The second leg of the Battle of Britain would prove to be another titanic struggle between two teams determined to play good football. The game was not due to be played until 5th December and then it was rearranged for the 11th due to bad weather.
The only change to either side was Bobby Smith returning after missing 22 games in place of Les Allen. Nicholson revealed afterwards he had been thinking about bringing Smith back for the last week, but had kept it a secret. It's said Tottenham had missed a number of chances latterly and the pitch being heavy would suit Smith.
left - John White one of Tottenham's three 'Anglos'. The Scottish press suggested the best way to stop him was to handcuff him to Mackay.
After the excitement of the first leg Rangers would at least want to salvage some pride from the tie even if they could not overturn the three goal lead Spurs held. Before kick off the 80,000 Scottish fans made sure Tottenham and especially the three Anglos (1) (booed every time they touched the ball) knew what they were up against. The fans whipped up their side and Tottenham faced ‘a tumultuous city of fury.’ The Scots were determined to win this match. The first game had not seen a bad foul this time the Scots were a lot more aggressive and knew to stop Spurs they had to stop Blanchflower. He was on the receiving end of a number of hard tackles and at one point was badly sandwiched by two players. This injury was so several he missed the majority of the rest of the season and would lead to his retirement.
Rangers needed an early goal but it was Tottenham who took the lead in the 8th minute. Once again it was Greaves who after nut-megging his marker on halfway then beating two defenders set off towards to goal with the defenders in his wake, as the goalie came out he simply sidestepped and slide the ball home (right footed) to stun the stadium and give Tottenham a four goal advantage. Rangers tried hard but Tottenham held firm. If Rangers had scored then they might believe they could catch Tottenham. It was Greaves who nearly got the next goal after half an hour. The Mirror claiming that the Spurs forwards interchanged with bewildering speed and skill.
Just after the break Rangers finally pulled level on the night when Henderson who caused problems in the first match centered and Brand headed home. Ibrox exploded into sound but Tottenham, in the words of one report, slipped up a gear and scored again. White down the wing centered and Smith fired home past the Rangers keeper. Ibrox that had been ‘human thunder rolling to the heavens’ a few moments before fell silent.
Left - Fog delayed the game by a week.
Rangers attacked and tried hard to level on the night. The Tottenham defence stood up to the pressure. The Herald calling the Tottenham backs ‘ice cool’ and Norman (2) the towering muscle man who commanded the middle magnificently. Blanchflower marshaled the defence despite carrying his injury, and ensured his men kept their heads. Mackay ‘dampened his fire and played Brand out of the match.’ Rangers had some chances and hit the bar. Norman and Baxter of Rangers were both booked.
Then with a quarter of an hour the ‘floodlit cauldron’ burst into life as it looked like Rangers might gain a draw as Wilson shot home past Brown. Once again Tottenham came forward, ‘Spurs were quicker off the ball than on it.’ This time Mackay centered and Smith headed home the winner.
His second goal in his first game since August, 3-2 to the Spurs and 8-4 on aggregate.
At the final whistle the crowd gave the players an ear shattering ovation. The Tottenham players lined up and applauded the Ranges side off the pitch (as they had done at Tottenham). Blanchflower saying later "I have never seen a team play with so much spirit and courage when they had so little to gain. After we scored our first goal we thought the match would be over and that Rangers would collapse. We got the surprise of our lives when they came back with renewed fight and we had to play out for most of the game"
Bill Nicholson not known for lavishing praise said after the game "I wish our boys would play like they did tonight in the League. Then we'd walk the Championship." The Scottish police also had an opinion. ‘It was the best-behaved event of its kind we have had, not one arrest was made."
The press claimed Tottenham were never under treat and their big match temperament had seen them through what could have been a tricky game. That night Glasgow belonged to Tottenham. Rangers would go on to win a Scottish Double that season. Tottenham, now unofficial champions of Britain looked forward to the next round and another trip behind the iron curtain.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
Notes – 1- Anglos- See Connections - Scotland 1.
2 - Norman - see The Colossus of Tottenham.
Thank You in addition to family and friends for their memories, THFC. Daily Express, Ralph L. Finn, Daily Sketch, Scottish Daily Express, the Evening Times, Daily Telegraph, the Rangers London Supporters Club, the Rangers’ Historian, The Times, Colin Gibson, Harry Harris, Bob Goodwin, The Scotsman, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Herald, The Daily Mail, Pathe news, Phil Soar,
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