Were we ever the best team in Europe?

Hillbear

Member
As nostalgia has been washing over me recently and as a follow on to my last post about previous European campaigns. Whilst looking into these European outings I fell into many rabbit holes, mostly enjoyable though!

The ELO ratings had us as #2 in February 1968 and we have been in the top 10 on numerous occasions and for long periods of time, top 20 around the first CL campaign and in the 30's around the 2008 UEFA run. We are now in the mid 40's for the first time in over a decade and improving.

A question that kept crossing my mind was, were Rangers the best team in Europe at any point post 1955/56, or indeed do you think we were at any point prior to organised European football, the days of playing Dynamo Moscow in 1945 or in the era of Mr. Struth?

It is purely fanciful and impossible to prove but I certainly have the feeling that teams we have had, at certain points in time, did not achieve what their undoubted talents would have indicated (mid 60's, late 70's), conversely some teams outperformed (2008 UEFA etc.).

As always there are many variables and mitigating factors and reading about some of those great teams it appears that bad luck, bad judgement and sometimes poor game management contributed to our downfall.
Endlessly fascinating and helps me fill the gaps between games at the moment, bit like historical Championship Manager :)).
 
As nostalgia has been washing over me recently and as a follow on to my last post about previous European campaigns. Whilst looking into these European outings I fell into many rabbit holes, mostly enjoyable though!

The ELO ratings had us as #2 in February 1968 and we have been in the top 10 on numerous occasions and for long periods of time, top 20 around the first CL campaign and in the 30's around the 2008 UEFA run. We are now in the mid 40's for the first time in over a decade and improving.

A question that kept crossing my mind was, were Rangers the best team in Europe at any point post 1955/56, or indeed do you think we were at any point prior to organised European football, the days of playing Dynamo Moscow in 1945 or in the era of Mr. Struth?

It is purely fanciful and impossible to prove but I certainly have the feeling that teams we have had, at certain points in time, did not achieve what their undoubted talents would have indicated (mid 60's, late 70's), conversely some teams outperformed (2008 UEFA etc.).

As always there are many variables and mitigating factors and reading about some of those great teams it appears that bad luck, bad judgement and sometimes poor game management contributed to our downfall.
Endlessly fascinating and helps me fill the gaps between games at the moment, bit like historical Championship Manager :)).
I am too young (well kind of) to know enough about the 60s or early 70s teams. I have to say we were so close to glory in 92/93. I am convinced we could have beaten AC Milan in the final had Marseille not cheated us. If they could have beat them, then so could we.
 

Charing

Well-Known Member
We probably were in the 60’s. Shot ourselves in the foot with things like not paying Baxter and getting rid of Forrest. Those are also reasons why that lot won 9.
I don't think we were. Our training methods and management style ( as you have exampled) meant we were already falling behind the elite.
Our results against Real Madrid and even Tottenham Hotspur gave a pretty accurate picture of our standing in the early 60s.
 

AndyWebsterLoyal

Well-Known Member
I don't think we were. Our training methods and management style ( as you have exampled) meant we were already falling behind the elite.
Our results against Real Madrid and even Tottenham Hotspur gave a pretty accurate picture of our standing in the early 60s.
I’m not talking early 60s. I’m talking 65 - 68. Baxter doesn’t get his leg broken against Vienna in 65 we probably beat Inter, nearly did it without him. And getting rid of the top scorer in Britain on the back of one match is plain stupid and cost us the cup winners cup when we had to play a centre half up top against Bayern.
 

SDR

Well-Known Member
My mate's Da insists that the Rangers team of the mid-60's is still the best he's ever seen.
I agree with him - but I was a lad at that time, and may just be looking back, nostalgically, and with Baxter- Henderson - Grieg*-tinted specs.

* to name but a few...
 

Charing

Well-Known Member
I’m not talking early 60s. I’m talking 65 - 68. Baxter doesn’t get his leg broken against Vienna in 65 we probably beat Inter, nearly did it without him. And getting rid of the top scorer in Britain on the back of one match is plain stupid and cost us the cup winners cup when we had to play a centre half up top against Bayern.
65-68?? All about opinions i guess but you'll need all the ifs buts and maybes you can find to carry that argument.
 

