RANGERS continue to work in Florida today ahead of their first game in the Florida Cup tomorrow against Atletico Mineiro.
Throughout the history of the club, the Light Blues have travelled to America on many different occasions and across the next couple of weeks, we are going to be remembering those trips across the pond in a series of articles.
We’ve already remembered the tour of the states from 1928 and from today we start to remember yet another historic trip from 1930.
Following on from Rangers’ tour of North America in 1928, the club embarked on its second voyage across the Atlantic just two years later where they would dazzle American and Canadian soccer fans in a fourteen-match trip.
Struth’s men racked up their fourth consecutive league championship and won every trophy available during the 1929-30 campaign. The Light Blues won the title by five points and secured the Glasgow Cup, the Scottish Cup and the Charity Cup. Not only that, the reserve sides won both the League and Cup with a young Jimmy Smith scoring 51 goals across the season.
Such was the high demand of the Rangers travelling party, they were invited to a number of functions in the days before their opening match in Toronto. The players swapped football for the golf course when they were invited guests to Kanawaki Golf Club in Montreal on the morning of their arrival, and the day after, visited Carsteel Football Club for a dinner function.
Rangers kicked off their tour in Toronto with a match against Toronto Ulster United in front of nearly 10,000 at the Ulster Stadium. There were a number of changes from the last travelling party from Glasgow who played in North America but the likes of Sandy Archibald, Jimmy Fleming and Alan Morton survived. Joining the aforementioned trio in the Rangers frontline were George Brown and Tommy Muirhead.
Brown was naturally a left-half and the 23-year-old went on to play over 230 times for Rangers in a 13-year career with the club. He joined from Ayr United in 1929 and went on to become a director at the club after his retirement.
Muirhead was a part of the travelling group who played in 1928 but he started this campaign in an inside-forward position. The left-half secured his third consecutive league win as a Rangers captain and would soon hand over the reigns to Davie Meiklejohn in the coming months.
The Gers were up against one of the forces of Canadian Soccer and in an enthralling game, the visitors came out on top 4-3 in Toronto. Rangers took the lead through an own goal although the ‘Red Handers’ equalised through Mathieson on the stroke of half-time.
Alan Morton put the Gers back in front from the penalty spot but a resilient Ulster United equalised again through Graham. Debutant Moin put the hosts ahead but a terrific final 15 minutes from the Scottish champions and two goals from Jimmy Fleming, including the winner just three minutes from time, was enough to secure a victory.
The club’s preferred method of travel was a cruise liner and they made the short trip across Lake Ontario to Hamilton were they would be based for two days.
With a game in New York City the following day, Rangers made two changes from the team that won 4-3 in Toronto with Meiklejohn and Nicholson replacing Jimmy Simpson and Alan Morton respectively. However, it was one-way traffic in Hamilton with the Gers cruising to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Struth’s men were quickly building a reputation of “glorious combination and brilliant passing movements” and they took the lead in the first-half through Nicholson before two goals from Jimmy Fleming in the second period sealed a second victory for the Light Blues in North America.
The prolific Jimmy Fleming netted 10 goals in the last tour in 1928 and had four goals in two games by the end of the first week of action. In another excellent season for the inside-forward, he scored 34 goals in 43 matches for Rangers across the season and was the club’s top goalscorer for the fifth season in a row.
Part two looks at a congested second week of football for Rangers with games in New York, Massachusetts, Montreal and Winnipeg.
Gers In America 1928