17 March 2013

Rangers in Newsreel

by Gary Havlin | Contributor

A sleepless night last night saw me trawling the World Wide Web in search of inspiration for my next blog when I ended up on the website of the British Pathe Archive. It describes itself as 'The worlds leading multimedia resource with a history stretching back over a century.' Typing Rangers into its search bar and seeing the results certainly backs up its claim!

With archive newsreels dating back to the 1890's, there's certainly no shortage of Rangers footage from the 1920's onwards. Cup Finals, Semi-Finals, matches v English and European opponents, training clips, a couple of visits to Ibrox by King George VI. Even a Boys' Brigade National Convention at Ibrox is there in grainy black and white. The footage of Ibrox before the current Main Stand was built makes for great viewing, which was backed up by Rangers fans who viewed it on the @RangersFACTS twitter feed. For that reason, I've decided to compile the clips I enjoyed the most and list them here, along with some detail on the occasion where possible.

I hope you enjoy the short clips from www.britishpathe.com and the Cholmendley-Warner style commentary that accompanies some of them!

Scottish League Select v English League Select - 18th March 1922 - Ibrox Park

The footage of the Archibald Leitch designed Old South Stand and the Old Pavilion is the best I've seen. If you watch the video to the end you'll be rewarded with a fantastic panorama from the Broomloan Road end of the ground. The match itself saw the English League run out 3-0 winners, although there are no goals shown in the clip. There were 5 Rangers players in the Scottish League select. Thomas Muirhead, Alex Archibald, Andrew Cunningham, Thomas Cairns and the Wee Blue Devil himself, Alan Morton.

Rangers in Training, 1946, along with a select few others

This clip is from the period after the war when football league was about to resume in 1946. It shows Rangers players Laurie Shaw, Willie Waddell ( or Wa-Dell!), McCaskie and goalkeeper Bobby Brown in action. Bobby Brown, who turned 90 last week, had a tremendous career for Rangers and was the manager of Scotland when the Wembley Wizards weaved their magic in 1967. You can read about Bobby Brown elsewhere in this blog page. It also shows a bomb-scarred Old Trafford with Man Utd being put through their paces by Matt Busby and an old Hampden Park with Queens Park doing some drills. Also shown are Arsenal, Spurs and Birmingham.

Rangers v Motherwell, 8th March 1952, Scottish Cup Quarter Final

Played in front of 82,000 fans at Ibrox, this match ended in a 1-1 draw. The footage in this clip is mainly of Rangers legends in action which many Rangers fans would have been too young to have seen pull on the blue jersey. There's Willie Waddell on the wing, Willie Thornton scoring a goal and Bobby Brown in action. The pitch is like a 'tattie field' and the tackles flying, especially on the goalkeeper are meaty to say the least. You'll enjoy the commentary of this one!

Rangers v Clyde, Scottish Cup Final 1949

120,000 fans saw a 4-1 Rangers victory to win the Scottish Cup in April 1949. 2 penalties from the great George Young and goals from Williamson and Duncanson. This footage shows all the goals, including the two penalties from Young which he seems to take in slow motion with little run up! This was the second Scottish Cup win on the bounce, having beaten Morton the previous year. A treble year as well, unusually the treble wasn't completed at Hampden, but a week later at Coatbridge in a 4-1 victory v Albion Rovers. This was the first 'Triple Crown' won in Scotland, now known as the treble!

1966 Scottish Cup Final Replay v Celtic

No highlights reel would be complete without a win v Celtic. The 1966 Scottish Cup Final was Rangers 19th win in the competition, and a special one for Danish defender Kai Johansen. His winning goal, a 70 th minute 25 yard strike made him the first foreign player to score a winning goal in a Scottish Cup Final and the first Scandinavian a Scottish Cup Winners medal. You'll be rewarded if you watch this clip to the end with good footage of the winning goal.

1938 National Boys' Brigade Convention at Ibrox

I'm sure a good few of us are 'Queen's Men', having served our time in the BB. This clip has good views of Ibrox filled with members of the Boys' Brigade, some 45 years the stadium was filled again for the BB Centenary Celebrations in 1983.

Rangers v Dinamo Moscow, November 1945

Soviet giants Dinamo Moscow visited Britain on what turned out to be an unbeaten tour that encompassed fixtures against Rangers, Chelsea, Arsenal and Cardiff City. Their visit to Ibrox at the conclusion of the tour attracted a massive 95,000 crowd for a game that would become part of Rangers folklore.

The Muscovites led 2-0 early on. Willie Waddell missed a penalty and Tory Gillick at one point counted 12 opponents on the field of play, yet Rangers produced a stirring fight back with goals by Jimmy Smith and a George Young penalty for a memorable draw. All major evens of this great game are captured in this clip.

There are countless other clips on the Pathe website, even some in glorious technicolor should you wish to search. The highlights might be patchy and some goals might have been missed, and it's true that in this day and age we are spoiled for our football highlights. What hasn't changed though is the passion for the Rangers, which despite our trials and tribulations of recent times, is still as strong as it was when 95,000 of us packed Ibrox Park for a friendly v Dinamo Moscow.

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