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Rangers Index
European Cup-Winners Cup

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Rangers' European Cup-Winners' Cup victory on 24 May 1972, when we defeated Moscow Dynamo 3-2, felt like it had been a long time coming. It was the Light Blues' 14th campaign in European football, stretching back to a European Cup match against Nice at Ibrox on 24 October 1956.Furthermore, the final clash against the Russians in Barcelona was Rangers' 83rd European competitive tie, and in reaching the final Willie Waddell's men became the first team to record three final appearances in the Cup-Winners' Cup.
Barcelona itself had seen an invasion of Rangers fans: 110 charter flights, 203 buses and many more travelling independently brought the Rangers support to around 16,000. In contrast, Moscow Dynamo were backed by around 400 fans.
In terms of playing personnel, Colin Jackson had broken down in training, his ankle unable to withstand further rigour, but on the plus side captain John Greig had recovered and was set to make his return from injury.
It was a terrific final under the new floodlights of the Camp Nou for the attacking football that was played, though the numerous invasions by exuberant Rangers fans and the subsequent heavy handedness of the Spanish police marred Rangers' greatest moment.


'The Barcelona Bears'

Team autographs from the back of the above photograph

1st round 15 Sep 1971  Rennes ( France) 1 v 1   Rangers
  28 Sep 1971  Rangers 1 v 0   Rennes
2nd Round 20 Oct 1971  Rangers 3 v 2   Sporting Lisbon ( Portugal)
   3 Nov 1971  Sporting Lisbon 4 v 3   Rangers
Quarter final  8 Mar 1972  Torino (Italy) 1 v 1   Rangers
  22 Mar 1972  Rangers 1 v 0   Torino
Semi-final  5 Apr 1972  Bayern Munich (Germany) 1 v 1   Rangers
  19 Apr 1972  Rangers 2 v 0   Bayern Munich


Round 1- 2nd leg
28 Sep 1971

Round 2 - 1st leg
20 Oct 1971

Quarter final 2nd leg
22 Mar 1972


Semi-final  5 Apr 1972  Bayern Munich (Germany) 1 v 1   Rangers
  19 Apr 1972  Rangers 2 v 0   Bayern Munich

Semi-final 2nd leg at Ibrox 19th April 1972
Captain John Greig was injured and Dave Smith, that fabulous left half, was stand-in skipper.
 Seen here welcoming Bayern Munich captain Franz Beckenbauer


Rangers won the 1972 European Cup-Winners' Cup the hard way, beating some great sides on the way to Barcelona and in the final itself.  24 May 1972   Camp Nou, Barcelona Attendance: 24,701
Rangers: McCloy, Jardine, Mathieson, Greig, Johnstone, Smith, McLean, Conn, Stein, MacDonald, Johnston
                               ( other members :-Penman, Parlane, Jackson, McKinnon, Denny, Fyfe )
Moscow Dynamo: Pilgui, Basalaycev, Dolmatov, Zykov, Dolbonosov (Gerschkovich), Zukov, Baidazhnyi,
                               Jakobik (Eschtrekov), Sabo, Mahovikov, Evriuschkin                    

Rangers 3
(Johnston 2, Stein)
.v Moscow Dynamo 2
(Eschtrekov, Mahovikov)
The score at half-time was 2-0.




Rangers won the Cup-Winners' Cup in season '71/'72 for a number of reasons. First, there was absolute determination in the camp. Captain John Greig has spoken of his team's will to win, especially for the long-suffering Rangers fans who had stuck by the team “in the dark seasons without success”.

Secondly, Rangers seemed able to raise their game for the European matches that season. Domestically, the Light Blues had had an abysmal start to their season,

Thirdly, their European experience eventually paid off in terms of tactical nous. Willie Waddell varied his team's system considerably, depending on players available to him and on what he had seen on his spying trips abroad. Three times they managed 1-1 scorelines away from home, scoring nine goals on foreign soil in total. All four home matches were won
Lastly, aggression, skill and a fabulous work rate characterised this Rangers side. Colin Stein and Willie Johnston fronted 5-3-2 and 4-4-2 formations, their duty to close down opposition defenders' space drummed into them by Waddell and assistant manager Jock Wallace. With Greig driving the team on, Colin Jackson and Derek Johnstone defending with vigour, and Dave Smith, Scotland's Player of the Year that season, having returned in September 1971 from two broken legs in the space of a year, displaying composure and superb distribution of the ball, the elements for victory were there.
As the years have passed and memories fade, the controversy surrounding the crowd trouble has lessened and what is remembered is that a team of Scottish players played and beat the best that France, Portugal, Italy, West Germany and the Soviet Union had to offer.
History books point to the fact that this was one of the great European Finals where one side blazed into the lead only to be pegged back and nearly caught in the second-half by a determined opposition



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