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Aberdeen 3 - 2 Rangers

HT Score: Aberdeen 2 - 0 Rangers

Southern League Cup Final
Aberdeen scorers: Baird 1, Williams 19, Taylor 90.
Rangers scorers: Duncanson 49, Thornton 70

11/05/1946 | KO: 15:00

Flawless Dons

Mastering the vagaries of a light ball on the hard ground, the Aberdeen half-backs, Cowie, Dunlop and Taylor, were the rock on which Rangers foundered in as thrilling and dramatic a Cup Final as has ever been played on Hampden Park.
It was thrilling in that Aberdeen scored two goals in the first and tenth minute of the first half, and Rangers in a courageous and fighting rally scored as many in the first fourteen minutes of the second half; it was dramatic in that Taylor, almost with the last kick of the game, shot the winning goal when the 120000 spectators were convinced that extra time would be needed to settle this rousing duel. However fortuitous Taylor's goal - the ball almost miraculously, it seemed, pierced Rangers' packed goalmouth - justice was served in the end; the honours were with Aberdeen. It was the work both in defence and attack of the Aberdeen half-backs that won the day for the Northern side, and for once Rangers had to play second fiddle in a department of the game in which they are usually supreme.
Watkins and the veteran Symon failed signally to take the ball through in a way that Cowie and Taylor did while Young was thrown out of his stride by the terrier like tactics of little Williams; Aberdeen's South African centre which was in striking contrast with the calm and confident fashion in which Dunlop controlled Arnison. While Dunlop was perhaps the personality of the match, the crowd was completely captivated by Cowie's prodigious throwing of the ball from the touchline right into the heart of the Rangers defence. With a little run, Cowie skied the ball vast distances, high or low, and once or twice Shaw in the Rangers goal had to step lively.
Indeed the first of these spectacular throws in the first minute paved the way for Baird to head home the opening goal.
It was strange to see Shaw, the Scotland Captain, so upset. He found young Kiddie, slyly backed by Hamilton, often more than he could manage. No doubt Shaw shared in Rangers' general consternation when that first minute goal was scored while his confidence suffered another rude blow when a little later a faulty attempt to clear on his part allowed Kiddie to go through and lay on the ball for Williams to score with as fine a hooked shot as has been seen for many a day.

Perhaps the most spectacular goal of the match was scored by Thornton. Arnison, lying well back, made the pass. Thornton was on it like a shot and before the Aberdeen defence knew where they were he had run almost 30 yards before firing a terrific ball into the corner of the net. Cooper, Aberdeen's veteran right-back had the Caskie Duncanson wing subdued, although had Charlie been able to shoot first time instead of trying to bring the ball under control he might have had at least one goal to his credit.
Duncanson headed Rangers' second goal. There were several 'near things' to keep the crowd shouting. Thornton, Kiddie and Cowie all had shots saved by the woodwork.

Source: Glasgow Herald, 13th May 1946

Aberdeen have crowned their greatest season. Only a last minute goal by half-back Taylor gave them the League Cup at Hampden, but they were always ahead of Rangers in craft and spirit, with their half-backs kings of the day.

Craft That Rocked Rangers

THEY came. They saw. They conquered.
if ever team was supposed to be fighting a lost cause, it was Aberdeen. If ever a team was to find in Hampden's many-headed multitude an occasion too big for them, it was Aberdeen.
Yet, if ever a team deserved to win one of the most sensational cup finals in history, it still definitely was Aberdeen.
Here was a cup-tinal with rasping flavour. A game which in the end may have gone either way, but which fate decided should to the better side. Individually, constructively, even in headwork, Aberdeen were ahead of Rangers.
Biggest factor in their success was halfback power. As in the International, that factor spelt victory. My pencil is almost hoarse writing the praises of Frank Dunlop. Here he was my show piece, more than living up to all the good things I've said about him.


How he kept that shuttle service going on either side of him! When Dons were the attack you found Cowie and Taylor lying handy behind Baird and Hamilton. But, when the boot was on the other foot and defence was the order of the day, there were the two inside men back working with the wing halves.
These four moved forwards and backwards so easily they might have been on rails.
Here, too, I say, was the rock Rangers perished on. Everyone knows how these Ibrox lads love the empty space to work in That Symon pass into the gap which has brought them so many goals.
Well, it just didn't occur here. Not once do I remember any part of Dons' half of the field which resembled Aberdeen on a flag day.
And, with no emptv space, Rangers' wing halfs were left thinking out other moves. But in the quick-thinking game, too, they had met their masters. It just was Aberdeen's day.
When Jock Shaw won the toss and put the sun in Rangers' eyes by taking advantage of a slight breeze. I thought a mistake had been made, but still have a feeling it was a big factor in Aberdeen's flying start. And what a start! Only Rangers' player to touch the ball was Caskie before the Light Blues found themselves a goal down!
Straight from the kick-off Dons got cracking down the right, and Wee Jimmy had to kick into touch. Cowie shoved a "Jackie Husband" throw-in right into goal. Hamilton wriggled under the ball, did what no one expected him to do simply back-headed it.
When I say no one expected it - well, I'm wrong. Baird knows his Hamilton. Archie knew what was coming.
There he was, standing in just the place to take Hamilton's flick on his forehead, and pilot it low down past Shaw. Talk about a scene! Aberdeen supporters were even giving themselves away.


