Entertainment, Sports

Celtic vs Rangers derby worse off for lack of Scots, says Derek Parlane

WHEN Rangers, managed by Jock Wallace, hosted Jock Stein’s Celtic on January 4, 1975, it was a case of Jocks all the way for the Old Firm.

As well as both bosses, all 25 players used were Scottish and 18 of them had been – or would soon become – full internationals. It was also the last time that ever happened.

Rangers won 3-0, with goals from Derek Johnstone, Tommy McLean and Derek Parlane, taking them to the top of the league where they remained for the rest of the season, thus preventing their rivals from claiming a tenth successive title.

Had this season’s New Year fixture gone ahead as scheduled today, Allan McGregor would have been the only Scot guaranteed to start and Parlane believes that the game is poorer as a consequence of that.

“Back then having an English or Irish player in your squad was exotic, never mind a foreigner and Old Firm games were still largely a case of Rangers supporters playing against Celtic supporters because that’s effectively what the teams were,” he said.

“For a while after I’d broken into the first team, I would get the bus every morning from our home in Rhu to Helensburgh and then get the train from there to Glasgow before finally taking the subway to Ibrox, often chatting away to punters on all three journeys.

“That continued for years until I got my first car and I remember Davie Cooper and other players doing the same.

“At that time you would be sent to a supporters’ club dinner or function on most Saturday nights and it could’ve been Inverness or Dumfries or anywhere in between but those nights were part of the job and I always found them enjoyable.

“I never wanted to be aloof and I was always happy to stand and sign autographs as long as people were polite.

“When 66 of our fans died in the Ibrox Disaster in 1971, I was sent to five of the funerals – even though I was only 17 with one first-team appearance behind me [in a defeat at Falkirk 24 hours before the tragedy] – because the club had to be represented at every one of them.

“One that I went to was for a boy from Dunoon and, a few years later, I was sent back there to collect a Player of the Year award from the local supporters’ club.

“Some people came up to me that night and said how much it had meant that I’d been at the funeral. I was made an honorary member of that club, which was a proud moment for me.

“There was a real connection between the first team and the fans then and I recall what a thrill I had the first time I heard them sing my song – ‘born is the king of Ibrox Park.’

“Now, though, the players are more remote and I don’t believe that’s a change for the better.”

Parlane revealed that he will be featuring in a forthcoming documentary commemorating the 50th anniversary of Rangers beating Moscow Dynamo 3-2 in the final of the European Cup-Winners’ Cup.

And, as with Celtic’s European Cup success in 1967, every member of the team was Scottish.

He was an unused substitute in the Nou Camp that night but he made his contribution to the cause by scorinbg what proved to be the winner against Bayern Munich in the semi-final.

“I had a film crew at my house a few weeks ago,” he said. “They’ve been interviewing us separately and together as a group.

“That’s been very emotional for me. Like I say, we were all Rangers supporters living the dream, playing for the club we loved and we enjoyed a great camaraderie.

“Given how football has changed, I don’t think you’ll ever see Rangers or Celtic fielding all-Scottish teams again and that’s a great shame.”

January 4, 1975. Rangers 3 (Johnstone, McLean, Parlane) Celtic 0.

Rangers: Kennedy; Jardine, Forsyth, Jackson (Miller), Greig; McDougall,Johnstone, MacDonald, McLean, Parlane, Scott (Young).

Celtic: Hunter, McGrain, McNeill, McCluskey, Brogan; Glavin, Hood (Johnstone), Murray, Callaghan; Dalglish, Wilson.

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