And so the end is near - last day thrills and chills.

Last updated : 21 May 2009 By The Govanhill Gub
Usually night shift is when even more guff ripples through what passes as my grey matter. With the events at Easter Rd last Wednesday then Sunday there, that is a tad more than usual.

Yup, the last day of this season has wobbled my colly all week long and got me to thinking that clinching the title on the final game has probably happened more often than we think.

Now I’m not going to go back to the last few years of the Struth era, when a couple of titles were clinched at the death at Coatbridge and Third Lanark in seasons 48/49 & 49/50 respectively. We’ll get a wee bit more up to date.

1958/59 – Rangers and Hearts were slugging it out and on the final day, with Rangers two points to the good, Rangers played host to Aberdeen, whilst Hearts travelled to CP.

Rangers left the field at time up to a chorus of boos and jeers after going down 2 – 1. Had we blown it? Well, there were no mobiles in ths days and it took a wee while for news to filter through that Hearts had went down by the same score.

So in effect, Celtic had helped Rangers clinch the title. Which was mighty neighbourly of them. Of course we didn’t have phone-ins either back then but a Timbo implosion would have been nice to tune into.

1960/61 – Rangers with only nine games left to play held a six point gap over Kilmarnock. In a three week period those six points evaporated and it all came down to the last day.

However, all was put to rights when an Alex Scott inspired hat-trick versus Ayr Utd on that last day meant Rangers were champions yet again by a one point margin.

1961/62 – By the April Rangers were looking as if they were homing in on a domestic treble when they dropped four points in their last three games.

A win for Rangers and a defeat for Dundee at Perth would have meant another title win. However, Dundee were not to be denied; they won convincingly against St Johnstone, whilst we could only limp home with a 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock at Ibrox.

1967/68 – The records will show that if Rangers had won their final game of that season, again at home to Aberdeen, then they would have finished on 63 points, two ahead of you know who, who still had one game left to play.

The records will show that Rangers lost. The thing is with this result, if Rangers had taken even a point Celtic would have went into their last game needing at least a point.

The records also show that they won 2-1 at East End Park. But they did so already assured of the title and the pressure off. Things might have been different if the pressure was on.

1972/73 – It would be a long five seasons slog before Rangers were in the position to win the title on the last day of the season. But for that to happen Rangers needed to beat East Fife at Ibrox (which they did) and rely on Hibs beating Celtic at Easter Rd.

There was no battle of the ‘greens’ and Celtic had won the title comfortably on the day. However, Rangers atrocious early season form, when seven points were dropped in the first six games, were what really did for us.

1977/78 – Rangers were cantering away with the league when March hit us like a Lion, who not only had toothache, but had received severe bruising to the genital area after a blow out with a pack of not so cheerful Hyenas.

So it was that Motherwell came-a-calling on the last day of the season. At the end up, John Greig grabbed the ball and waved a triumphant fist at the Rangers end. It would be the last time we were treated to that sight at Ibrox.

1990/91 – The next time it would require Rangers to win on the last day of the season, an awful lot of water had passed under the bridge; not least a certain Graeme Souness.

Again a league that was just about in the bag threatened to boil all over the shop. Souness was to figure highly in a malaise that was threatening to cost us a third title on the trot.

However, he was sent packing to Liverpool and his assistant Walter Smith took over. The ship was steadied, or so we thought before a trip to Fir Park in the penultimate game of the season ended in a disastrous 3-0 defeat.

The last game of the season saw Aberdeen (yet again) travel to Ibrox and a draw would see them crowned as champions. A makeshift Rangers team, battered by injuries and the rest as they say is history.

Mark Hateley wrote himself into the history books and unbeknown to me, who was at the game, my old man had travelled over to listen to the game whilst walking around Ibrox and judging how the game was going by the crowd’s reaction.

1997/98 – This one still rankles. We were six points and eight goals ahead of the yahoos after just two games that season and still we conspired to blow it.

Of course, a quite appalling decision by the ref at CP in November when he red carded Paul Gascoigne was indicative of what this club has had to endure down through the years. It is cheating, brought about by an agenda driven press. No more, no less.

Some people think that 1-1 draw when Stubbs, who should already have been off the park, scored a last gasp equaliser, was the beginning of the end. I happen to think a 3-3 draw with Aberdeen three games in, thanks in no small part to a disastrous defensive display, showed us that the writing was on the wall.

The side rallied however and we travelled to Tannadice on the last day of the season needing a win and for Celtic to draw. It was not to be. But the die had been cast many months before.

2002/03 – Again, all was well in springtime and then the wheels started to fall off the train. The April OF fixture should have been sewn up in the first 15 minutes but a lack of composure and at least three missed chances were to be our undoing.

Then we get to that last Sunday in May, 2003. Rangers were at home to Dunfermline and Celtic away to Kilmarnock.

I think it’s all been said, although we must never forget the inherent and inbuilt hatred of all things Rangers and all things sporting when we think of that lot and their behaviour after the match.

At the end of the day, we won by five goals at home, they won by a four goal margin away, also with a missed penalty into the bargain. That lot had players imploring the Kilmarnock goalkeeper (an ex celt) to ship in goals, yet they had the cheek to imply it was Dunfermline who lay down to Rangers.

