RockSport looks at the shocks that rocked the Scottish Cup, the oldest club football tournament in the world.
While Rangers defeat by their border namesakes in 1967 and Celtic’s shock reverse to Inverness CT at the start of the 21st Century rank as the top two shocks in the history of the Scottish Cup the Gers defeat by bottom tier Berwick in a season where they reached a European final [ lost the Cup Winners Cup final to Bayern Munich ] maybe shades the Highlanders defeat of John Barnes Hoops at Parkhead a mere 15 years after Caley Thistle had formed to become a Scottish League side.
In January 1967 a crowd of 13,365 packed into Shielfield Park, a record attendance at the ground, for a Third Round Scottish Cup tie. From kick off, Rangers immediately went on the attack, forcing three corners in the opening five minutes. Alex Smith, Willie Johnston and Willie Henderson all went close for Rangers. Henderson went down in the box under a challenge from Kilgannon but his call for a penalty was dismissed. Rangers continued to press and Coutt’s intervention prevented Alex Smith from a near certain scoring opportunity. By the half hour mark, Rangers had forced 10 corners. However, in the 32nd minute, Dowds and Christie carved open the Glasgow defense, Christie passed to Sammy Reid who blasted it past Gers goalie Martin in off the post. Two minutes later, Christie had a golden chance to make it 2–0 but his half-hit shot was comfortably saved by Martin. Apart from a shot from John Greig which went narrowly wide, Berwick comfortably saw out the first half.
In the second half, Berwick continued to trouble Rangers with a number of chances. In the 65th minute following a collision with Jock Wallace [ a future Rangers manager ], Willie Johnston was stretchered off with a broken leg. Johnston was substituted in the 66th minute by Davie Wilson, who had scored 3 goals against Berwick Rangers when they met in 1960. Despite frantic attempts from Wilson, Greig and George McLean [ later of Ayr Utd and Dunfermline Athletic ], they were unable to penetrate the Berwick goal. It wasn’t all one way traffic however, Berwick’s Alan Ainslie forced Norrie Martin into a fine save and also hit the post. Legend has it that in the 94th minute, Greig had asked referee Eddie Thomson for another couple of minutes but was told “I’ve already given you four”. Wallace played the entire second half in goal despite losing a contact lens in the mud and claimed that they should have won 3–0 as “we missed far easier chances than the one Sammy Reid scored from”.
At the final whistle, Greig sportingly shook the hand of every Berwick player as they left the field.
Some clubs have become renowned for eliminating higher ranked clubs from the tournament despite being underdogs. Division 2 club East Fife won the tournament in 1938 by defeating top tier side Kilmarnock, the first team from outside the top-tier of league football to win the trophy. East Fife had previously reached the final in 1927 after eliminating three higher ranked clubs in the preceding rounds. Only one other club from outside the top-tier of league football has won the competition; Queen’s Park defeated Celtic in the 1893 final. Seven other clubs have reached the final whilst competing outside the top-tier of league football but were defeated in the final: Dumbarton, Kilmarnock, Airdrieonians, Falkirk, Gretna, Queen of the South and former Highland League side Ross County who were in the second tier when playing Dundee Utd in the final which they lost.
In the rounds before the final some notable shocks have occurred. In 1959, Dundee were eliminated by Highland League club Fraserburgh despite having Scottish International footballers in their squad. A season later, Eyemouth Utd reached the quarter final stage of the tournament after defeating two higher league clubs. When they beat Cowdenbeath 3-0 at their border ground boxes used to keep fish in at the famous fishing port were used to collect gate money as Eyemouth played on no more than a public park pitch.
Edinburgh City [ now Lowland League ] were a hapless bottom tier Scottish League side having a dreadful season when they knocked Hibs out of the Scottish Cup in the 1950’s with a 3-2 scoreline while ” nearly men ” include Stranarer, who missed two glaring chances in the last few minutes at Parkhead, before going out to Celtic 1-0 in the late 1980’s and Auchinleck Talbot of the Juniors who lost only 1-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle a few years ago.
Other results regarded as shocks include Stenhousemuir’s 2-0 win against Aberdeen in 1995 and Albion Rovers defeat of Lanarkshire rivals Motherwell in 2013.
Celtic’s shock defeat by Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2000 led to the famous newspaper headline in The Scottish Sun ” SUPER CALEY GO BALISTIC CELTIC ARE ATROCIOUS ”