Who Put The Ball In The Rangers Net?

by William Sheridan
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IAN MCDONALD

03.05.1980 Rangers [h] W4-3 (SFL Premier Division - game 34)
Alex O'Hara (1-1, 37 mins); Alex O'Hara (2-1, 44 mins); Colin McAdam (3-1, 50 mins); Ian McDonald (4-1, 78 mins)

Season 1979-80 was an exciting one in Scottish football, with one of the tightest top-flights ever seen. Thistle themselves finished a mere 12 points behind the champion club, Aberdeen, who, incidentally, celebrated effectively winning the League on this day with a 5-0 win at Easter Road.

With 2 games to play, Rangers were desperate to win the points at Firhill, and manager John Greig boldly opted for a 4-2-4 in a sure-fire statement of intent. They had to win this match, or their chances of qualifying for the UEFA Cup were dead. To help them on their way, Ian Foote, a trusty old ally of theirs, awarded a 27th minute penalty. Sandy Jardine took it, but despite Roughie saving his third consecutive spot-kick, Bobby Russell was quick-off-the-mark to dink home the rebound over Scotland's #1. Safe from relegation, but tantalisingly just out of reach of a European place, Thistle had nothing to play for, except pride alone. At this point, it might have been expected that the end-of-season vibe might have kicked in, and perhaps a 2 or 3 nil away win would have been the predicted outcome by most. What followed, however, was 50 minutes of non-stop football fun for all Jagskind, or 65 minutes if you count the happy pie and bovril time up at the wee yellow shop.

‘Rangers reject’ Alex O’Hara took great delight in scoring twice before half-time, and big Colin McAdam bent in a beauty of a free-kick in 50 minutes, receiving the loudest roar on the day. By rights, it should really be the big man’s goal as the feature, but I’ve opted for Ian McDonald’s goal simply for the laughs. Rangers, gunning for Europe, with 4 men up front, leading after a penalty, suddenly found themselves 4-1 down at Firhill with just over 10 minutes to play. Sensation! That’s my kind of script.

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The goal itself wasn’t exactly spectacular – it was stabbed home from a good old stramash – but those of a red n yellow persuasion cared not a jot. The carefree Jags were 4-1 up against the desperate Gers. What joy, what fun, we had Rangers on the run!

With 32 credited to his Jaggy account, Ian, undoubtedly, has scored better goals during his Thistle career, but I doubt any have been received quite so gleefully as this one!

p.s. On the Wednesday, to complete a marvellous week of Old Firm bubble-bursting, Thistle (uniquely unbeaten against the champion club this season), decided not to beat Aberdeen by 10 clear goals in their last League game of the season, thereby denying Celtic the title.

Publishing date Originally published on 14-Dec-2017 (WAT).
Thistle Archive publishing date Republished here on The Thistle Archive, 07-Sep-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 14-Dec-2017.

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