Remembrance Weekend. A tribute to the War Hero who fired Rangers to their first treble

dh1963

Well-Known Member
30th April 1949

Few of the Rangers fans who made the short journey to Coatbridge on the final day of the season could have been overly optimistic that they would return to Glasgow as Scottish Champions. While victory over already-relegated Albion Rovers was considered a formality, they knew the outcome of the title race was in the hands of Dundee, who were top of the table going into the final set of fixtures. The Dens Park men needed just a point from their match at mid-table Falkirk to clinch the championship, and were heavy favourites to do at least that. Rangers, who the previous weekend had lifted the Scottish Cup to add to the League Cup already won in March, initially wore the look of a team going through the motions at Cliftonhill.
The made a poor start to the game, but were settled by a 20th minute goal from top scorer Willie Thornton, who planted the ball firmly past home keeper McGregor. Six minutes later it was 2-0 when Jimmy Duncanson headed home an Eddie Rutherford cross, and Rangers were in total control.

The score remained 2-0 at the break. Meanwhile at Brockville, it was still goalless with Dundee's Alex Stott having a penalty saved by Falkirk's goalkeeper George Nicol. The drama was beginning to unfold. Seven minutes into the second half at Cliftonhill, Dougie Wallace pulled a goal back for Albion Rovers, but the deadly Thornton restored the 2 goal cushion on the hour with a magnificent solo effort, dummying McGregor before stroking the ball into the empty net.

Dundee, meanwhile, had spectacularly collapsed as Falkirk romped to an unlikely 4-1 victory. It was left to Willie Thornton to put the icing on the cake for Rangers, lashing the ball home to complete his hat-trick 10 minutes from full time. Soon after the final whistle, news filtered through to Bill Struth and his players that they had not only won the Scottish Championship, but they had made football history by clinching the first treble ever in Scotland.

The feat was recorded in a surprisingly low-key way by the press, whose main headlines focussed on how Dundee had thrown the title away. However, as time has passed, the significance of Willie Thornton's hat-trick would no longer be underplayed, as the brilliant centre forward went down in history as the man whose goals won the first ever Scottish treble.

Rangers: Brown, Young, Shaw, McColl, Woodburn, Cox, Waddell, Duncanson, Thornton, Williamson, Rutherford.

Willie Thornton, Rangers FC 1936 - 1954
Appearances 308
Goals 196
4 League titles
3 Scottish Cups
2 League Cups
7 Scotland caps
A one-club man, who is deservedly in the Hall of Fame.
Never booked in his career.
Appointed assistant manager 1968, served the club in various capacities until his death in 1991 at the age of 71.

Served his country with the Duke of Atholl Highland Regiment in WW2. Awarded the Military Medal in 1943 for bravery in the Italian campaign.

A great player.
A great Ranger.
A great man.

Lest we forget.
 

Robert Marshall

Well-Known Member
30th April 1949

Few of the Rangers fans who made the short journey to Coatbridge on the final day of the season could have been overly optimistic that they would return to Glasgow as Scottish Champions. While victory over already-relegated Albion Rovers was considered a formality, they knew the outcome of the title race was in the hands of Dundee, who were top of the table going into the final set of fixtures. The Dens Park men needed just a point from their match at mid-table Falkirk to clinch the championship, and were heavy favourites to do at least that. Rangers, who the previous weekend had lifted the Scottish Cup to add to the League Cup already won in March, initially wore the look of a team going through the motions at Cliftonhill.
The made a poor start to the game, but were settled by a 20th minute goal from top scorer Willie Thornton, who planted the ball firmly past home keeper McGregor. Six minutes later it was 2-0 when Jimmy Duncanson headed home an Eddie Rutherford cross, and Rangers were in total control.

The score remained 2-0 at the break. Meanwhile at Brockville, it was still goalless with Dundee's Alex Stott having a penalty saved by Falkirk's goalkeeper George Nicol. The drama was beginning to unfold. Seven minutes into the second half at Cliftonhill, Dougie Wallace pulled a goal back for Albion Rovers, but the deadly Thornton restored the 2 goal cushion on the hour with a magnificent solo effort, dummying McGregor before stroking the ball into the empty net.

Dundee, meanwhile, had spectacularly collapsed as Falkirk romped to an unlikely 4-1 victory. It was left to Willie Thornton to put the icing on the cake for Rangers, lashing the ball home to complete his hat-trick 10 minutes from full time. Soon after the final whistle, news filtered through to Bill Struth and his players that they had not only won the Scottish Championship, but they had made football history by clinching the first treble ever in Scotland.

The feat was recorded in a surprisingly low-key way by the press, whose main headlines focussed on how Dundee had thrown the title away. However, as time has passed, the significance of Willie Thornton's hat-trick would no longer be underplayed, as the brilliant centre forward went down in history as the man whose goals won the first ever Scottish treble.

Rangers: Brown, Young, Shaw, McColl, Woodburn, Cox, Waddell, Duncanson, Thornton, Williamson, Rutherford.

Willie Thornton, Rangers FC 1936 - 1954
Appearances 308
Goals 196
4 League titles
3 Scottish Cups
2 League Cups
7 Scotland caps
A one-club man, who is deservedly in the Hall of Fame.
Never booked in his career.
Appointed assistant manager 1968, served the club in various capacities until his death in 1991 at the age of 71.

Served his country with the Duke of Atholl Highland Regiment in WW2. Awarded the Military Medal in 1943 for bravery in the Italian campaign.

A great player.
A great Ranger.
A great man.

Lest we forget.
Original Helicopter Sunday ( I know it was on a Saturday )
They must have been a fantastic set of footballers, team only changed for injuries or suspensions
 

Robert Marshall

Well-Known Member
Squad rotation and resting players wasn't invented back then.
I remember a Q and A with Davie Wilson, it was just after the news that David Beckham had broken his Metatarsal bone. Davie was asked had he ever broken his and he replied ' we didn't have Metatarsal bones when I played ':)
 
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