Scottish Cup classic match, 1920 v Celtic


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It's Scottish Cup week. Here's a trip down memory lane to a classic game when Rangers defeated the enemy.

Season 1919-20 started with Celtic as Scottish champions, and they were favourites to retain their title. However, it soon became obvious that Rangers under manager William Wilton had built a team very capable of mounting a strong challenge.

Both teams started the season well, with their first meeting in October drawing a 76000 crowd to Ibrox to see the home team gain a convincing 3-0 win thanks to a double from Andy Cunningham and one from winger Dr Jimmy Paterson. Rangers maintained a narrow lead over their rivals until New Year, when the traditional January clash was watched by 80000 at Parkhead. Rangers claimed a 1-1 draw thanks to a strike from Tommy Muirhead.

The title race was still very much alive when the club' were drawn together in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup, Rangers having home advantage. The attendance on March 6th 1920 is subject to some debate. The number of paid spectators was given as 80500. The official attendance was given as 85000. But some newspapers claimed there were actually over 98000 crammed into Ibrox. No matter how many were actually present, they watched a tense, exciting and fully committed game between the 2 biggest and best teams in the country.

The first half was very even, with the more talented attacking players mainly blunted by thunderous tackling from both defences. The one forward who looked most likely to provide the moment of magic needed was Rangers left winger Jimmy Paterson, whose strong running and clever crosses were the main creative feature of a goalless 45 minutes.
The enormous crowd were already thinking of a Parkhead replay, when in 52 minutes full back
Bert Manderson played a free kick to Paterson, whose brilliant early centre was met by the inrushing Tommy Muirhead who crashed an unstoppable shot into the Celtic net.

There was still almost 40 minutes to play, and Celtic threw everything at the Rangers defence looking for an equaliser. Forwards McAtee, Cassidy and Gallagher tried all they knew, but they were up against a resolute Rangers back line, where Arthur Dixon and Jimmy Gordon in particular were impassable.
The majority of the crowd roared in delight on the final whistle, all convinced the long 17 year wait for the Scottish Cup to return to Ibrox would soon be over.

Gate receipts were published as £3018 9 shillings and 9 pence, a new record for a club match in Scotland.

A great win for Rangers in the national cup tournament, with William Wilton's team ending the season as deserved league winners, only losing twice in 42 games to Motherwell and Clydebank, and enjoying a 3 point margin over Celtic, who themselves only lost 3 times.

Unfortunately, the wait for a Scottish Cup victory would go on, when Rangers lost to relegated Albion Rovers in the semi finals after 3 matches. The last season under manager Wilton certainly had amazing highs and unexpected lows.

The Scottish Cup quarter final would be the last competitive game against Celtic that manager Wilton would take charge before his tragic death. The eleven he selected to gain victory included some fantastic club servants, many who never won that elusive Scottish Cup medal.

Herbert Lock
Bert Manderson
Jimmy Gordon
Jimmy Bowie
Arthur Dixon
James Walls
Sandy Archibald
Tommy Muirhead
Andy Cunningham
Tommy Cairns
Jimmy Paterson


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The number of paid spectators was given as 80500. The official attendance was given as 85000.

I wonder if that means 4500 "lifted over"?


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Great read and great result, then only to lose to relegated Albion Rovers in the Semi.

Some famous names in that lineup.