The Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park on Saturday will be remembered as the match of penalty kicks -- those that were awarded and those that were not. Rangers were worthy winners of the trophy -- their twelfth success in the competition -- but neutral observers must have been mystified that the Ibrox club had two chances to score from the penalty spot and Clyde none.
The decisions of the referee, Mr R. G. Benzie (Irvine), in penalising Milligan for his tackle of Williamson seven minutes from half-time and for his pushing of Thornton nine minutes after the interval were unhesitatingly given, and Clyde, though they protested against the second award of a penalty kick, had in my opinion, no grievance.
Midway through the first half, however, when Rangers, even with the wind behind them, were by no means the better side, a flagrant offence of M'Coll in holding Galletly when the Clyde inside forward was about to shoot was ignored by the referee, and in the second half when Clyde were rallying to cut down Rangers' 3-1 lead they claimed three times for a penalty kick -- for handling by Shaw of a Davies cross-shot, for the sandwiching of Wright by Shaw and Woodburn, and for the pushing of Linwood by Woodburn. Such had been the referee's attitude to most inoffensive-looking infringements committed by both sides without the 18-yard lines that it was surprising that all Clyde's appeals were unsucessful.
Clyde's goal, scored by Galletly three minutes after half-time, was the result of Cox's being penalised in mid-field for a tackling infringement that was the friendliest of gestures compared with the incidents that led to Clyde's claiming penalty kicks against their team-mates, and Young's second penalty conversion followed immediately a free kick awarded to Rangers when it appeared that Long, who was penalised, was in fact the sufferer in the tackle with Duncanson.
Rangers, without touching their best form at any stage of the match, always appealed as the side more likely to score goals. They had no set plan in attack, but they had in Waddell, the outstanding forward of the ten, a player who could beat his immediate opponent, Mennie, in a variety of ways, and whose splendid crossing should have won the match ten times over. But Thornton and his inside forwards -- particularly the centre forward -- were astonishingly ineffective in the air. Twice Thornton headed over the bar when it seemed much easier to score, and indeed this usually brilliant leader was mastered by the immature Milligan, whose two mistakes in conceding the penalty kicks probably cost Clyde the match.
Williamson, who scored Rangers' second goal four minutes from half-time, was their next most profitable forward, if only for the shock tactics he introduced. But his timing of Waddell's cross after M'Coll, with the best pass of the game, a long low ball that travelled fully thirty yards to the outside-right's feet, had set the winger moving, was delightful. Duncanson had the fourth goal.
Brown, like his opposite number, Gullan, had several first-class saves and, again like the Clyde goalkeeper, his share of luck. Soon after Clyde's goal Brown was beaten by a header from Wright that hit the post, and similar scoring efforts from Thornton and Duncanson hit the Clyde crossbar with Gullan not in the picture.
Shaw was Rangers' best defender, for both Young and Woodburn miskicked dangerously and often. M'Coll and Cox were once more fine wing half-backs but only just superior to Campbell and Long, who not surprisingly tired before the finish. Davies and Linwood formed a sprightly combination, though the centre forward on several occasions was guilty of pushing and spoiled promising attacks.
Clyde's display was not that of a side haunted by the spectre of relegation, and they deserve congratulations for preventing the match from becoming the one-sided affair so many of the 130,000 spectators anticipated.
Glasgow Herald, April 25, 1949, page 6. Programme.