We, of course, were the knowing ones. We had seen Rangers give Hearts a first minute goal, then gradually put the screw on. We knew our Rangers. At least, we thought we did, till Aberdeen came away and smacked on another to sky-high all our ideas.
Cowie raised an Aberdeen siege by thumping a clever telling ball away up the middle. Jock Shaw, worried by Kiddie, miskicked. Kiddie, like a panther, poun'ced on the ball and hooked it into the middle.
In darted Williams, like the Springbok he is, to toe-end the ball into the net. Quick thinking. And a just reward for forward co-operation.
It was understanding in attack that made these Dons look so good. Especially in that devastating first half, when they had as much magic in the front line as Betty Grable has in the waist-line.
It certainly was Aberdeen's half. All the time I had the feeling Rangers' attack was developing into too much of a oneman show. "Give it to Willie Waddell " was definitely the motto of the Ibrox supporters. And the players had a tendency to follow suit.
But, as soon as Waddell was off on one of his runs, the whole Aberdeen team seemed to closing in on him. Picture a hare tearing along with five greyhounds after it and you have Waddell on the ball down to a "T."
It was a much better Rangers we saw in the second half. A short rest from the worrying tactics of Williams, the clashing flashes of Kiddie, and the upsetting, square cross-field passes of Hamilton and Baird had done them good. Because Rangers were worried. Here was a team playing better Rangers football than Rangers.
So Rangers set about it as Rangers so often do. In a goalmouth melee Arniston headed strongly. Johnstone got his fingers to it. Cooper overstretched himself trying to get his head to it. In came Duncanson, leapt head and shoulders over everyone else and headed strongly home.
Was this the start? Was this the writing on the wall? Would Aberdeen go the way of all flesh which opposes Light Blue jerseys?
Well, here was their reply. Kiddie smacked a beauty right on to the face of the bar. Cowie shot through a crowd of players. His shot caught the foot of the post - and jumped up into the waiting arms of Shaw.
Hereabouts the game reached its zenith for excitement, if not for skill. Something was bound to happen. Something did. Rangers equalised with the finest goal Hampden has seen scored for many a year. I was happy there was such an immense crowd there to see we still have the players capable of old-fashioned individualistic effort.


Willie Thornton was the hero of the piece. Never has he scored a bonnier. It wasn't just case of beating the defence. He had them outstripped before they knew what was happening. On he went with everything under control. Out came Johnstone to narrow the angle. In went Willie's shot to score the goal of the match - ay, the goal of the season.
Now the fat was in the fire. Rangers were right up off their knees and on their toes. A splendid fight back. Only Rangers, we thought, could have turned this game round and snatched it out of the fire. The ref. was looking at his watch. We were reckoning on a draw. But we reckoned without the spirit of these Dons from the North.
In a terrific last-minute, last thirty second rally the Dons swarmed round Rangers' goal. Everyone except the Torry Lighthouse-keeper seemed to be there.
Taylor out to McCall. Rangers packed their goal. McCall back to Taylor look a chance and shot through the crowd. The ball seemed to just miss a million legs as it sped into the net.
The ref.'s final whistle was drenched in the cheering which was still going on. The cup was Aberdeen's.
This was the kind of game which demanded stamina. Twenty-two plyers gave all they had. Rising to the heights of stardom, I'd put Aberdeen's three backs, left-back M'Kenna, and that match-winning pair of schemers Hamilton and Baird.
Once Rangers got past their worrying stage Young was a tower of strength. Symon tried all his wiles, and Waddell was all there, but outnumbered. Thorntton supplied the delicacies.
And mention of the stars automatically brings in Willie Webb. The ref. had a five-star "game." Good whistling Willie!
But it was all so grand, with 135,000 proud at the way Aberdeen took their victory, proud at the way Rangers took their defeat.
Honestly, isn't it a great game this football?

Source: Jack Harkness,Sunday Post, 12th May 1946


Nation-Wide Congratulations On Popular Victory

From Our Own Representative

Aberdeen awaits impatiently an opportunity to greet the eleven men who made football history on Saturday by defeating Rangers 3-2 in the League Cup final and bringing the first national trophy to the city, Glasgow and the West of Scotland acclaimed them on Saturday night.

