Jimmy kindly dropped me off in Kilmarnock before driving straight back to Edinburgh for his flight home. The following day, Michael Benwell who was staying with his in-laws near-by, paid me a visit with his eldest son. After lunch and a few pints, we set off for the town and then the Ground. We met up with a number of R’s fans in the hotel bar adjacent to Rugby Park. Inside the Ground, there were nearly 140 Rangers fans present including Ron Hill and Martin Botwright who took full advantage of a good hospitality package. For the record, the Killie pies were worthy of the awards it had received.
The R’s lined up as follows:- Cerny, Ramage, Delaney, Mahon, Hall, Stewart, Ainsworth, Leigertwood, Agyemang, Balanta, Ledesma. This was Cerny’s debut and after a very long drawn out, public saga, Gorkss was given permission to play and so also made his debut in the 2nd half.
The R’s played with spirit and greater purpose following Saturday’s poor effort. The Killie keeper was forced to make three superb 1st half saves. Despite Rangers domination, the home side took the lead. Another goal conceded from a set piece when Pascali headed home Taouil’s corner after 32 minutes. Half Time: 0-1 Gorkss replaced Hall and he did very well and certainly looked very commanding. Bolder, Walton, Alberti and Rose also came on after the break. Cerny made a spectacular save and despite further chances, Rangers were unable to find the net.
The attendance was 1,814.
As with Saturday’s programme, there was a page devoted to ‘club connections’. Paul Wright had scored the winning goal for them in the 1998 Scottish Cup Final. We remember his two debut goals on the opening day of the 1989/90 season amongst others. Michael Ngonge played briefly for both clubs. Billy McKay played in the 1950’s and Andrew Neil’s other clubs were Brighton and Arsenal and his career stretched from between 1913 and 1929. Lastly, James Howie played for Kilmarnock and later went on to manage QPR in November 1913. He moved on to Middlesbrough in 1920 and later had a tobacconist’s in London.
The only previous meeting between the two clubs was on a Monday night in May 1952. The game at Rugby Park was a challenge match and the proceeds were donated to the YMCA Comfort Fund for the British troops involved in the Korean War. The attendance was 4,379 and the R’s team that night was: Brown, Poppitt, Ingham, Heath, Spence, Farrow, Waugh, Smith, Addinall, Stewart, Shepherd. Rangers lost 0-2 and the programme notes go on to say that: ‘Killie won thanks to goals by the two “Willie’s”, Jack and Harvey. It was a deserved win, because the Londoners failed to get their game together and they seldom troubled Killie keeper John Niven.’
It was another good trip to Scotland with a good turnout of R’s fans. Thanks to Jimmy for all his help and also to Bill Burnett for the lift back from Rugby Park. Bill also sent me the above pics which include Eric’s flag and another of Big Davy from Glasgow with the missus.