Source: Glasgow Herald, 13th May 1946
Craft That Rocked RangersTHEY 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.
WATERTIGHT DEFENCE.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.
THIS WAS DIFFERENT.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.
NEVER A BETTER.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
DONS DESERVED THEIR SUCCESS By J. A. M. FORBESNever 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 RangersThe 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 1946N.B. Every newspaper that weekend referred to the (Scottish) League Cup Final. There was no qualification of "Southern" - not even in the match programme.