Over forty years past, Sunday afternoon life could be excruciating. Sunday mornings were consumed with Kirk, Sunday School, and cub/scout parades. God was insistent, it was his/her day and entertainment opportunities were to be frowned upon.
Afternoons were for focusing the mind, a choice of further bible study or doing your Latin homework? My Saviour was the Sunday papers, although they had to be purchased by one O'clock. Once your newsagent closed, no further retail opportunities were available. Of course, Glasgow had the Barras market and the one bus per hour leaving deepest, darkest Lanarkshire might get you there; however, returning after five required a fifteen mile walk. Such perambulation builds a thirst, finding a hotel with the necessary licence to serve 'bona fide travellers' was a quest worthy of Jason and his Argonauts. You would think the telly and radio would be hoaching with discussions on the ludicrous requirement to travel three miles and provide a guarantee of intent to travel another three, before an establishment would furnish you with a beverage? Nope, the broadcast waves were consumed by praising the God character.
Nineteen seventy-four was a God send, providence came in the form of two General Elections. Two three week political campaigns in both February and October relieved the boredom. You know the score? You wait several hours for a bus and two or three arrive simultaneously. Amid the February election build-up, it was announced Rangers were to dip their toe into the turbulent waters of Sunday football. We had drawn Dundee in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup and tens of thousands of Bears were more than aye ready to travel six miles. One hundred and two years had evolved, almost to the day of foundation and Rangers were hosting their first Sunday game at Ibrox. Further, the following week's home league fixture against Dundee United was also declared a Sunday game.
The seventeenth of February arrived, weak sunshine dappled the old Stadium and 65,000 souls crowded in to receive God's blessing. Dundee were more than a good side, they were marshalled by former Rangers boss, Davie White and skippered by Lisbon Lion, Tommy Gemmell. They were holders of the League Cup, defeating the hooped horrors one nil at Hampden a few months previously. Their biggest asset, they could play fitba'. We weren't bad ourselves, cup holders after Tam Forsyth's studded winner in a 3-2 victory over ra Sellik. The previous year had seen us compete with the then three times in a row European Cup winners, Ajax in the first ever Super Cup(two legged) final. We lost 6-3 on aggregate. Both teams were finely matched.
The game saw the following line ups; Rangers went with, McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, Jackson, Johnstone, McLean, O'Hara, Parlane, Scott, Hamilton, and Cutty Young came on as a second half sub for Johnny Hamilton. Dundee were, Allan, Wilson, Gemmell, Ford, Stewart, Wilson, Philip, Robinson, Duncan, Scott, and Lambie. We started well, created and squandered a few chances, and reached midway at nil, nil. The second half was a lesson in short passing, culminating in the longer through ball to the runner. Jocky Scott notched just after the restart, and John Duncan, a truly wonderful forward, chipped in with a double in the last twenty minutes. Our first Sunday experience was a 0-3 gubbing at the hand of a grievous Lord. Our second Sunday saw the Arabs arrive minus their God fearing manager, Jim McLean, he would hold the Lord's day. Forty-five thousand Bears agreed, Rangers defeated Dundee United 3-1, Cutty Young scoring our first Sunday goal in front of 20,000.
Saturday's match appears similar. Hartley's team likes to play an expansive game, their full backs are pushed on, and the front three of Hemmings, Loy, and Stewart have movement and goals. It could be argued that they are our better plan A, in that the players are competing at a higher level. The previous two cup games against Killie saw an uneasy first twenty minutes as we strove to cope with greater physicality, pace, and mindset. I would go with the starting line-up below. Further, I would remind Paul Hartley that the last time he led a side to Ibrox on Scottish Cup duty, he was leading a club from the division above. Alloa Athletic lost seven zip that day.
I am not confident and would happily take a replay at Dens, I suspect it would suit us better. I would be a bona fide traveller.
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