Rangers 3-1 Dundee (Apr 1964)
RANGERS have played in many classic matches through the years and in this series of features we’ll remember some of the best.
Gers supporters voted Ally McCoist and Mark Hateley as the best striking partnership in the Club’s history – and there are few reasons to argue with their selection.
However, if you talk to fans of a certain vintage they will tell you that the double act of Ralph Brand and Jimmy Millar from the all-conquering 1960s team was equally as good – if not better.
Brand was a man ahead of his time; a player who thought deeply about football when tactics were sparsely employed in the Scottish game.
The chemistry with the courageous Millar was perfect. In four seasons between 1960/61 and 1963/64 they scored an awesome 254 goals between them as Rangers ruled the roost.
During this devastating spell, the Light Blues won the league three times, the Scottish Cup three times and the League Cup three times.
And it was in 1964 when it all came together as the remarkable Scottish Cup Final triumph over Dundee gave Rangers the Treble – a clean sweep of the honours which had only been achieved once before, in 1949, also by Rangers.
Millar recalled: “Ralph was way ahead of his time. He would always go on at me to go back out in the afternoon for more training.
“We would practice one-twos and generally just get used to each other’s play so that we would know where we would be on the park during a match.
“In our time it was Millar and Brand and people tend to compare us with McCoist and Hateley because they were another great striking partnership. I have no doubt they was as good as us – maybe better. I suppose it will be up to the fans to decide.”
It was during train journeys between their native Edinburgh and Ibrox that the partnership was forged – almost as much as it was on the training field,
Brand explained: “Jimmy came from Edinburgh and we ended up travelling to and from training on the train. In these days the journey would take as long as two hours at times so it gave us time to chat.
“We would discuss what had gone in matches and hopefully take things from this to make things better the next time,
“Once we started to get into the games and things were happening I used to think about the game a lot. I always felt that to only spend two hours training with hardly any ball work was not enough to improve one’s play.
“I used to come back myself but that was a bit lonely and not much use as I was only kicking the ball about myself. I had nobody to pass to.
“Then I persuaded Jimmy to come back and things clicked from there, but the thing was we had to be inventive to get the chance to do extra training.
“We had to boot a ball right across the terracing to hide it and then we could go and get it after training was finished.
“Our trainer at that time Davie Kinnear had his training programme mapped out for weeks at a time. It was good but I didn’t think it was enough for us.
“So Jimmy and I developed a good understanding. I these days the centre halves were able to come right through you to win the ball so Jimmy and I worked on playing wall passes to get past defenders rather than risk injury!
“So there were a number of little things which contributed to the overall picture and it certainly worked for us at that time.”
It worked wonders. The dual strikeforce fitted perfectly into what many Rangers fans regard as the best Rangers team and they had great supply from wingers Willie Henderson and Davie Wilson plus midfielders Ian McMillan and the incomparable Jim Baxter.
Millar said: “To me the game is a team game. I always believed we could beat 11 superstars because we had a good unit. We were all fighting for each other.
“That said we had some sensational individuals, most notably Jim Baxter, of course. He was a one-off.
“As everyone knows, Jimmy wasn’t much of a trainer and he liked a wee drink and I have no doubt that if he had stuck in at training he would have been an even better player.
“Some of the punters will say that you can’t get any better than Baxter and it’s hard to argue because he played some fantastic stuff.
“In the same vein, Willie Henderson was also a one-off. He was only 5ft 4ins, but he was strong and incredibly fast. He laid on a lot of goals.
“Davie was slightly different because he could score a lot of goals too. I remember one season Davie, Ralph and myself scored over 100 goals between us which is amazing, really.”
Brand had no clue at the time, and was openly surprised when he learned recently, that his goal in the 1964 Final – the last one in a pulsating 3-1 victory – set a Scottish Cup record which will take some beating.
Brand became the only man in history to score in three successive finals – four if you include the 1963 replay – and he won them all.
He admitted: “I was not really aware that my record would be something that would stand for years and still stands to this day.
“When we played the responsibility for scoring goals was shared and nobody really kept tabs about who did what season by season.
“People talked about how good that 1964 final was but when you are playing in it you don’t realise how good the game is. It was only reading the reports and watching footage of the game later that I realised just how good it was.
“That said, anyone looking at the team lines before the game could have anticipated that it would be something special. Dundee had players like Andy Penman, Bert Slater, Alex Hamilton and Alan Gilzean while our team had a few good players too.
“Football at that time in Scotland was on a real high. There were five or six teams who were competing at that time. It was really exciting to play then and I was proud to have been part of it.”
Hampden was packed to the rafters as Rangers, resplendent in their away shirt of blue and white stripes, chased a clean sweep but they came up against a goalkeeper in inspirational form.
Bert Slater was simply outstanding and kept Rangers at bay until the 71st minute when Millar powered Henderson’s corner into the net.
Remarkably, Dundee equalised almost immediately through Kenny Cameron when he hooked a left foot shot past Billy Ritchie.
In a sensational climax, Rangers won the game in the final minute. Millar scored again, with Henderson again the supplier, and with with just seconds remaining Brand swept in the third off the right hand post after Slater had blocked Wilson’s shot.
Millar recalled: “I have been told a few times it was one of the best cup finals ever. Dundee had a lot of international players at that time but I think on the day we had the edge on them.
“The best player on the field was Bert Slater. He was the man of the match. I scored two that day and Ralph scored one but if Bert had not put the shutters up we could have won quite handsomely.
“It was Willie who set up my first goal but I was a bit surprised when he set up the second. He had moved onto the left side, which was unusual because he had playing down the right all game, and produced a good cross to the back post.
“I managed to get on the end of it and my header looped into the net. Ralph sealed it all in the dying seconds and we were overjoyed when the final whistle sounded.”
It meant the Treble for Rangers but for lifelong fan Brand he was just happy to be part of a Cup-winning team.
Brand admitted: “For a Rangers nut like me this was special.
“I had relations that stayed in Springburn – Aunty Jenny and Uncle Alex. My uncle worked in the shipyards in Govan and he was a real Rangers man.
“He used to sing the Rangers songs – and I mean the real Rangers songs – and I think he influenced me from an early age,
“I used to love coming to visit him as it also gave me a chance to buy the Saturday evening papers in Glasgow – the Citizen and the Times – who always had huge photographs on their front pages which I used to cut out and put in a scrapbook. I was hooked on Rangers.
“Players in our era were not really interested into stastics. You played football because you loved the game and in my position I loved it even more because I was playing for the club I had supported all my life,
“For me that was Utopia.”
Rangers 3-1 Dundee
25 April 1964
Referee: High Phillips
RANGERS: Ritchie; Shearer, Provan; Greig, McKinnon, Baxter; Henderson, McLean, Millar, Brand, Wilson.
DUNDEE: Slater; Hamilton, Cox; Seith, Ryden, Stuart; Penman, Cousins,Cameron, Gilzean, Robertson.
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