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Fifty Years Ago - Barcelona Bound


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The Bully Wee, Dens and, the Hi-Bees in the Cup.

 

Rangers had just blown the froth from their Bavarian beers and, found themselves waiting in the traps at Shawfield. Under starter's orders, the Hare rail sang whilst, Rangers grasped for the blinkers. Clyde piled in and piled on, the only saving grace was a wayward swan from the river interrupting the Clyde flow. Her Majesty's bird was flapping, Her Majesty's eleven were flapping more. The Rangers supporters in the 10,000 attendance were preying for half time when, Clyde's Miller found the net. The Girvan Lighthouse could not get down quickly enough to parry the low drive.

 

Leading 1-0 at the break, Clyde remained unchanged - McCulloch, Anderson, McHugh, Houston, McVie, Burns, McGrain, Miller, Flanagan, Hulston and, Sullivan. Rangers fielded - McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, Jackson, Smith, McLean, Parlane, D Johnstone, Conn and, Johnstone. Rangers subbed Fyfe for Conn at the beginning of the second period. It worked, Johan slipped Bud in on the 50th minute mark for the equaliser. Despite the constant probing balls from Dominic Sullivan(would go on to both Aberdeen and ra Sellik), a stuffy Rangers held out, knowing a far sterner test awaited at Dens Park in just two days time.

 

As discussed before on this thread, the Dundee side of the early 70s was a real footballing team. On the Monday evening all the ball players took the field. Dundee - Hewitt, R Wilson, Johnston, Stewart, Phillip, Houston, Duncan, Ford, I Scott, J Scott and, Lambie. Rangers - McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, Jackson, Smith, Henderson, McLean, Stein, Parlane and, A MacDonald. A crowd barely in excess of 12,000 trapped and, speculation hovered between it being a Monday evening and Rangers supporters preferring to hold their cash for the Scottish Cup semi-final on Saturday coming, against Hibs. I did not attend and reports of the match all agree, Rangers did not tun up either.

 

Half time was nil-nil and, the Dees Gaffer, former Rangers Manager, Davie White instructed his side to move and pass quicker, knowing the toll Rangers had paid in Munich. Within fifteen minutes, Dundee strolled through the Rangers lines twice to notch through I Scott and Stewart. The game finished two nil to the dark blues and, Rangers supporters were convinced the Captain was playing with an injury and Wullie Henderson was finished. Still, it was five days until Hibs at Hampden and, the real Rangers would be revealed?

 

It was a most busy weekend. It began on the Friday as the IRA detonated twenty bombs in under two hours in Belfast, murdering nine folks. Apollo 16 launched from Cape Kennedy, intending to land a further two Astronauts on the moon and allow them three days to patrol in the moon buggy. It is a little known fact that NASA unveiled a plaque thanking both Anthony Stokes and Johnny Hayes for their contributions to the Space programme. Apollo 16 trial landed on Stokes face and the moon buggy was extensively trialed upon Hayes visog. The detonations at the National Stadium paled in comparison. 

 

I joined 76,000 souls at Hampden. I was intent upon supporting my team but, knew Eddie Turnbull's Hibs were easy on the eye. Hibernian - Herriot, Brownlie, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Blackley, Edwards, O'Rourke, Baker, Gordon and, Duncan. Rangers - McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, Jackson, Smith, McLean, D Johnstone, Stein, MacDonald and, Johnston. The Hibs midfield three were the perfect blend, Edwards could ping the diagonals, O'Rourke slid inch perfect weighted balls and, Pat Stanton's hard box to box running provided and created all the angles. John Greig felt the effects, hobbling off after 25 minutes. Would he be fit for Bayern's visit to Ibrox?

 

Jim Denny came on for the Skipper and, DJ's late runs into the box knowing Dave Smith would find him; saw Rangers gather first half momentum. The reward came late, Doddy ghosting in at the back post to prod into the net on the 41st minute. The half time terrace gossip centred on the relentless fixtures and a growing injury list. European progress came at a price but failure to put away Scottish Cup opponents had already ensured three replays. Turnbull sent the Hi-Bees out in the second period to play further up the pitch with increased energy. Jimmy O'Rourke slotted the equaliser after just three minutes. We hung on for a further 42 minutes, ensuring another replay.

 

Walking down the Polmadie Road after the semi-final, we found our ra Sellik had won at Methil to secure their seventh successive League Championship Bayern Munich were up next at Ibrox and they had just skelped Werder Bremen 6-2, Muller scoring a hat-trick. The Stadium was all ticket for the visitation of the Bavarians, 80,000 had been sold. The game was also live on the TV, kicking-off at 19.30hrs. Sellik claimed to have moved 70,000 tickets for the visit of Inter Milan, beginning at 20.00hrs. TV coverage of the Sellik game would only occur if the Rangers game did not proceed to extra-time. Two massive matches in the same city on the same night; 150,000 fans guaranteed and the Glasgow Polis did not blink. How times have changed?

