Who Put The Ball In The Rangers Net?

by William Sheridan
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DAVIE McPARLAND

27.09.1954 Rangers [n] W2-0 (Glasgow Cup Final)
Davie McParland (1-0, 18 mins); John Harvey (2-0, 81 mins)

Davie was yet another protégé of the Davie Meiklejohn era who would, himself, eventually take his philosophies and influences into the realms of football management.

For now, he was the raw teenager being given a chance to perform at the highest level – and boy, did he take it. Only last Tuesday, he had hit the headlines as the young man that heroically settled the epic 3 game struggle in the Glasgow Cup Semi Final, shooting a glorious last-minute winner in a 5-4 victory over Celtic on their own turf. That he would go on to be the hero of the hour against Rangers in the final just 6 days later is simply ridiculous for a 19-year-old, but that’s what transpired in front of 45,000 on this Monday afternoon at Hampden Park.

Thistle were “overwhelmingly superior in the arts and crafts of the game”, and the performance was all the more remarkable considering it was achieved with only 10 men for the majority of the match. After half-an-hours play, inside-right Bobby Bell was effectively put out of the game when a tackle by Menzies left his knee in bad shape. Bell limped on a few minutes at a time here and there, but eventually had to admit defeat, finally retiring several minutes into the second half.

The Glasgow Herald correspondent was keen to underline that their were no excuses for Rangers: “Let us not hear a word of the foolish theory that it is more difficult to play against 10 men than 11; otherwise one may suggest to Rangers that in future they should start a match a player short… It was astonishing to see the ease with which the handicapped Thistle side, several of whom in addition to Bell were limping at various stages, could spreadeagle their opponents. Bell, Smith and McParland, all of whom are in their ‘teens and all reserve players, were confident in their trapping and control of the ball and shrewd as veterans in their use of it.

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Capitalizing on their fine early play, Thistle got the goal that they so richly deserved in the 18th minute. A Johnny MacKenzie cross was headed out of the Rangers box by Geordie Young, but he only succeeded in teeing it up for Davie McParland who took it on the volley from the 18-yard-line and sent it flying, body-high, past future-Jag Geordie Niven in the Rangers goal, the force of the ball threatening to uproot his left-hand stanchion as it did so. 1-0 to the Jags!

As the clock ran down, an equally brilliant goal from John Harvey served to underline Thistle’s superiority; but for some slack finishing, the winning margin would have been much greater.

Davie McParland had his first taste of silverware. The hunger for more success, and the belief that anything was possible, stayed with him for the next 20 years at Thistle!

Publishing date Originally published on 18-Dec-2017 (WAT).
Thistle Archive publishing date Republished here on The Thistle Archive, 07-Sep-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 18-Dec-2017.





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