Super Cooper

Well-Known Member
Aye but how could they have said with confidence we would win it? It's not as if they were tuning into BT and Sky every day to see what all the European teams were like.
Probably in hindsight when they looked back decades later is an educated guess
 

immortal7

Well-Known Member
Official Ticketer
I’m not talking early 60s. I’m talking 65 - 68. Baxter doesn’t get his leg broken against Vienna in 65 we probably beat Inter, nearly did it without him. And getting rid of the top scorer in Britain on the back of one match is plain stupid and cost us the cup winners cup when we had to play a centre half up top against Bayern.

There was a club in Glasgow that was the best team in Europe circa 65-68.......
 

Neilstonger

Well-Known Member
I thought we were better than them in the 60’s. The difference was that they had a manager who squeezed every last drop out of them. His legacy will be forever tarnished but his methods worked.
 

jimbear

Well-Known Member
We probably were in the 60’s. Shot ourselves in the foot with things like not paying Baxter and getting rid of Forrest. Those are also reasons why that lot won 9.

We might have been in the season up to the point when Baxter had his leg broken, but not imo after that. I think we could well have gone close during the season where Butcher had his leg broken, but after Butcher got injured we were not the same team for the rest of that season.
 

Johansen

Well-Known Member
My mate's Da insists that the Rangers team of the mid-60's is still the best he's ever seen.
In Scotland we were but we were found wanting in Europe as the results v Real Madrid, Eintrach Frankfurt and Fiorentina demonstrates. Symon had the view that we could play in Europe the same as we did In Scotland.
 

Papac

Well-Known Member
Whenever you watch old football it's basically walking pace and their touch is rotten. Best at the time is a good way to look at it but it would be globetrotters stuff putting our current team against the 60s ones.
 

dh1963

Well-Known Member
In Scotland we were but we were found wanting in Europe as the results v Real Madrid, Eintrach Frankfurt and Fiorentina demonstrates. Symon had the view that we could play in Europe the same as we did In Scotland.
Unfortunately you can add Spurs and Standard Liege to that list.
 

jimbear

Well-Known Member
I thought we were better than them in the 60’s. The difference was that they had a manager who squeezed every last drop out of them. His legacy will be forever tarnished but his methods worked.

They were also fortunate in avoiding serious injuries to their important players in the year they won it,
 

HandsomeHead

Well-Known Member
I am too young (well kind of) to know enough about the 60s or early 70s teams. I have to say we were so close to glory in 92/93. I am convinced we could have beaten AC Milan in the final had Marseille not cheated us. If they could have beat them, then so could we.
We could have beaten Milan in the final, but I doubt we would.

People focus on the corruption at Marseille at the time and ignore just how talented their team actually was.

Desailly, Deschamps, Boksic, Voller, Abedi Pele - all world class players who played at the highest levels.

We did tremendously well to take a couple of points away from the two games we had against them, but we had no players of that sort of individual quality.

We were all about teamwork, battling hard for everything and never saying die, but I always feel you need to have at least a couple of really special players if you want to win the big trophies.

Marseille had them and so did Milan.

I think we got as far as we could have reasonably expected that year - effective Champions League semi finalists and unbeaten throughout the competition.

We can be justifiably proud of that.
 

dh1963

Well-Known Member
Whenever you watch old football it's basically walking pace and their touch is rotten. Best at the time is a good way to look at it but it would be globetrotters stuff putting our current team against the 60s ones.
Not this shit again.

You can't compare the eras without looking at the colossal disadvantages players back then had compared to now.

Diet, lifestyle, professionalism, pitches, boots, the balls used, the fouls allowed back then... people were all smaller, slower and less physically fit.

But if a Jim Baxter, a George Best or an Alfredo di Stefano were born 20 years ago, they would be every bit as fit and fast as the rest... but still better footballers than just about anyone else. Because the one thing modern footballers still can't claim is they are more naturally gifted at controlling a football.