Edited by 26th of foot
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  • 2 weeks later...

Singing Sandy in Royal Blue and Whistling Dixie.

 

 

Of course, the 1967 European Cup Winners Cup Final defeat by Bayern Munich in Nuremberg remained in the minds of both Rangers players and supporters. The one nil loss in extra time allowed Celtic's Lisbon triumph unrivalled centre stage, stealing a bit of the limelight is an important factor in Old Firm rivalry. Whereas half-a-dozen Rangers players in the current squad had taken the field in Nuremberg, mostly all had faced the Germans the season previously in the Fairs Cup. A similar unsatisfactory result had occurred at Ibrox because of a non demonstrative Swiss Referee. As the game moved into the last ten minutes, Herr Kamber awarded a free kick and kept his arm down. The 80,000 crowd were relaxed, it was NOT direct. Gerd Muller shot for goal and the ball hit the net without touching another player. Mania transpired when Kamber awarded the goal that knocked Rangers out.

 

Rangers took to coastal Ayrshire to harbour their grievances, Largs was a safe haven. Interestingly, Celtic were preparing for their European Cup semi-final second leg against Inter Milan seven miles further down the coast at Seamill. Fitness worries dominated, the Club Doctor and Physio were working overtime with Jardine, McLean, Stein, Johnston and, MacDonald.  Skipper John Greig was the main concern and most supporters thought his replacement was a toss up between Jim Denny and Alfie Conn? A similar decision lay with what TV channel you chose for live coverage of the games? STV were covering the entire Ibrox experience live and, BBC Scotland announced they would provide live coverage of the last thirty minutes at Parkhead. Staggered kick-offs allowed for this arrangement, Rangers would start at 7.30pm the east of the city had to wait until 8.00pm.

 

The Scottish press were quite confident of Celtic's progress, Rangers could reach their third European Cup Winners Cup final maybe on a technicality? Remember, this was the first year of away goals counting as double in Euro football. Rangers had already benefitted from the rule, going through against Sporting Lisbon because they had scored three away goals in a 6-6 tie aggregate. The Sunday Journos had sparked the debate, suggesting Rangers could progress with a nil-nil at Ibrox because they had notched the away goal in Munich in the 1-1 first leg. Rules are rules, progressing on away goals is not ignoble. I suspect there was considerable fear among some of the fourth estate, defeating a collection of world class players was to be deemed, 'a technicality'?

 

Rangers manager, Wullie Waddell was intent upon a clean cut victory, prematch he stated, "we will not spoil the spectacle". He waited until ninety minutes before Kick-off to tell the players the team. Captain John Greig had lost his fight for fitness, his replacement was neither Denny or Conn. A nineteen year old Derek Parlane got the nod, he was a hard running, driving inside forward with a nose for goal. As the teams emerged in front of 85,000 Rangers side included two teenagers, DJ was still only eighteen. Rangers - McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Parlane, Jackson, Smith, McLean, D Johnstone, Stein, MacDonald and, Johnston. Bayern Munich - Maier, Hansen, Breitner, Schwarzenbauer, Beckenbauer, Roth, Schneider, Zobel, Muller, Hoeness and, Koppenhoffer.

 

The 'Technicality debate' was rendered useless after the first minute. A poor pass by Beckenbauer was intercepted by DJ, he passed out right to Jardine. Sandy carried the ball along the touchline for twenty yards, was shown the inside and he took the path of least resistance. Several yards short of the corner of the eighteen box he unleashed a wicked, swerving left foot 25 yarder. Maier appeared to allow the ball past, ushering it by the post? It found the net at the far post and the Stadium erupted in sequence. The uncovered West terrace cheered and danced, a Mexican wave of similar activity quickly ran down both sides of the ground, the Main Stand and Derry carried the good news to the Copland. I was in section G of the Stand and the debate rages as to whether it was a shot or a cross? TV viewers knew it was a deliberate strike.

 

Rangers were all over the Bavarians like the proverbial rash, a Tommy McLean cross was met be an unchallenged Colin, Colin Stein. His fifth minute header came off the bar and bounced first outside the box, those old square wooden goal posts were true. A corner in the 23rd minute saw Bud curl an out swinger, a waiting Parlane on the eighteen yard line stepped forward a couple of paces and caught the dipping ball on the half volley. It rifled into the roof of the net. We were two-zip up and the game at Parkhead had not kicked off. Bomber Jackson and DJ marshalled Muller and Hoeness, whereas Parlane shackled Roth, leaving Dave Smith to show the Kaiser how to play the Libero role. Rangers were calm and assured, the Bayern players were clearly having a barney, lots of shouting and gesticulating.

