This weekend it's now the turn of Dumbarton FC to have a crack at something no other team has managed in over two years of league football - win all 3 points on home soil against a Rangers side.
It doesn't matter what level the game is played at, world football from time to time does throw up 'shock' results when it comes to David v Golliath. You don't have to go too far back to find examples of this. Just a couple of months ago English third tier side MK Dons humiliated Man Utd 4-0 in a League cup tie. Go back another 18 months and you find struggling Oldham also from the third tier and fighting relegation overcoming a strong Liverpool in the FA Cup winning 3-2 against all the odds.
We only have to look closer to home for more evidence of how a one-off 11 v 11 can spring a surprise when minnows Berwick Rangers dumped us out the Scottish Cup with a famous 1-0 just 4 months before that great Rangers side went on to reach a European final. Yes it did happen.
This current Rangers side deserve plaudits for at least avoiding an upset or two in 36 league games on the road, especially when you consider all these matches were treated like cup-ties by the opposition, a commendable achievement if nothing more and certainly deserves at least a lttle credit.
We'd all like to forget our last league defeat on the road a 0-1 reverse against the then bottom club in Scotland - Stirling Albion on 6TH October 2012 - that result set alarm bells ringing especially after the previous three away league matches had failed to produce a single victory (sorry for reminding y'all fellow Bears, I'll move on now).
So what do we know about Dumbarton FC then? Their nickname is 'The Sons' and we beat them 4-1 earlier in the season. Anything else? Not much, other than we share the honour of winning the first ever Scottish league championship with them back in 1891 and also that they were formed in the same year as Rangers FC meaning we also share the distinction of being Scotland's fourth oldest surviving football club, after Queens Park (1867), Kilmarnock (1869) and Stranraer (1870).
Dumbarton do hold a record or two all to themselves though, again one of them involves Rangers. After sharing that title both teams went head to head the following season and they battered us 6-0, a result that still stands as Rangers heaviest ever league defeat, and so helping them to become the first club to retain the title and become the first club to win it outright into the bargain.
For 121 years The Sons played their home games at a certain Boghead Park, they played there from 1879 until 2000 and it still holds the record of being the oldest stadium in Scotland which had been in continuous use. That was some ground that, even the pitch didn't escape criticism, once being described as the worst in Britain....
In 1957 the club bought the platform roof from Turnberry railway station for use as a terrace cover. That the board chose to let the ground get into a run down state is signified by the fact that when one of the two stands that existed at Boghead Park in the mid-1980s was destroyed by fire, they chose not to replace it, instead leaving the site empty. Then in 1994, the club was ordered to construct a fence in front of toilets in the ground because local residents complained that they could see inside the toilets.
Boghead Park was chosen by Robert Duvall as the supposed home ground of the fictional football team, Kilnockie FC for his film, "A Shot at Glory" starring the multi-talented Ali McGraw (Edit: Sorry it was Ally McCoist)....
Duvall allegedly chose Boghead Park because of its ramshackle nature, but ironically, the filming involved the film crew making improvements to the ground.
At the end of 2000 Dumbarton moved to a custom built brand new £2.1million ground, The Strathclyde Homes Stadium....
The ground's official opening in January of 2001 was very much anticipated as Dick Advocate was bringing his multi-national star-studded Rangers side for just the occasion, tanned, fit and fresh from the winter break taken at their exclusive Florida training camp.
The starting XI - Klos, Ricksen, Porrini, Konterman, Numan, Ferguson, Johnston, Reyna, Mols, Wallace, Albertz.
Hmm, how many of our current crop would make it into that team? No prizes for thinking what I'm thinking.
A sellout crowd watched on as the Ibrox millionaires stormed into a 3-0 lead after just 17 minutes of play with goals from Michael Mols, Allan Johnston and Barry Ferguson, then took the foot off the gas, Turkish international Tugay, Russian winger Andrei Kanchelskis, and Ronald de Boer of the Netherlands were introduced for the second forty-five, de Boer helped himself to three goals for a final score of 6-1.
Ronald de Boer rounds keeper John Wight before slotting home to complete his hat-trick.
Some years later Dumbarton's Graeme Robertson, the long-serving editor of the 'Sons View' match programme recalled a moment from the game concerning the Dutchman...
“He hit a shot that night that cleared the bar, the fence behind the goal, the rough land that sits outside the fence and cleared the rocks that lead down to the River Leven. It is a huge distance and he remains the only player that has put the ball into the water.”
