1960 Revisited

Last updated : 15 May 2002 By followfollow@hotmail.com

The Scottish football public of that era was certainly enthusiastic about show-games, as huge attendances at post-war fixtures had demonstrated. True, the first love of the Glaswegian lay with the six Glasgow clubs, but there had been a six-figure attendance at the 1959 Scottish Cup Final between St. Mirren and Aberdeen, not to mention 132,000 at the 1947 showpiece between Great Britain and the Rest of Europe.

Tickets for the 1960 final sold out in just one day, and there were very few travelling supporters. The teams were certainly not unknown. Real Madrid were the holders, and moreover had won all four preceding tournaments. Included in their ranks were the legendary figures of Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas. Di Stefano – a triple internationalist with his native Colombia, Argentina and Spain – was the complete footballer, a centre-forward who ranks amongst the greatest of all time.

Puskas – the ‘Galloping Major' – was fondly remembered as Captain of the great Hungarian National side of the early-1950's. Without question the world's finest, they had demolished England twice – 6-3 and 7-1 – and then were cruelly robbed of the 1954 World Cup.

Not that Eintracht were exactly unknown either. They had demolished Rangers in the semi-finals - 6-1, 6-3 – and on the strength of that were regarded by many people as favourites.

This was the Rangers of pre-Baxter however – a Rangers side who had struggled throughout the second-half of Season 1959-60 despite reaching the last four of the European Cup (eliminating Anderlecht, Red Star Bratislava and Sparta Rotterdam en route) and winning the Scottish Cup.

Not one single League fixture had been won at Ibrox since before the turn of the year, and yet when the Light Blues avoided both Real Madrid and Barcelona in the semi-final draw it was regarded as a passport to a Hampden final where with home advantage the Scottish Champions would win.

Wishful thinking as it transpired, for Rangers were utterly overwhelmed by the Frankfurt side in both legs of the semi-final.

The first-leg in the Wald Stadium saw Eintracht miss an eighth minute penalty when Kress shot wide only to take the lead twenty minutes later when the unfortunately-named Stinka scored with a long-range effort.

An Eric Caldow penalty levelled the scoreline at the interval, but Rangers were being stretched to breaking point by the pace and power of the home side. Ian McMillan – a skillful and intelligent inside-forward – would in later years recall how Manager Scot Symon sat in the dressing-room at half-time, sipping a cup of tea but saying nothing. A change in tactics was desperately needed, but nothing was forthcoming.

Eintracht were fitter, faster, more skillful and more athletic than their opponents who were completely overwhelmed during a second 45 minutes when five goals were lost. Pfaff scored twice in the opening ten minutes, and then a Lindner header in 75 minutes appeared to put the tie beyond Rangers.

If 4-1 left the Light Blues with a mountain to climb in the Glasgow return, things went from bad to worse in the dying minutes when firstly George Niven was at fault as Lindner netted from distance, then Stein netted following a solo run through the heart of a dispirited and disheveled defence.

6-1 was a staggering scoreline for the Ibrox legions to accept, yet 70,000 turned up for the Ibrox return, some no doubt hoping for a miracle. Rangers hurled themselves at the German defence in the opening minutes, only to be caught with a classic counter-attack eight minutes in when Lindner ran half the length of the park before netting with a long-range shot.

Ian McMillan quickly restored parity, but Eintracht led 3-1 at the interval. McMillan again netted in 53 minutes only for Meier to strike twice in three minutes to kill not only the tie but the game itself.

Davie Wilson added a third, but in the dying seconds Pfaff made it a ‘double six' when he strode majestically through the middle.

And so to the final…

Eintracht actually opened the scoring in twenty minutes through Kress, but by the half-hour Di Stefano had scored twice to give Real the lead.

A classic Puskas strike – a vicious left-foot drive from a narrow angle – gave Madrid a 3-1 lead at the interval, and when the same player added a fourth from the penalty spot following a soft award by Scots referee Jack Mowat, the Cup was won.

Nevertheless both sides continued to entertain the huge crowd with exciting attacking football.

Puskas was rampant – adding two more, one a header, the other a trademark swivel and thundering shot from the edge of the box.

It ended 7-3 – and both sides were acclaimed by the Hampden audience. The Spanish victors embarked on the first lap of honour seen at a Scots ground to prolonged applause.

The 1960 triumph was the very peak of Real Madrid's power. An ageing side, they were eliminated from the tournament just a few months later by bitter rivals Barcelona following two monumental but controversial games.

Glasgow however would never forget them.