It is still incredible to think that two clubs from the same city could be playing for such high stakes simultaneously in the same city with Rangers facing the mighty Bayern Munich in the European Cup Winners’ Cup at Ibrox and Celtic taking on Inter Milan in the European Cup at Parkhead.
The evening was to end in unbridled joy for Rangers and complete desolation for Celtic and for one young man it was the stuff of fairytales.
Derek Parlane, then just 18, had played just two matches for Rangers – a 1-1 draw with Clyde and a 2-0 defeat by Dundee – when he was thrust into the most important match in the club’s history since the 1967 Cup Winners’ Cup Final.
Captain John Greig was out injured and Willie Waddell selected Parlane as his replacement. Astonishingly he scored Rangers’ second goal in a sensational 2-0 win – Sandy Jardine netted the other – and Rangers were off to Barcelona for the Final where they famously defeated Moscow Dynamo.
Across the city Celtic lost on penalties to Inter which, for most Rangers fans, made the night even sweeter.
Parlane recalled: “I couldn’t believe it when I was told I was playing in the Bayern game. It was beyond my comprehension.
“Suddenly I was thrust into such a huge match against a team that boasted at least half of the West German national team with men like Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Uli Hoeness and Sepp Maier.
“I didn’t really have time to be nervous! The noise was unbelievable as we went out and Sandy scored with only a minute gone.
“Then I managed to score with a left foot shot into the roof of the net and I thought I had died and gone to heaven.”
Parlane became a terrific striker for Rangers in the 1970s and was undoubtedly at the hub of their renaissance after living in the shadow of Jock Stein’s Celtic.
He was top league marksman in four of the next five seasons as Rangers became the dominant force under Jock Wallace, who had moved up from first team coach to replace Waddell after the Cup Winners’ Cup triumph.
When the Barcelona goal heroes Colin Stein and Willie Johnston were sold in the early part of the 1972/73 season Parlane became the main striker and enjoyed a run of 30 league games that produced 19 goals including an Old Firm debut strike in a 2-1 win at Ibrox
He said: “Any time you beat Celtic is a special occasion. I was fortunate enough that I played in quite a few Glasgow derbies and I was quite successful in them too.
“The hairs used to go up on the back of your neck when you walked out onto the field in an Old Firm game.
“I always had a good scoring record against them which was great and to break the monopoly they had was a huge thing for all of us.”
Rangers agonisingly finished one point behind Celtic but they gained revenge in the Centenary Scottish Cup Final on May 5, 1973 which was made famous by Tom Forsyth’s winning goal from all of six inches.
Wallace’s side won a fantastic match 3-2 and it was Parlane who scored the first Rangers goal with a pin-point header from Alex MacDonald’s cross en route to his first domestic medal as a Rangers player.
A week later he earned the first of 12 Scotland caps when he helped Willie Ormond’s team defeat Wales 2-0 at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground. Parlane scored one international goal in a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland on May 20, 1975 when Jardine was captain.
Season 1973/74 was another frustrating one for Rangers but Parlane’s stock continued to rise and in the following campaign, the Light Blues finally brought an end to Celtic’s stranglehold of the title with an emotional title win at Easter Road on March 30, 1975.
The following campaign was a joy to behold as Rangers claimed the first Premier Division title and landed the third Treble in their history.
However, it was a tough one for Derek as he was dropped for the first time in his career and was largely a substitute in the second half of the season.
He said: “Winning the Treble in 1975/76 was awesome. To be part of that team is a fantastic memory.
“We had built a nucleus of a team but we utilised the squad that season. It wasn’t just about 11 players it was about 16 or 18 with players slotting in when necessary.
“The league had just been reconstructed to a 10-team set-up playing each other four times a season and that took a bit of getting used to but we obviously adapted better than the rest.”
Parlane’s form dipped around November time and it was then that Martin Henderson grabbed the precious No9 shirt.
He said: “I have to hold my hands up and say that there were times when I was not firing on all cylinders.
“I had played virtually every week for three seasons when I remember being called into the manager Jock Wallace’s office one Friday and he told me he was going to leave me out the next day.
“I remember being shocked by that because I felt that the No9 shirt should not be worn by anyone else and I was going through quite a lot of emotions when I went down to my mum and dad’s in Rhu to tell them I was out.
“I have to admit I wasn’t playing well and Martin Henderson came in and did well. He was a decent player and he scored goals.”
Parlane won his place back the following season but Rangers failed to defend any of the honours finishing well behind Celtic in the league but controversially losing the 1977 Scottish Cup Final when Derek Johnstone was judged to have handled the ball on the line and Andy Lynch scored a penalty to give Celtic the Double.
However, Wallace’s men came storming back and swept the board again in 1977/78 but Parlane was a peripheral figure making most of his appearances as substitute although he still has medals from all three competitions.
His final honours came in the 1978/79 season when he was a sub as Rangers beat Aberdeen 2-1 in the League Cup Final and then he played his part in the epic Scottish Cup Final when Hibs were beaten 3-2 after extra time in a second replay.
He was transferred to Leeds United in March 1980 and also played for Manchester City among other sides in England before settling in Lancashire where he worked for sports retailer Reebok.
Rangers, however, are never far from his mind and the club was effectively in his DNA as father Jimmy played in the war years and just after hostilities had ended.
He added: “I was a supporter first and foremost. I will never forget the day my Dad told me that Willie Waddell and Willie Thornton were coming down to the house to sign me.
“You could have knocked me over with a feather.
“I’m delighted to have been a part of Rangers. If somebody had said to me at 16 and a half when I joined this great club that one day I would be inducted into the Hall of Fame I would have thought they were having a laugh.”
Born: 5 May, 1953, Helensburgh
Honours won with Rangers:
European Cup Winners’ Cup (1) – 1971/72*
League titles (3) – 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977/78.
Scottish Cups (3) – 1972/73, 1975/76, 1978/79
League Cup – (3) – 1975/76, 1977/78, 1978/79
Caps – 12 (Scotland)