Re-named the Bet Butler Stadium in 2012 it boasts a capacity of 2025, with just the one stand it has plenty of space around the area, which could be used for future expansion, there will no doubt be a lot of disappointed ticketless fans come Saturday, Rangers TV being the best option for those who'll miss out.
The ground nicknamed 'The Rock' by Sons fans, sits spectacularly under the famous Castle Rock, a very picturesque little ground...
Another request from the club saw us send a second XI side there in 2006 for a testimonial match against a fine Dumbarton select, a game we lost 0-1. Our line-up: Robinson; (who'll be warming the bench this time) Campbell, Andrews, Malcolm, McMillan; N'Guessan, Furman, Shinnie, Loy; Davidson, and Ashikodi.
In the following picture Bob Malcolm is moments away from blasting his free kick into the River Clyde.
We as a club have always 'welcomed the chase' this season for a change we now find ourselves doing the chasing as Hearts hit the ground running enabling them to open up a gap at the top, the Edinburgh club will drop points again at some stage and Rangers really just need to keep on winning and be ready to take advantage of it meaning 3 points is all that matters against Dumbarton this Saturday.
Stubburn Dumbarton, who sit in 7th place and are just 4 points off a play-off spot have had a mixture of results so far in the campaign and have held the opposition to 0-0 draws on three occasions in games where they were totally dominated by their opponents.
Hearts, Cowdenbeath and Hibs were left frustrated by dogged determined defending and the outstanding form of 20 year old keeper Danny Rogers, on loan from Aberdeen, who earlier this month was called up to the RoI under-21 squad making his debut as a substitute in a friendly against Norway. Tipped to have a big future in the game the young stopper will be relishing Saturdays encounter with Rangers and looking to shut them out, more so after his blip in last weeks match against the Jambos who put five past him. With Kris Boyd finally scoring a league goal and getting that monkey off his back, lets hope Rogers is in for another uncomfortable afternoon. One thing is certain, Dumbarton FC will put up a fight.
Ally has had some cheer this week seeing his strikers finding form at last and should start with Boyd & Miller up front relegating Clark and Daly to the bench. Lewis Macleod is a cert to return and I'd like to see Templeton start as he's simply the best player we have right now.
Simonsen, Wallace & McGregor, who got MotM when we played them at Ibrox, will take their usual places, while barring injury McCulloch, Black and Law will always be on the teamsheet and the unpopular Foster will most likely get another chance to win over the fans.
For me it's all about getting points on the board and the clever attractive football can wait.
Afterthought...I've often wondered why Ally never persued that acting career.(or has he?) LOL!
My intention was to leave my Match Preview at this point, but thought I'd put this up - Our (and Dumbarton's) historic league winning campaign season 1890-91...
Dumbarton had led the table since hammering Gers 5-1 early in September.
With 3 games of the league campaign remaining for Rangers, both clubs were neck and neck on 25 points each though Dumbarton had a game in hand (away to Celtic).
This was how the table looked back then..
Playing their game in hand Dumbarton lost their unbeaten record going down 0-1 away to Celtic then following it up with a 4-0 away win over Hearts to open up a two point lead.
The table now looked like this...
Next up, Rangers got revenge for that earlier 5-1 thumping from Dumbarton by winning 4-2 at home enabling them to once again to draw level on points only this time it was Rangers who had the edge with a game in hand.
Dumbarton won the points in their final match with a 4-2 win at St.Mirren as Rangers were losing their unbeaten home record in a 1-2 shock defeat against Celtic.
The situation now was Rangers needed to beat Third Lanark in their final game to force a play-off for the title.
We ran out 4-1 winners.
The final table...
FOOTNOTE: Celtic, Third Lanark and Cowlairs were all deducted 4 points for fielding ineligable players.
The match was played on a Thursday evening at Cathkin Park on 21st May and there was a large crowd estimated at 10,000. Rangers led 2-0 with half an hour to play before Dumbarton fought back to snatch a 2-2 draw. The teams discussed whether or not to play thirty minutes extra time but decided not to. Later, the Scottish League decided not to order another match and awarded the title to be shared by both sides.
20+ winners medals were handed out, this particular one belonged to Rangers forward Hugh McCreadie and recently sold for £4000.
Please feel free to comment below or on the forum thread for Bearman's match preview here - http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/vb/showthread.php?66466-Dumbarton-vs-Rangers-It-s-All-About-the-Three-Points