History of Forfar Athletic: The Scottish League Cup and Rangers

Saturday will be the first ever meeting between Forfar Athletic and Rangers in the first round of the League Cup, although they have met each other in this tournament before.

The first meeting between the two was in the semi-finals on a Monday night in February 1978 at Hampden Park and Rangers took the lead in the 26th minute as a cross from McLean was flicked on to Derek Johnstone who nodded home from close range. The Loons, with Archie Knox as player/manager, equalised before half time when some good passing led to Kenneth Brown collecting the ball 25 yards from goal before unleashing an excellent effort that went in off the post past future Loon keeper Stewart Kennedy.

Brian Rankin bettered that goal in the second half, sloppy play by the Rangers defence in the Loons half allowed Rankin to dispose them, and he ran the entire Gers half before slotting the ball past the keeper. With eight minutes left to play Forfar hearts were broken as a high cross from McLean was met by sub Derek Parlane’s head to make it 2-2. Rangers prevailed over a tired Forfar side 5-2 after extra time with goals from Alex MacDonald, Parlane and Johnstone again ensuring victory.

The Forfar team that night was: Nicol, Smith, Rankin, Brown, Knox, Rae, Payne, Clark, Hall, Gallacher and Gavine whilst Vannart and Graham were subs.

The sides met again the next season, albeit in the second round and Rangers were the victors this time as well, comfortably winning the first leg 3-0 at Ibrox with goals from Smith, Cooper and McLean. At Station Park Cooper and Smith scored again, with Smith grabbing two and Alex MacDonald the other goal, winning 4-1 with Alex Rae notching the Loons consolation.

It was at the same stage both were paired two years later in 1980 and once again the Gers took a lead into the second leg, Colin McAdam grabbing a double at Station Park while at Ibrox, some rather questionable refereeing allowed Rangers three penalties including one that was retaken after Stewart Kennedy moved before the penalty was taken. Sandy Jardine missed the original and the retake but Alex Miller and Colin McAdam made no mistake with theirs. Derek Johnstone scored Rangers third whilst Ronnie Robb got the only Forfar goal.

Another five years passed before Forfar and Rangers were to meet again, this time a round later, and it is arguably the closest Forfar have ever been to beating the Ibrox club. The game was played at Dens Park in Dundee in front of a crowd of 7,283 and the match went to extra time after goals by Jimmy Liddle and Alex Brash were not enough to beat Bobby Williamson and David Cooper’s second half goals for the Gers. Extra time came and went without any goals and so it went to penalties. This ended 6-5 in favour of the Glasgow side but the Loons could be extremely proud of themselves for taking the game that far.

The Forfar side that night was: Moffat, Bennett, McPhee, Smith, Brash, Lorimer, Lyons, Farningham, Scott, Liddle and Gallacher while John Clark was the sub used.

2003 was the last time the two met, and this meeting was the worst defeat Forfar have suffered in a League Cup tie against Rangers, losing 6-0 on a cold October night at Ibrox. Christian Nerlinger grabbed a hat-trick whilst Nuno Capucho, Egil Ostenstad and Peter Lovenkrands all netted once.

The team that night was: Brown, Lunan, Rattray, Horn, Stewart, Byers, Sellars, Davidson, Tosh, Henderson and Shields.

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