Hearts v Rangers 1959

Programme of the Week – Heart of Midlothian vs Rangers 11th April 1959

The latest in a series about football programmes from my collection that relate to a game being played in the next few days.

Heart of Midlothian vs Rangers 2019 / 2020

We’re back up in Scotland this week, where Hearts and Rangers meet in the Quarter Final of the Scottish Cup. I can imagine that it’s a welcome break from the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership for both clubs. Heart of Midlothian have had a dreadful season so far. They sit bottom of the table, with 19 points from 27 games and have won only three league games so far.

Hearts are two points behind Hamilton Academical (with a game in hand) who are in the relegation play off spot. They are a further four points behind St. Mirren who are ‘safe’ in 10th.

Back in October, Hearts fought out a 1-1 draw at Tynecastle Park with Rangers, and then, also at home, beat them 2-1 in January. This was a rare high spot in the season.

However, they have been beaten 0-3 and 0-5 in league and cup matches at Ibrox Park this season.

Rangers’ priorities?

As for Rangers, one imagines that their top priority is always to win the league title (and probably any other domestic trophy) at the expense of their East End neighbours Celtic.

Doesn’t seem as if the league is within their grasp this year. Two draws and a defeat in their last five league games have seen a 12-point gap open up with Celtic, who in the corresponding period won all five league games. Rangers have a game in hand, but it may be a stretch too far to claw back the difference.

However, this week, Rangers progressed to the round of 16 in the Europa League. Home and away victories over Sporting Braga (winners of Wolverhampton Wanderers qualifying group) have set up a mouth-watering tie with Bayer Leverkusen. Leverkusen are presently fifth in the German Bundesliga, just six points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

It won’t have escaped the blue half of Glasgow, that Celtic were knocked out at the same stage of the Europa League, by ex- Wolves Manager Stale Solbakken’s FC Copenhagen.

In the previous round of the Scottish Cup, Heart of Midlothian won 1-0 away at Falkirk. Rangers despatched Hamilton Academical 4-1 at New Douglas Park.

Heart of Midlothian vs Rangers 11th April 1959

In April 1959, the teams met at Tynecastle Park in the Scottish League First Division.

Rangers are top of the league. They have played 32 (of 34) games and have 50 points. Hearts are second on 44 points with a game in hand. It looks close, but these are the days of two points for a win. The most points Hearts can get is 50, but if Rangers win their final game they will have 52. Hearts final three games are Rangers at home; Celtic away & Aberdeen away!

Rangers final match is also away at Aberdeen.

It’s a Saturday and this is a 3pm kick off.

Heart of Midlothian vs Rangers 11th April 1959 – Match Programme

Hearts produce a 12 page programme for the game which costs 3d.

It’s a maroon; black and white affair. On the front cover is a black and white photograph of a young Hearts player, but I just can’t identify him. Help please!

There are small sized adverts dotted about the programme. These promote such diverse brands as The News of the World and the Bank of Scotland, through to Jeffrey’s Lager and King George IV Old Scotch Whisky.

On the inside cover is an editorial called ‘Points from the Pavilion’ which seems to concede the title to Rangers. Alongside on page three is the ‘Dressing Room Diary’ that charts the title race to date. Without doubt, the 1958 / 1959 title race was one of the best for years.

Pages four & five – ‘Club Chronicle’ reflect on recent matches for the first team and the reserves. These games include a 7-2 friendly win against an Inverness Select side and a 4-1 home win for the reserves against Third Lanark Reserves.

The cartoon on page five ‘Gorgie Giggles’ is typical of the ‘Andy Capp’ style of the day! Below it is the Programme of music for the City of Edinburgh Band.

Heart of Midlothian vs Rangers 11th April 1959 – The Teams

The centre pages list the two teams and already I’m in a quandary as to who the Main Men will be below. In the Hearts side are Anglo Scottish goalkeeper Gordon Marshall; Wing half Bobby Blackwood and the legendary John Cumming. Only a month earlier, Dave Mackay had been sold to Tottenham Hotspur. Can’t imagine what a gap that left!

The Rangers team also has a notable goalkeeper in George Niven. In front of him is Bobby Shearer who twice deputised in goal for Rangers, once against Hearts in a cup match. The half back line contains Willie Stevenson who later transferred to Liverpool and Scotland & Rangers legend, winger Davie Wilson.

Pages eight and ten of the programme welcome Rangers “there are no more popular visitors”. Page nine continues the ‘Club Chronicle’ and Dressing Room Diary’ features.

According to pages 10 and 11, there are two showings of the half time results. Firstly we get the England v Scotland International and the Scottish Games; then we will be shown the English top flight scores, but not Notts County vs Norwich City being played on the same day.

The back cover shows the League Tables for the first team and the reserves as well as the fixtures for the first team.

During this season, Heart of Midlothian won the Scottish League Cup beating Partick Thistle 5-1 in the final. They were knocked out of the European Cup by Standard Liege of Belgium.

Heart of Midlothian vs Rangers 11th April 1959 – The Main Men

I’ve gone for two great forwards, each of whom I had the pleasure of seeing towards the end of their illustrious careers. At number 9 for Heart of Midlothian is Alex Young. He had joined Hearts in 1955 and debuted as an 18 year old. He played just short of 200 games for the Jambo’s and transferred to Everton in 1960 for £55,000 (along with George Thomson).

Over eight years at Goodison Park, Young won an FA Cup Medal in 1966 and his style of play led Danny Blanchflower to ‘christen him’ The Golden Vision. Injuries plagued his later playing years, but during a short 23 game spell at Stockport County in 1968-69 I saw him play.

At number 10 for Rangers is Ralph Brand – surely the inspiration for Rover & Wizards ‘Wally Brand: The Ball of Fire!”

Brand joined Rangers in 1952 after being spotted in a Schoolboy International at Wembley.

Over an 11 year career with Rangers, Ralph played 317 times for the club and scored 206 goals. He is the clubs all time third highest scorer. In the 1960 / 1961 season Rangers reached the final of the European Cup Winners Cup. Brand and Alex Scott scored as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi final first leg at Ibrox. A 1-1 draw in the second leg at Molineux took the Scottish Side to a two legged final with Fiorentina.

Rangers lost 0-2 at home and 1-2 in the away leg in Italy.

Ralph Brand left Rangers in 1965 to join Manchester City, where I had the privilege of seeing him play. At Maine Road in August 1965 he partnered former Wolves stalwart Jimmy Murray against the Black Country Club in a 2-1 victory in the old English Second Division.

Heart of Midlothian vs Rangers 11th April 1959 – The Outcome

Well, the end of the season did not disappoint!

Hearts won the game 2-0 in front of a full house of 30,000. Four days later they travelled to Pittodrie and beat Aberdeen 4-2 in their game in hand.

All now rested on the final Saturday – 18th April 1959. Rangers are 2 points ahead and at home to Aberdeen. Hearts travel to Celtic Park.

Rangers are beaten 1-2, but Celtic beat Hearts by the same score to hand the title to their rivals from Govan.

Rangers and Hearts end the season in identical goal difference, scoring and conceding the same.

A win at Celtic Park would have given the Jambo’s the title on goal difference!

Best of luck to both sides on Saturday – a Scottish Cup Semi Final awaits!