 

The second period began with a fright, Hoeness got across DJ and his shot was finger tipped on to the far post by a stretched McCloy. The West German Boss, Helmut Schoen watched from the stand as the nucleus of his team fragmented on the pitch. Colin Stein remembered getting close to Beckenbauer in the last twenty minutes and deciding to leave one on him. The Kaiser grabbed his calf, swore in English at the Lone Ranger before, collapsing to writhe around on the Ibrox turf. The Derry belted out, Barcelona here we come' and, 'Sandy in Royal Blue'. Tommy McLean recalled asking Paul Breitner as he was being subbed, "where's your mentality, where's your efficiency"? Breitner was a member of the West German Communist Party and probably thought his answer should be first referred to the relevant committee.

 

The relevant committee inside my Old Man's car did not include the backseat duo of myself and school mate. My Grandfather argued from the passenger seat that a stop off at a pub to watch the extra time about to begin at Celtic Park was answered, "those two have school day tomorrow". The Kingston Bridge had just been constructed, the M8 Motorway ran as far east as Stepps Road, Cranhill. The M74 began at Calderpark Zoo. A big game night at Ibrox in those days was at least a one hour drive back to deepest, darkest Lanarkshire. There were 70,000 attending Parkhead thus, my Old Man took the Rutherglen - Cambuslang - Blantyre route before crossing the Clyde at Blantyre/Uddingston. I tell you this because Father decided to stop at the Fry Fare Chippy on Main Street, Uddingston. It was 10.20pm.

 

The Fry Fare was owned by two Italian brothers who worked every day with each other but, did not speak. There was a dozen strong queue, orders given and we all stared half right and up at the old TV sitting on a plank, high above the frier. Extra time was just finishing at Celtic Park and the game and tie remained nil-nil. My Old Man and Grandfather joined us, another couple of dozen too as a train had come in. The penalties began, the Russo brothers continued to fry and wrap but kept their eyes on the telly. All five Inter players had scored, four Celtic players had found the net. The last player to step up was Dixie Deans. 

 

The Deans family were a large Bluenose clan from Carmyle. Dixie was a prolific goal scorer who waited on the call from Ibrox. Jock Stein did what he so often did, he signed Dixie from Motherwell for £40,000. Just like Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell, Danny McGrain, Dalglish, ...... another Bluenose improved his standard of life by signing for the man from Burnbank. Dixie spotted the ball, stepped back a few paces and, ran at the ball. His connection seemed strange, almost leaning back and, the result most pleasing to three dozen souls on Uddingston Main Street. Dixie skied the ball, it fell on to the surrounding oval red track, fully thirty-five yards behind the goal. If the Inter players were celebrating, we would not know. Several dozen more spilled out the three pubs surrounding Uddingston Cross and, several minutes of celebrating finished with a rendition of whistling Dixie.

 

Five short years and a symmetry had been achieved, Inter Milan had exacted revenge for their 1-2 loss in Lisbon, Rangers had demolished Bayern Munich putting to bed big Roger Hynd's horrendous open goal miss in Nuremberg. Barcelona awaited and as I picked at cold chips I did not know, did not care who we were to face in the final. Of course, looking back I feel sorry for the personal grief Dixie had to face but am comforted knowing in the dozen old firm games he played for the green'n'grey, he NEVER notched against Rangers.

 

On the Friday evening following, my Grandfather attended evening meal and pointed out that Moscow Dynamo were the the Soviet Union's KGB (State Security Police) football team and Spain was in it's 33rd year as a Fascist dictatorship. Rangers would be an unwelcome filling in that particular sandwich. I pestered Dad, "are we going"?

 

 

 

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No Rest for the Wicked - Four Games in Ten Days.

 

I loved the band, Free - Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Andy Fraser and, Paul Kossoff rang my bell. The album, Fire and Water was on the turntable daily. They were greater than the sum of their parts and those parts were special. Kossoff's tone, Fraser's bass lines, Kirke's simple metronomic drumming and, all topped with Rodgers giveitsumasoul delivery. By April'72, they had split and I had not seen them live. Rodgers formed a power trio named, 'Peace' and they were providing support for Mott the Hoople at Greens Playhouse. I bought a ticket.

 

It was a busy Saturday; schools football, Broomfield for the Rangers game then, an anxious bus journey to see the support act. Broomfield was an atmospheric ground, a two storey shoebox stand, a terrace called Section B and, Airdrie Sheriff Court appropriately sat adjacent. The Diamonds had a good side, they had reached the final of the Texaco Cup knocking out Ballymena, Manchester City and, Huddersfield Town. Brian Clough's Derby County waited as the final hurdle. An attendance of 12,000 was a real crush. We had defeated Bayern but facing Airdrionians, that was a real fight.

