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Newcastle United The Chronicle

Thousands of Newcastle United fans head North to watch the Magpies grind out a 0-0 Fairs Cup draw at Ibrox

If Glasgow Rangers and its fans are enduring a footballing nightmare these days, things were different back in 1969.

For generations the club had, along with Celtic, been a formidable competitor in the perennial two-horse race for titles and trophies in Scotland.

It was on this day 46 years ago that Newcastle United headed North of the border to the intimidating fortress of Ibrox for the first leg of the Fairs Cup semi-final.

If much has been written of the thuggery of Rangers fans and Newcastle’s ultimate victory in the second leg at St James’ Park, the foundations of that night of drama were laid in Glasgow a week earlier.

At a raucous Ibrox, around 10,000 United fans in a crowd of 75,000 watched wave after wave of Rangers attacks founder on the rocks of a brilliant defensive display by the Toon.

If the Blues could field the likes of Colin Stein and Sandy Jardine, United could boast a centre-back pairing of Bobby Moncur and former Celtic stopper John McNamee, who was a target of constant abuse for the home support.

Behind them was keeper Wille McFaul who dived full-length to save an Andy Penman penalty and help secure a hard-fought 0-0 draw.

Looking back years later, skipper Moncur recalled how the hard work had been done in Scotland.

He told the Chronicle: “On that day we had five Scots in the side including myself. There was John McNamee, Tommy Gibb, Jimmy Scott and Jackie Sinclair.

“The one thing I remember when we were walking out at Ibrox was the awe in the eyes of the boys who had played in Scotland. I never had, but they were used to going there and getting hammered.

“As a result we had to do a bit of a job on them before kick-off. They were used to getting stuffed there but we had to tell them, ‘we’re better than Rangers, and we’ll beat them’.”

Meanwhile, again years later, McFaul was modest about his role in the success.

He recalled: “Sure, the penalty save at Ibrox was critical, but Joe Harvey said I had to save the kick because I’d given the penalty away,” before adding, “Joe’s one-liners were always top-drawer.”


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