RANGERS travel to America tomorrow for a training camp followed by two matches in the Florida Cup against Brazillian opposition.
Throughout the history of the club, the Light Blues have travelled to America on many different occassions and across the next week, we are going to be remembering those trips across the pond in a series of articles.
The first trip we are going to remember is the tour of 1928 and we’ll have five different articles remembering the games from those pioneering Gers players 90 years ago. Enjoy the first part below and look out for the second part at the same time tomorrow.
Bill Struth led his travelling party of Rangers players to North America for a summer tour following another successful season for the Light Blues.
Struth was assembling one of the best teams in Rangers history and the Gers came off the back of another triumphant season, securing a 16th League Championship, a fifth Scottish Cup and a 13th Glasgow Cup, as well as, a clean sweep of all reserve honours.
In the league, Rangers racked up 109 goals, the club’s best ever goals scored record in league football until that was emphatically wiped out in the 30s.
The team travelling to North America for a summer tour included two of the club’s best ever wingers Alan Morton and Sandy Archibald.
“The wee blue devil” – as Morton is affectionately known – was one of the finest footballers to pull on the famous jersey and he won nine league titles with the Ibrox club.
Morton was a regular in the Scotland national team and both played a huge part in the stunning victory over England in 1928, where he combined with other excellent attacking talents such as Alex James and Alex Jackson to secure a historic win at Wembley.
The left-sided winger dazzled defenders with his wonderful dribbling skills, combined with pace and a terrific end product.
Archibald, on the other hand, was a strong, dynamic winger and was not necessarily as skilful as Morton but his powerful build and fine turn of pace made it incredibly difficult for defenders to win the ball of him.
Both wingers were complemented perfectly by inside-forwards Andy Cunningham, Jimmy Fleming and legendary centre-forward Bob McPhail.
The young McPhail, in his first full season with the club, netted 17 goals in the treble-winning season. His goal record for the season was not the highest as he was pipped by inside-forward Jimmy Fleming who had an incredible 33 league goals in 34 appearances and he famously holds the record as having scored the most goals in the Scottish Cup wearing the Light Blues.
Fleming, however, was denied a goal in the famous Scottish Cup final of 1928 by a handball on the goal-line from Celtic’s desperate captain Willie McStay, but goals from Davie Meiklejohn, McPhail and a double from Archibald delighted the record crowd of 118,115 at Hampden Park.
It is not surprising that this very talented bunch of players were well-received on their trip to the United States and Canada where they would play 10 games over May and June.
Based in the East Coast of the USA for the opening few matches, Rangers directors Baille Duncan Graham and James Bowie were joined by the travelling group from Glasgow who were embraced by Scottish clans in New York.
The clans gave the Scottish champions a warm welcome with a banquet on their arrival and after arriving on the SS California, built in 1907, they were greeted with kilt-wearing bagpipe players as they came ashore.
Rangers kicked off their tour on May 30 with Struth’s men taking on Eastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the locals were blown away by what the local press called “an impressive looking team” on their pre-match training session.
Over 4,000 fans watched the opening match of the “Rangers Invasion of the USA” and the gallous champions dazzled their way to an 8-2 victory over the hosts – in albeit horrific weather conditions that almost postponed the match.
Local admirers of the beautiful game were told to cherish the visit of the Rangers and Struth treated them with a full-strength side of: T. Hamilton; Gray, R. Hamilton; Buchanan, Meiklejohn, Craig; Archibald, Cunningham, Fleming, McPhail, Morton.
And it was Rangers’ potent attacking line – who played “fast attack” according to the New York Times – with the super Jimmy Fleming scoring a hat-trick, along with Bob McPhail who also netted three times. The Light Blues completed the thumping with goals from Alan Morton and Sandy Archibald.
Part Two will include Rangers’ trips to New York and Massachutetts where the Light Blues took on Brooklyn Wanderers and US giants Fall River Marksmen.