Crowds stood cheering loudly in the streets of Glasgow as the bus, gaily bedecked with red and white ribbons - the team's colours - took the Dons from the scene of their great triumph at Hampden Park to the North British Hotel.
There were cheers again as the team and officials left the hotel after dinner to return to their quarters at Largs.
The journey from Glasgow to Largs was a triumphal tour with people gathering in the streets of the towns and villages through which the bus passed to cheer the victory-flushed Dons.
Messages of congratulations by telegram and telephone reached Largs from all parts of Scotland on Saturday night.
Outstanding figures in Scottish football hailed Aberdeen's victory, representatives of teams defeated by the Dons on their way to the final sent their "Well done" messages and from Aberdeen and the North-east came hundreds of expressions of pride and joy.

"Doubting Thomas"

Mr Thomas Loudon, stationmaster at the Joint Station, the man who saw the Dons' supporters at Hampden safely off from Aberdeen in the special trains, was doubtful about the result.
In a telegram sent to Mr William Mitchell, chairman of the Aberdeen club, he said - "Heartiest congratulations. A doubting Thomas repents. I am very happy."
Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Lord Provost, who attended the matcn, voiced the citizens' congratulations in the Dons' dressing room after the final.
The 16,000 spectators from Aberdeen and the North-east who went to Glasgow by road, rail and air joined in one of the most amazing scenes of enthusiasm seen in the famous Hampden enclosure.
They kept up a continuous roar of applause for ten minutes during the cup presentation ceremony.

Hopes and Ambitions

Receiving the cup from Provost D. A. Gray, Airdrie, president of the Scottish football Association, Mr Mitchell spoke of the North hopes and ambitions of victory, and his happiness when they were realised.
The climax in this frenzy of enthusiasm came when Frank Dunlop, the Dons' captain, waved the cup to the cheering thousands as he was carried shoulder high from the field by his team mates, goalkeeper Johnstone and Andy Cowie.
Lord Provost Mitchell was seen to advance to meet Dunlop as he entered the players' pavilion and give him a hearty handshake.


"I HAVE lived for this day. I am the happiest man omn earth."
These words were spoken by Mr William philip. eighty-one-year-old director and vice-chairman of Aberdeen Football Club, at the private dinner in Glasgow attended by the team and officials after the League Cup final.
This doyen of football in Aberdeen, who has been associated with the game for sixty years, was in his seat before 6 a.m. on Saturday on one of the trains carrying followers of the Dons from Aberdeen to Hampden, as excited as the youngest supporter at the prospect of seeing Aberdeen's struggle with the Rangers.


Never has a cup victory been more worthily earned. Aberdeen took heart from their sensational opening goal and went on to give Rangers a lesson in all phases of the game.
Not even when Rangers made their traditional second-half recovery did the Dons lose their poise and penetrative power.
In such a wholehearted team it is perhaps a little unfair pick out players for individual mention.
But it was Cowie and Taylor, with their continual urge to the forwards, who took the eye most.
Their short, crisp passes into the empty spaces forward, coupled with Cowie's tremendous shies, had the Rangers' defence in a panic. With such support the Pittodrie forwards could hardly fail to shine. The scintillating stars were Kiddie and Williams.

Lopsided Rangers

The amateur winger gave Jock Shaw his worst afternoon for many a day.
Hamilton and Baird were at their best in the first half, and though falling off later, were always a menace to the opposing defence. McCall was suhdued.
Johnstone was confident in goal, although well out of position when Duncanson scored. Cooper was far and away the best back on the field, but McKenna was at times uncertain against the dash and power of Waddell.
Rangers' team was definitely lopsided. Jock Shaw's failure to stop Kiddle affected Symon, who was a beaten man long before the finish.
In the circumstances it was not surprising that Duncanson and Caskie were blotted out. John Shaw was at fault when Baird scored and Gray at right back uncertain his clearances.
Young was too busy with Williams to help the wing halves, but Watkins played strongly all through and supported Thornton and Waddell, who were the biggest dangers to Aberdeen. On this form both are worth their place in a Scottish team. Arnison, the young South African, was a trier all the way, but found Dunlop too good for him.
Within a minute Baird scored for Aberdeen after Hamilton had backheaded a throw-in across the goalmouth. Eighteen minutes later Kiddie took advantage of Shaw's slowness and passed to Williams, who shot into the far-side net.
Rangers resumed confidently and scored in four minutes through Duncanson after a goalmouth scramble. The Light Blues' equaliser was the best goal of the game. Thornton ran into position for Arnison's pass, and though trailed by Taylor and McKenna, he gave Johnstone no chance with an admirably placed shot.
Just when extra time seemed likely, Kiddie crossed and the ball ran loose. Taylor stepped in and found the net via a post.

Source: Press & Journal, 13th May 1946

N.B. Every newspaper that weekend referred to the (Scottish) League Cup Final. There was no qualification of "Southern" - not even in the match programme.
Rangers Teamsheet
John Shaw, Gray, Jock Shaw, Watkins, Young, Symon, Waddell, Thornton, Arniston, Duncanson, Caskie
Attendance: 135,000
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow
Referee: W. Webb, Glasgow
Next Match
Heart of Midlothian
09 Dec 2023 / 15:00 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen