R they are angry at Ibrox on Saturday in their last match Aberdeen is playing in the Scottish Premiership. The match will mark the end of an amazing season for the champions. Rangers who win or just draw will at least finish with. ” will go through the best season without points and league defeats.
Still, as I can vividly remember, this is not the first time such a flattering prospect has arisen at Ibrox. Fifty-three years ago, in the last game of the season • Fifty-three years ago, in the last game of the season, April 27, 1968. And yes the game was against Aberdeen and yes we knew that if Rangers win or draw, it means they have spent the league season without losing.
But there was a strange twist to this intriguing title claim. The rangers had a chance to stay undefeated, but unlike this season, they were not absolutely sure they would win the league. Far from it. Celtic, then led by Jock Stein, lost one game (1-0 against Rangers), drew three more games and won the remainder. Rangers drew five, winning the rest but scoring far fewer goals.
Given that you had two points for a league win in those days, the arithmetic left both sides in the balance at 61 numbers where Celtic had a huge goal advantage. Only Celtic would lose the league if they didn't win against Dunfermline at home. And there was little possibility for that.
Still, tens of thousands of people came to Ibrox to celebrate our team's all-season unbeaten success in the league, and we left themselves prepared not to. Boiler. It could have been quite a success: Rangers, Scottish football's undefeated losers.
Unfortunately, even this impossible feat was not destined to come true. Dave Smith leads Rangers 11 before Dave Johnston reaches Aberdeen. Then, early in the second half, Ibrox exploded when a young Alex Ferguson led them to the lead. Aberdeen seemed fine until I replied via Johnston again. The Rangers threw it all to the Dons but their opponents were adamant before leaving at the last minute for Ian Taylor to score the win.
He was a real patient. Aberdeen players rejoiced in a quiet stadium. Then the booing started and the crowd poured their anger and disappointment into the management of the Rangers, who had, it must be said, made some pretty bad decisions that season. Chief among these was the board's decision to dismiss Scot Symon as manager in November, despite the team being at the top and Symon bringing Ibrox six league titles, five Scottish Cups and four League Cups.
A radical change in the fate of Rangers began to take place as the team's former dominance of Scottish football gradually disintegrated. They ran Celtic close in Stein's first three seasons at Parkhead, but fell short each time. The Aberdeen match was the final insult.
Stein ruled from Parkhead for six more seasons, leading Celtic to nine consecutive league wins. In contrast, David White, who was brought in to save Symon and the rescuers, lasted less than two seasons and became the first manager at the club to not win any major awards.
And so it went for the mental health of the Ibrox loyalists for so many seasons – apart from Rangers' 3-2 win over Dynamo Moscow in the European Cup Winners' Cup final in Barcelona). However, nothing is certain and settled in football – the Rangers of the 's have returned to their victorious ways, and eventually Graeme Souness and Walter Smith in the 80s and 90s.
These victories were respectively reversed in 1972 when the club was forced to become manager and relegated to the bottom division of Tration and Scotland. But after eight other tough years, the team is back to dominate Scottish football once again and has thrived under the guidance of Steve Gerrard, who has now proven himself a master tactician and master motivator. The future of Rangers certainly looks bright under the leadership of a man destined to have a successful career in football management.
So it's clear that it's a very different background compared to Saturday's game. I endured with 53 years ago. The rangers are at the crest of a wave very different from the trough they are about to dive into. There is now the possibility of a rosy future for football at Ibrox. How long it will take is another matter.