Ayr Utd 2
Rangers 1
League (1st Division)

Ayr Utd
2 - 1

League (1st Division)
Saturday, September 13th, 1969
Somerset Park
Attendance: 25,225

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Team Managers

Starting Eleven


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Red Cards
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Match Officials

Match Report

The greatest game ever played at Somerset Park – and a record- breaker that will never be beaten.

Exactly 50 years ago this week – September 13, 1969 – a bumper 25,225 fans squeezed into every corner of the ground to watch Ayr United beat Rangers 2-1.

Young and old spilled out of the over- crowded terracings and had to lie on the trackside, incredibly only inches away from the players.

Dick Malone, who went on to win the FA Cup with Sunderland only four years later, says he will never forget the scenes or the after-match reaction of Rangers fans which he branded as pathetic.

I was an excited 12-year-old, perched high on my Dad’s shoulders, as together we craned to savour every second of a stunning win that only manager Ally MacLeod had dared to predict.

Dad, who had black and white blood in his veins, was on a business course in deepest England at the time.

But that didn’t stop him making a 730- mile round trip, arriving north the night before so that we could be there.

Together, we roared as Cutty Young seized on a Bobby Rough pass, rounded full-back Willie Mathieson and drove high past keeper Gerry Neef from 25 yards.
Incredibly, only 14 minutes were gone when Jackie Ferguson doubled the lead.

A trademark Malone cross and Alex Ingram header found Ferguson who outpaced John Greig to head the ball home.

The Ayr defence stood firm as Rangers tried everything to reply but many of their fans had already given up and were streaming down McCall’s Avenue en route to Newton-on-Ayr station when Colin Stein scored in injury time.

Somerset folklore has it that as Ally’s heroes were leaving the pitch at full-time, Jim Baxter chirped to them: “Your bonus will be a fish supper.”

The attendance – which can never be bettered – was probably even higher as not all fans entered through the turnstiles. Some used illegal means to climb into the ground from Somerset Road with supporters hanging over the perimeter wall to haul in their mates.

Malone, now 72, remembers the game well but was saddened by the reaction of some Rangers fans who had turned up expecting a stroll in the park.

He recalls: “It was a pity some of their fans took the defeat the way they did and threw their scarves on the pitch at the end. It was pathetic.

“Ally was a fantastic manager and had us believing we could beat anyone. If we had been playing Real Madrid, Ally would have had a plan to beat them.

“He was always upbeat and there was nothing that made him think we wouldn’t win a game.

“We didn’t necessarily have the best players but Ally had the knack of blending them into a team.

“Ally had us playing in triangles. We could get the ball from back to front in two or three easy moves.

“The one thing he was adamant about was that the wingers grafted up and down the flanks non stop.

“In today’s terminology I was a wing-back and a lot of Ayr’s goals came from crosses which were aimed for the head of Alex Ingram who was brilliant in the air.”

Dick joined Ayr from Shotts Bon Accord in 1964 for a princely £20 a week, a lot of money in these days, he contends. He went on to make 235 starts, scoring 30 goals before joining Sunderland for £30,000 in 1970.

Shortly before heading south, the marauding full-back was capped for Scotland Under 23s in a 4-0 win over France at Hampden.

Dick, who was inducted into the Ayr Hall of Fame in 2010, maintains: “The highlight of my playing career was undoubtedly winning the FA Cup with Sunderland when we beat Leeds United 1-0 in the final at Wembley.

“But the best footballing time of my life was under Ally.

“I never felt any fitter than when I was at Ayr even although we trained only two nights week.

“At Ayr, I was good for goals every season – I even scored a hat-trick in one game – as Ally wanted me to shoot
from up to 30 yards because I had a powerful shot.

“But when I joined Sunderland, they wanted me to get out of that habit and pass the ball instead so I scored only two goals in my time there.”

Match report written by Ayrshire Post

Squad Statistics (as at September 13th, 1969)

1969-70 All Time

League Table (as at September 13th, 1969)

No league table has been added for this season.