 

Airdrie lined up : McKenzie, Caldwell, Clarke, Menzies, McKinlay, Whiteford, Wilson, Walker, Busby, Jarvie and, Cowan. Rangers ran out - McCloy, Denny, Miller, Conn, Jackson, Smith, Henderson, Penman, Fyfe, D Johnstone and A MacDonald. Obviously, the Diamonds had their minds on their visit to the Baseball ground because the fight and the game was over in under thirty minutes. There was a lot of football in that Rangers side, Andy Penman notched a double on the 16th and 29th minutes. Graham Fyfe got the second goal on the 27th minute. A 0-3 scoreline at both half-time and full time was a welcome surprise. The Mott gig had been cancelled, Ian Hunter had lost his voice, it was rescheduled for Saturday 29th April.

 

Two days later, Hampden and the Hibees awaited. The Scottish Cup semi-final replay did not appear to be an arduous task, we had knocked Hibs out of the National trophy on each of the three previous seasons. However, as stated before Eddie Turnbull's Hibernian was different, a tactical astute team. Fifty-eight thousand trapped under the lights and watched Rangers come out of the tunnel - McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Parlane, Jackson, Smith, McLean, D Johnstone, Stein, MacDonald and, Johnston. Hibs - Herriot, Brownlie, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Blackley, Edwards, Hazel, Gordon, O'Rourke and, Duncan. This was our third game in six days.

 

I stood in the Schoolboy Enclosure and knew when Pat Stanton scored with the aid of a wicked deflection off Bomber Jackson's thigh in the 12th minute, we were not coming back. The men from Leith had an excellent midfield trio, Skipper Stanton was box to box, O'Rourke had an eye for a pass and regularly executed with perfect weight and, Edwards was superb in hitting long diagonals. It was the latter who continually turned us, finding the pacy Duncan. We looked leggy heading off at the end of the first period. Hibs were relentless in the second and received their reward with a headed Hazel goal midway through the half. It finished 0-2 but it could have, probably should have been more?

 

We had no time to lick Scottish Cup wounds, the Pars were visiting Ibrox three nights later, on a Thursday evening. A week before 85,000 squeezed into the Stadium for the ECWC semi-final, Dunfermline were confronted with 5,000. Rangers - McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Conn, Jackson, Smith, Henderson, D Johnstone, Stein, Johnston and, A MacDonald. Dunfermline Athletic - Arrol, Callaghan, Lunn, Fraser, McNichol, Leishman, K Thomson, Mitchell, Mackie, Scott and, Gillespie. Interestingly, the Pars Ken Mackie was the subject of a £50,000 bid from Rangers and this was accepted; however, the player decided to remain at East End Park.

 

I was not in attendance, I had to rely upon a mate's younger brother who was an Ibrox Ballboy for a team sheet and a thirty second report of the game. The Fifers opened the scoring on the 9th minute, we equalised and went ahead with a Doddie double on both the 12th and 13th minutes. Thomson drew the Pars level five minutes later then, Sandy Jardine scored an own goal on the stroke of half-time. Colin Stein achieved parity on the hour mark and, Jim Leishman scored a screamer with several minutes left to play. We had been gubbed 3-4 by the Pars and had to face Hibs again at the Stadium in two days time.

 

The Tannochside RSC bus left the Miners' welfare with barely two dozen souls. Only a dozen tickets of the Sweep had been sold and it was withdrawn. The attendance was given as 12,000, a shade optimistic? Rangers - McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Penman, Jackson, Smith, McLean, D Johnstone, Stein, MacDonald and, Johnston. Hibernian - Herriot, Brownlie, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Blackley, Auld, Hazel, Gordon, O'Rourke and, McGhee. The first forty-five reeked of end of season, the latter half sparked into life when Jackson bundled over Gordon in the box, the Ref' awarded a spot kick and, Jimmy O'Rourke stroked it home. Fifteen minutes later, DJ headed an equaliser which lasted a couple of minutes before Bertie Auld struck the winner on the 72nd minute. A 1-2 loss brought a few Boos and a few howls of disgust, the driver of an Invalid car was beside himself, stopped at the gate leaning on his horn.

 

The rescheduled gig was a further disaster, Peace were off the Mott tour because Free were reforming. The support act replacements were the Dream Police. Hamish Stewart of the future Average White Band was the vocalist but it was not music, sweet music, not the Queen of my soul. We had one League game left against Ayr United and, then three weeks hence it was Moscow Dynamo in the ECWC final in Barcelona. Dave Smith had been named as Player of the Year but Skipper, John Greig remained in light plaster. All right now?

 

 

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Good report on these times where I remember sitting on the terracing one Wednesday night when the attendance was so low.

 

To the support nowadays consisting of many older who were probably there it will be a memory hopefully never to be repeated.

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