It should also be remembered that eight of the Kilmarnock squad, who went down to their heaviest home defeat to Celtic in a decade, were present in Spain the previous Wednesday supporting Celtic. All that was left was for a shower of Celtic fans to ‘visit’ the Dunfermline Chairman’s house with a view to inflicting some GBH. The bastard children of Walfrid indeed.

2004/05 – Again, just where do you start? A routine start to the campaign if I remember, We really got going in the November with a demolition job of Aberdeen and a League Cup/league double at Ibrox over Celtic.

The league victory at CP in the February of 2005, which will always be remembered by Vignal, Nacho and Ricksen, for a variety of differing reasons, whilst conveniently forgotten by Kenny Scott, saw us, if not exactly on cruise control then doing okay.

Then there was Tynecastle on a midweek night. How can you sum up the Scottish press and their duty to humanity and morality? Well, it has to be remembered that a penalty award to Rangers merited a nine-page spread in one of our red tops. A two year old toddler, who died after being shot by an airgun from a nearby block of flats rated only four pages.

To our eternal shame, our Chairman still has no problems dealing with these morons. I tell you, those negatives they have as a hold on our so-called custodian must be dynamite. Absolute dynamite.

What also should never be forgotten about that night and the aftermath was the venom in which the Celtic manager Martin O’Neill spoke about things that didn’t concern him. That’s the hatred we are up against and that is the hatred we should never be scared to confront!

And so to May 22nd 2005. We needed to win, at the same time we had to hope that lot dropped points, it was that simple. We’re winning, but so are they. Then with three minutes left that, ‘Helicopter changed direction.’

At Fir Park, Motherwell in the chunky shape of a wee Australian, nets twice in as many minutes. Over at Edinburgh, and beyond we basked in the splendour and unlikelihood of it all.

Was 2003 better than 2005? Maybe only those present on both days could judge that. Four years ago was special, but then again, Rangers winning the title at any time is to be cherished. And never to be taken for granted.

2007/08 – I won’t make any bones about it, Celtic FC are guilty of the most disgusting, crass exploitation of an ex player anywhere, ever in the annals of the game. Jan 2nd 2008, will always stand out in bold relief what this shower are, and always have been about. They are a sporting and social Cancer on the rest of these isles.

2008/09 – Well the story thus far can amount to the following. Crap team selections at Ibrox and cheating officials. Yet we are still in the hunt for that £10m prize.

Very rarely can so many truly abominable decisions by footballing officials, and proved to be wrong, conclusively by TV, have tried to de-rail one club in one season. That is to say nothing of the ‘debatable’ decisions aiding CFC.

1 -  Beasley’s goal at Pittodrie
2 – Boyd’s goal at Fir Park
3 – Do I need to mention Cryans and his decision at Easter Rd a week ago on Wednesday?
4 – And then there’s Stuart (I refused to red card Neil Lennon, even though I should have) Dougal and his assistant at Ibrox last week.

It is cheating. Pure and simple. But it needs to be remembered that it is cheating that is being pressurised from elsewhere. But it is cheating, nevertheless.

So who knows what this Sunday will bring? My money is on more Dougalesque decisions and a passing of the buck that can, and will wait till next year to attend to. And by that time it will be too late.

So that’s my take on ‘last days’ over the last half a century. I might have missed out on some, but I don’t think so. If I have then I’ll blame my old room mate, ‘sleep deprivation.’

There are a couple of ‘last day’ encounters/wins I’ve left to last as they don’t include Rangers, but in some small part they involve us.

1964/65 – Those of us of a certain vintage will remember a certain Willie Waddell as Kilmarnock manager galloping all over the Tynecastle turf back in 1965.

On the last day of the season Kilmarnock needed a 2-0 victory to clinch the title and thus thwart Hearts. They did. I need remind no one that Waddell would play another part in The Rangers story in seasons to come.

1985/86 – After a glorious run, Hearts need only a draw at Dens Park to win their first title since 1959/60. The roof caved in, with seven minutes left to play. You know the rest.

I think I’m right in saying, that back in 1964/65, ‘Goal Average’ decided the title and in 85/86 it was ‘Goal Difference.’

Thing is, if Goal Difference was ‘in’ back in 65, then Hearts would have been champions. If Goal Average had been in vogue in 86, Hearts would have been champions.

When you think how Celtic nipped in to take advantage of the decimation of the Hearts squad during the Great War, then you have to say the fates have not always smiled kindly on the men from Gorgie.

But back to 1986. I remember coming home from our last game against Motherwell and hearing the news coming through at how Celtic had walloped St Mirren at Paisley, even though they had only scraped by them by the odd goal (at CP, I’m sure) a couple of weeks beforehand.

You have to ask, did that lot winning the title in 86, amidst all the euphoria and sensationalism regards Souness coming to Ibrox, make them feel a little complacent? I certainly hope so!

Yours in last gasp mode,

PS, If the words of another Polish goal keeping non-entity, doesn’t get our lads up for the fight on Sunday then nothing will.

Make that goalie work his back on Sunday. And no, this has nothing to do with Bor… Aw get yer minds outta the gutter.