Famous Games by Forbes Inglis
In December 1921 Montrose played at Ibrox twice within a matter of weeks. They were not playing against the mighty Rangers but against Nithsdale Wanderers, their opponents in the Scottish Qualifying Cup final.
The clubs drew 3-3 at Ibrox and then played out a goalless draw at Tynecastle in the first replay.
On the 17th of December the clubs met again at Ibrox where a crowd of 3,000 saw Montrose edge home.
By half-time Wanderers were a goal up after scoring a disputed opener. According to the match official the ball had bounced behind the goal line after striking the bar. 'Montrose players hotly disputed the point, but to little purpose.'
In the second half Montrose equalised when Willie Hogg scored with a header. Five minutes later the Wanderers keeper failed to hold onto a shot and Mitchell got the winner from the rebound.
When the team arrived back at the Caley Station where they were met by a huge and excited crowd.
If the supporters felt the team was now going places in the game they were to be sorely disappointed. It would be over 60 years before the Gable Endies won their next piece of national silverware.
In 1939 the Montrose Review carried a headline unlikely ever to be repeated; 'Montrose Shock Cup-Holders.'
It is well known that in 1938 East Fife became the only Second Division Club team ever to win the Scottish Cup. The following season's first round draw saw the Fifers drawn at home against the Gable Endies.
But if the Methil men felt supremely confident about defeating their less illustrious opponents they quickly discovered the error of their ways.
According to The Review report of the match, 'Montrose looked like winners from the first minute to the last, and this in spite of the fact that the Fifers did most of the attacking.'
Although the Cup holders obviously had the bulk of the play, 'the Montrose forwards took the limelight with many lightning raids into their opponents' territory. The cup-holders defence was caught napping and Rodi and Adam got the goals that settled the issue.'
The Montrose team that day was; Crosskey; Soutar& Yorke; McMahon, Harrison & Baigrie; Ross, Adam, Rodi, Galloway & Sinclair, none of whom were locals. The referee was Mr Faultless, although probably the Fife fans did not agree.
Montrose's reward was a home game against Celtic, which resulted in the then record Links Park attendance of 6,389, and a 7 -1 defeat.
One of Montrose's finest giant killing feats was the 1948 defeat of Queen of the South.
Montrose were then in C Division, which was effectively non-league, playing against other minor sides and First Division reserve teams. QOS certainly had been struggling in the relegation zone of the top division prior to the tie but the previous Saturday they had beaten Celtic 2-0 at Dumfries, thanks to two goals from their International centre forward, Billy Houliston.
There was considerable excitement in Montrose prior to the game and the Review anticipated that the ground record, set at the 1939 Celtic game, might be surpassed. On a day of sleet, snow and a biting wind a disappointing crowd of only 3,500 watched the match.
Albert Jolly, an auctioneer at the Montrose Auction Market, was the only local player in the Montrose side. At centre-half, he was be in direct opposition to Houliston and much depended on his performance.
Jeffrey opened the scoring for Montrose, who then had the ball in the net on a further two occasions. The referee chalked off both 'goals' for infringements, although the obviously impartial Review man reported, 'To me both goals looked to be good' before he conceded, 'I was not so well placed as the referee.'
Eleven minutes into the second half QOS equalised but with 20 minutes of the game remaining Jeffrey scored for Montrose. With Jolly 'practically the master of international Houliston,' according to the match report, the Gable Endies held out to win a famous victory.
Montrose were represented by; Cook; Calder & Costello; Wotherspoon, Jolly & Cabrelli; Munro, Jeffrey, Scobie, Mitchell & Laurie.
Each players got a bonus of £5 each for his efforts and, almost inevitably, the opportunity to face Celtic away in the next round. This time they lost 4-0.
QOS? They went off to Ibrox where they triumphed 3-2 over the home team!
In season 1977-78 three epic games against Hearts in the Scottish Cup had the Links Park Dynamo dreaming of winning silverware.
The first game at Links Park ended in a two all draw after the Gable Endies had twice been in the lead, first through a goal from Malcolm Lowe and then another from Ian Stewart. The team that day was; Gorman, Barr, Markland (Walker), McNicol, D'Arcy, Cant, Lowe, Stewart, Livingstone, Johnston and Millar. Sub not used; Guthrie.
In the Tynecastle replay a goal from Harry Johnston and then a Barr penalty saw the Gable Endies take a two-nothing lead before Shaw and Gibson scored for Hearts to level the tie.
After some wrangling about neutral venues, the third game took place at Muirton Park, then the home of St Johnston. Jimmy Cant opened the scoring for Montrose before Shaw, who had scored in the two previous games, scored again to level matters. With seconds of normal time to go Dave McNicol hit the woodwork with a shot fit to win any game. Callachan finally dashed the Montrose hopes with the winner in the 109th minute, the only time the Edinburgh side had been in the lead over the three games.
If the Gable Endies seemed fated never to get the better of Hearts they finally beat the jinx in fine style by beating the Jambos at Tynecastle in a 1986 Skol Cup tie.
Hearts had been undefeated at home during the previous 15 months and, although Montrose were on something of a run in the First Division, good odds would have been available to any punter who believed they would emerge as winners on the night.
There seemed to be more than the official gate of just over 7,000 inside Tynecastle to witness one of Montrose's finest hours.
A goal from Alan Lyons, followed by a second from Mark Bennett, 12 minutes into the second half, took Montrose to a two - nil lead. Some great defensive work and Ray Charles' brilliance kept the Jam Tarts at bay and, when referee Sandy Roy blew his whistle at the end of the match, the Gable Endies brought Heart's fine home run to a juddering halt.
The heroes on the night were; Charles, Barr, McLelland, Brown, Sheran, Lyons, Allan, Bennett, Paterson, & McDonald. Subs; Murray & Wright.
The next round saw Montrose drawn away to Dundee where they lost 4-0.
In season 1984-85, results elsewhere saw Montrose promoted to the First Division following a 0-0 draw at home against Albion Rovers. Victory in their next match, a home game against Queen's Park would see them crowned as Champions.
Of course, if the Gable Endies can be relied on for anything, it is that they will make life as difficult for themselves as possible. So it proved on this occasion, with the team slumping to a 4-1 defeat.
Montrose had been in this position before in 1974-75, when they were promoted to the First Division. Then, with the Championship in their grasp, they lost their last two games, both away from home. As a result they finished third on goal difference, although League reconstruction meant that they did move up a division.
The final home game of the season was against Stenhousemuir. The Gable Endies pressed for most of the first half but, despite the visitors being reduced to ten men, couldn't get the all-important goal.
In the second half, the ten men started to play a bit themselves but the game finished goalless.
Alloa and Dunfermline, the teams in second and third spot were playing each other and their matched ended with the same scoreline. As neither could then match the Montrose's points total the Gable Endies were Champions for the first time in their 106-year history.
The team; Charles, Barr, McLelland, Cusiter, Sheran, Forbes, Allan, (Caithness), Bennett, Somner, Lennox, Wright, (Duffy).
League chairman David Letham presented Chic McLelland with the Second Division Championship trophy and a weekend of celebration began. The rest, as they say, is history, although perhaps a trifle blurred!
© Forbes Inglis 2004