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16 October 2014

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Rangers triumph in Europe 1972

For 50 minutes of the match Rangers dominated. Dave Smith had a fabulous match, rarely losing possession. Willie Johnston scored twice to add to the opener from Colin Stein. His first was a great header from a perfect Smith pass six minutes before half-time; his second at the start of the second half a low, hard shot which he dispatched after latching on to an enormous Peter McCloy punt.

Some Rangers fans, fuelled by duty-free booze, could not contain themselves. They ran on to the pitch after the goals went in, holding up the play and disrupting the flow of the match.

The tension in the stadium heightened when the Russians began a fabulous fightback.
Eschtrekov, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, pulled one back to give the Muscovites hope. As victory became tantalising close, Smith had to boot the ball off the line and then Jardine almost scored an own goal. Rangers were being put through the wringer and their ecstatic fans could barely handle it! With three minutes to go Dynamo scored their second, through Mahovikov, and the tension became unbearable for the Scots.

With a minute remaining, thousands of fans invaded the pitch thinking the match was over. Again the playing area had to be cleared before play could be resumed. Eventually the final whistle sounded and Rangers' European dream had come true.

An injured Rangers fan on the pitch

© SNSpix

Jubilant Rangers fans ran on to the pitch once again, and there began an awful battle between baton-wielding Spanish police, who until that point had seemed relatively unperturbed by the fans' antics, and bottle-throwing Rangers fans.

The triumphant Rangers team were deep in the Camp Nou, at first unaware of what was happening on the pitch. Captain John Greig was awarded the trophy in a room rather than on the park.

Rangers were handed a two-year ban by UEFA for their fans' poor behaviour. Waddell succeeded in getting this reduced to one year, meaning Rangers could not defend their trophy. Waddell argued that the police had over-reacted, that the fans were drunk but not intent on violence, and that recent European finals had witnessed rejoicing Celtic, Bayern Munich and Ajax fans running on to the park and those occasions had been deemed acceptable.

Rangers won the 1972 European Cup-Winners' Cup the hard way, beating some great sides on the way to Barcelona and in the final itself. Few then could have guessed how long it would be before similar triumphs could be enjoyed.


Rangers: McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, Johnstone, Smith, McLean, Conn, Stein, MacDonald, Johnston

Moscow Dynamo: Pilgui, Basalaycev, Dolmatov, Zykov, Dolbonosov (Gerschkovich), Zukov, Baidazhnyi, Jakobik (Eschtrekov), Sabo, Mahovikov, Evriuschkin

Rangers 3 (Johnston 2, Stein) Moscow Dynamo 2 (Eschtrekov, Mahovikov)

Camp Nou, Barcelona
Attendance: 24,701

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