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Fiftieth anniversary of 1963 European Cup Winners' Cup win

The story of Spurs 1963 European Cup-Winners' Cup win - Round One v Glasgow Rangers

The programme for the European Cup Winners Cup Final of 1963 Brian Judson wrote this series on the fortieth anniversary of these events

Having retained the FA Cup in May 1962, Spurs were drawn to play Glasgow Rangers in the First Round of the European Cup-Winners' Cup. The first leg was played at Tottenham on October 31st 1961. Rangers were the dominant team in Scotland in those days but had been pipped to the Championship by a Dundee side that included one Alan Gilzean. Rangers had to be content with playing in the Cup-Winners' Cup.

This match, played on Wednesday, October 31st 1962, was billed as a Championship of Great Britain as both clubs then dominated the British scene, notwithstanding the fact that two small clubs (Dundee and Ipswich Town) had won the respective Championships. Rangers were thoroughly exposed by a Tottenham team well on top of its game. It took Spurs only four minutes to open the scoring. Greaves floated a corner from the right wing and White, the frail John White outjumped everyone else, as the Rangers defenders anxiously eyed Maurice Norman, to put Spurs ahead.

It did not take Rangers long to equalise. The Spurs defence was slow to react as Davie Wilson streaked down the wing and centred the ball for Willie Henderson to score from 5 yards. Even the Super Spurs of the 60s had the same deadly inability to close down the opposition!

Rangers had Spurs under the cosh for a short while but slowly lost the initiative. In the last 20 minutes of the first half, Spurs carved out three delightful goals.

It was from a corner taken by Greaves that White headed the ball into the Rangers goal as a static Rangers defence looked on in disbelief as Ritchie failed to clear the ball.

Shortly after that, Blanchflower took a quick free-kick, White played a deep cross and Allen headed the ball into the Rangers goal. Rangers were on the ropes and Spurs were becoming cocky.

It looked all over for Rangers when shortly after Spurs had gone 3-1 ahead, they fell further behind. Rangers dithered and dithered, failing to clear the ball and Medwin centred the ball to Allen, who saw his shot diverted into the Rangers' goal by an unlucky Shearer.

But just as it looked as if Rangers would cave it, they re-asserted themselves. Henderson made a quick break down the right wing and Miller had all the time in the world to head over Bill Brown.

The second half was less dramatic. Both sides pressed to score but only one further goal emerged on the night. That came when there was ten minutes left to play. Greaves took a corner, Rangers again failed to clear the ball and Norman thumped the ball into the Rangers goal.

Spurs 5 Glasgow Rangers 2 - Attendance:- 58,859

The Second Leg, at Ibrox, did not take place until Tuesday, 11th December 1962. It had originally been scheduled for the previous week but was called off because of fog. Manager Nicholson sprang a huge surprise before the game by selecting Bobby Smith, who had missed the previous 22 matches after sustaining an injury in an early season game.

The Scots were determined to win this match and Blanchflower was constantly in the wars. After this match, Blanchflower missed most of the rest of the season, the injuries accelerating the decision to retire less than a year later.

It was Greaves (who else?) who nearly killed the tie stone dead in the 8th minute. On the halfway line he slipped away from Davis with a nutmeg, beat two other Rangers' defenders and set off for the goal with the Rangers defence shattered. Ritchie came off his goal line to narrow the angle but Greaves sidestepped him and slammed the ball into the goal with his RIGHT foot, normally only used to stand on.

But Rangers equalised two minutes after half-time when Brand equalised for Rangers, heading home a cross from Willie Henderson.

The cheers were still echoing around Ibrox when Spurs struck back. White flitted down the wing like a phantom. He took a quick look at the goal mouth, centred and Smith firmly despatched the ball into the net to silence the Scots.

Rangers could have wept in frustration at the cruelty of it all but they heeded the bagpipes and started again. Spurs were on the rack for a long time and eventually conceded another goal. Miller unleashed a shot which Wilson trapped and spun and whipped into the net before anyone could react to the threat.

But Spurs had the last word when Mackay centred the ball two minutes from time for Smith to head the ball home

After the game, Bill Nicholson was quoted as saying: "I wish our boys would play like they did tonight in the League. Then we'd walk the Championship."

The police commented that it was the quietest match at Ibrox for years. "It was the best-behaved event of its kind we have had," they said. "Not one arrest was made."

Glasgow Rangers 2 Spurs 3 (Aggregate Spurs 8 Rangers 4) - Attendance:- 80,000

Spurs now had to wait until the following March before they could play their Quarter-Final against Slovan Bratislava.

Cheers, Brian

Introduction to the Cup-Winners Cup series
Round Two - Spurs beat Slovan Bratislava 6-2 on aggregate.
Semi-Final - Spurs beat OFK Belgrade 5-2 on aggregate.
The Final - Spurs beat Athletico Madrid 5-1.

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