping our shape and not allowing space for counter attacks were the focus. Henderson had a point to prove and he fashioned a sitter for Bud Johnston. The Keeper saved and a couple of minutes later dived at the feet of Wullie to keep the score all square. Rangers were in control, then on the half hour mark the heart stopping moment arrived. An intercepted pass and quick release, saw Lenoir in the clear. As Jim Parkinson of the Herald wrote, "he had all the time in the world to score but he wanted even more and the chance was lost".


Those of us that remember Doddie playing, will remember his timing of late runs into the opposition box. Regularly, those runs bore fruit. Henderson stretched the Bretons and played in Johnston again. His shot was parried and MacDonald's run veered to the left to knock in the loose ball. Six minutes before the break but still the cry behind me in the Enclosure remained, "a quick second before half-time". The second never arrived before or after the break, Colin Stein rattled the bar and wee Wullie was denied a stonewaller in the dying minutes as Cosnard sent him flying. In between these two incidents there had been an episode of slow hand clapping.


The game finished 1-0 Rangers and thus a 2-1 aggregate victory for the tie. Sandy Jardine declared, "it was a good one nil victory, we were the better team". The Bretons agreed, Rennes manager, Prouff was magnanimous, " Rangers played so much better tonight, Henderson and Johnston were the stars". The French press praised Wullie Henderson to the highest, Andre Mausson stated, "even if Rennes attack had functioned, what was the answer to Henderson"? A distinct contrast to the Scots fourth estate where Jim Blair at the Evening Times determined, "a lack of style and poise in the Rangers win". Further, he got after Waddell claiming, "modern football is about tactics but Rangers indulged in the big kick and boom-bang-a-bang". 


Returning from Ibrox on the Tannochside RSC bus, two arguments were on going. McCloy kept throwing the ball out to Jardine, he should have been kicking it(or rather BIG kicking it boom-bang-a-bang style). The other was a constant on the merit of Alex MacDonald's character; he was a true Ranger as opposed to a corner boy. One of the Committee was adamant Rangers had won through on away goals, he didn't recognise Doddies contribution. The same clown proposed the bus for Tynecastle on the following Saturday should leave at 11.30hrs. Thus, denying secondary schoolboys playing for the school the opportunity to follow follow.


In terms of Scottish football it was quite a night. Rangers progressed as did Aberdeen, defeating Celta Vigo. St Johnstone won 3-0 against Hamburg and Dundee also progressed against a forgotten Danish outfit. Ra Sellik ran over Copenhagen 3-0, making it five Scots clubs qualifying for the second round of European competition. Many of you will know next up for Rangers in the ECWC was the Sporting Club de Portugal but, first another league crisis had to be tackled. We were marooned.

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The Talk o' the Toon - Tommy Doc'.


Lanarkshire School Sports were well organised. If you had a forty mile trip down the County to play Biggar High School in the Intermediate league, the Rugby Union first fifteen and, Girls' Hockey eleven piled in on the coach. You were rubbing sleep from your eyes boarding the bus, kick-offs were 09.30hrs. A quiet journey ensued until a mate brandished a newspaper with the back page headline - "Doc takes in Tynecastle".  The newly appointed national manager, Tommy Docherty was assessing Hearts and Rangers players for the upcoming game against Portugal. The consensus was Jardine, Cruikshank and, Donald Ford was as far as the Doc would gaze.


A teammate who had already signed a 'S-Form' at Motherwell gave us the bad news-good news routine. His older brother who drove a Tunnocks wagon and regularly took in our games, was not trapping. Obviously, the good folks of Biggar were carmel wafered up? The bad news was no chance of getting to Tynie, the good news was he could get two of us into the Fir Park Boys' Enclosure for the game against Hibs. A free pie too; however, an opportunity to view Turnbull's Tornados was not to be passed. Hibs had Stanton, Cropley, Brownlie and, Blackley in contention for Scotland.


BBC Radio Scotland's coverage of football did not start until 15.30hrs. There was a quick update on scores, then live commentary of the selected match began at twenty to four. Changed days indeed? You had thirty minutes to find someone cradling a radio in the crook of their arm and was not concerned about battery life ie prepared to turn it up loud enough for all to hear. David Francey boomed, "welcome to Tynecastle, you join me and thirty thousand others enjoying a glorious day in the Capital". 


The teams were, Hearts : Cruikshank, Sneddon, Kay, Brown, Anderson, Thomson, Townsend, Murray, Ford, Wnchester and, Lynch.  Rangers : McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, McKinnon, Jackson, Henderson, McLean, Stein, MacDonald and, Johnston. After Francey's greetings, we were straight back for a goal at Tynecastle, Tommy Murray had notched for the Boys in Maroon. The half time report was all Hearts, we were barely up the park. 'Well and Hibs were at it hammer and tongs with the game going into the last few minutes tied at 1-1. We craned in to hear a fading commentary and were told Billy Brown had added a second for Hearts.


A consoling bag of chips was necessary and the chippy had a TV above the till. Whilst waiting the classifieds told us Bud Johnston had pulled back a last minute consolation. There was no forgiveness, courtesy of East Fife we were second bottom of an eighteen team league. The Daily Express had the then doyen of Scottish football reporters, John McKenzie. He savaged the club, "The most pathetic performance that I can ever remember. This was the most lifeless, the most stereotypical, unimaginative team I can recall in Rangers colours. Rangers and Willie Waddell have reached a crossroads". There were no radio phone-ins in those days but, the Express opened, 'a Rangers crisis call line'.


There's a familiar theme in the given suggestions, "too much emphasis on physical fitness", "deplorable tactics" and, "a non existent youth policy". The then players were castigated and the Board were urged to sign Drew Jarvie from Airdrie, Jim Steele from Dundee and, Donald Ford from Hearts. The Potuguese paper, a Bola sent a reporter to the game too, he stated, "everything runs, the players, the ball and, the brain. Further, the Portuguese blat wondered aloud about Tommy Docherty? It was pointed out his 15 month spell managing Porto had been no threat to Benfica and Sporting.


The next game would decide whether we went into the Sporting tie as bottom club. We had to draw with or defeat East Fife at Ibrox to at least remain second from last?

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