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William Platt

IT was September 1978 and the second leg of our European cup-tie against the Italians giants Juventus. We had been beaten 1-0 in the first leg. 

Their team consisted almost entirely of players who’d been in the national squad for the World Cup finals in Argentina 1978. I was nervous. Still, as a supporter you have a sense of hope. If you don’t have a sense of hope why turn up at all?

The previous season we’d won the domestic treble under the guidance of the legendary Jock Wallace and the captaincy of John Greig who now occupied the manager’s chair. Big changes had occurred around Ibrox at but the bulk of the team was still in place. 

Normally at any match my friends and I would congregate in the Copland Road terracing. It had been bulldozed as work on the new Ibrox stadium began so that evening we found ourselves in the Broomloan Road end, the Celtic end. 

That night as the final whistle sounded I was as high as a kite. Goals from Alex McDonald and Gordon Smith had seen us negotiate our way past a highly talented team ranked among the favourites to win the competition that season.

Amidst the celebrations, one of my abiding memories is a moment of humour which was surreal at the time and even to this day still makes me chuckle. With the second half of the match underway we stood on the terracing next to an elderly bear complete with his cloth cap munching away on his pie and sipping his Bovril. 

The second and decisive goal was scored and the ground erupted with bears hugging one another and dancing. From the corner of my eye I could see an astonished figure. The old gentleman stood ashen faced while all around him were ecstatic as his pie lay on the concrete and his Bovril dripped from his cloth cap all down his face.

My friends and I and all around us could not contain our laughter and nothing could console our elderly Teddy. I have often wondered over the years exactly when he relented and savoured the result. First pint post match, I guess.

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