Yes, pitch them into the game now in their 1960s bodies and lifestyles, they would get swamped. But that really unfair way to look at it. The alternative is would 2021 players still coast it if playing in heavy boots, on mudheaps, a ball weighing a ton, opponents kicking lumps out them, brought up on poor diets, they all smoked, and no proper tactics or coaching?
 

jimbear

Well-Known Member
I’m not talking early 60s. I’m talking 65 - 68. Baxter doesn’t get his leg broken against Vienna in 65 we probably beat Inter, nearly did it without him. And getting rid of the top scorer in Britain on the back of one match is plain stupid and cost us the cup winners cup when we had to play a centre half up top against Bayern.

It wasn't not having Forrest that cost us the Cup Winners Cup. It was Scot Symon dropping Willoughby for reasons only best known to himself and our club chairman. We had played for months without Forrest and got to the Final and Willoughby had been scoring goals after he got into the team. Also, we did not have to play Hynd up top. Willoughby was fit but Symon played Hynd through choice, not out of necessity.
 

Johansen

Well-Known Member
It wasn't not having Forrest that cost us the Cup Winners Cup. It was Scot Symon dropping Willoughby for reasons only best known to himself and our club chairman. We had played for months without Forrest and got to the Final and Willoughby had been scoring goals after he got into the team. Also, we did not have to play Hynd up top. Willoughby was fit but Symon played Hynd through choice, not out of necessity.
Willoughby wasn't even in the squad for that game, a massive mistake by Symon. He had Davie Wison in the squad, player who was always worth a goal in any game but declined to play him also
 

monkey magic

Well-Known Member
In Scotland we were but we were found wanting in Europe as the results v Real Madrid, Eintrach Frankfurt and Fiorentina demonstrates. Symon had the view that we could play in Europe the same as we did In Scotland.

Perhaps he was talking about the style of football we played in the mid-60's, mate. ? He said they were a very slick and stylish football team.
 

MrStruth

Well-Known Member
When we defeated Inter Milan in 1965 they were not only the champions of Italy. They were holding European and World club champions. They only time a Scottish side have defeated the greatest team in the world. Sadly we were not to progress to the next round as we lost 3 - 1 in the first leg. Rangers stuck the bar late in the match at Ibrox which would have taken the game to a play off.
 

Johansen

Well-Known Member
Perhaps he was talking about the style of football we played in the mid-60's, mate. ? He said they were a very slick and stylish football team.
We were a good footballing side in the 60s but we couldn't get past the better teams in Europe, we were imo very naive in Europe at that time.
 

dennybobford

Active Member
As nostalgia has been washing over me recently and as a follow on to my last post about previous European campaigns. Whilst looking into these European outings I fell into many rabbit holes, mostly enjoyable though!

The ELO ratings had us as #2 in February 1968 and we have been in the top 10 on numerous occasions and for long periods of time, top 20 around the first CL campaign and in the 30's around the 2008 UEFA run. We are now in the mid 40's for the first time in over a decade and improving.

A question that kept crossing my mind was, were Rangers the best team in Europe at any point post 1955/56, or indeed do you think we were at any point prior to organised European football, the days of playing Dynamo Moscow in 1945 or in the era of Mr. Struth?

It is purely fanciful and impossible to prove but I certainly have the feeling that teams we have had, at certain points in time, did not achieve what their undoubted talents would have indicated (mid 60's, late 70's), conversely some teams outperformed (2008 UEFA etc.).

As always there are many variables and mitigating factors and reading about some of those great teams it appears that bad luck, bad judgement and sometimes poor game management contributed to our downfall.
Endlessly fascinating and helps me fill the gaps between games at the moment, bit like historical Championship Manager :)).
The Struth teams from 1930 till 1953 won 18 championships and 20 domestic cups (7 were wartime leagues, 9 wartime cups) easily the greatest ever Rangers team must be close to being the top side in Europe?
 
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