Derby v Scottish clubs by Steve McGhee

Derby v Scottish clubs by Steve McGhee

This article will give a broad outline of the Rams’ post-war matches against Scottish opposition, highlighting what programmes were issued. Given the geographical proximity, games against clubs north of the border have actually been quite few and far between. For completion, I will list the pre-war games I’m aware of:

5.4.1890         Derby 5 Partick Thistle 1

1890s              Kilmarnock v Derby

26.4.1899       Hearts 2 Derby 2

14.12.1901      Dundee 1 Derby 2

1.1.1906          Dundee 1 Derby 1

13.4.1927        Derby 3 Airdrie 5  (benefit game for the Derbyshire County Cricket Club Nursery                                 Fund. Att: 6,893)

1932?              Derby v Aberdeen

29.9.1937       Derby 2 Hearts 3

11.11.1937       Hearts 2 Derby 1

10 years passed before the next example. It was the habit of the Edinburgh Charities Committee to invite a top English club to the capital to play an Edinburgh Select XI comprising players from Hibernian and Hearts, with all proceeds going to worthy causes. In August of 1947, the Rams accepted the invitation to appear at Easter Road.

The (unpriced) programme for this match is quite rare nowadays, possibly due to the fact that it was a relatively flimsy affair. 4 pages printed on green paper, there wasn’t too much to read other than the team line-ups, a list of the pipe bands who would make up the pre-match entertainment and the songs the crowd would be expected to sing along to! There was a trophy at stake – the Allison Cup – and the Rams eventually triumphed 5-4 (after being 1-3 down at half-time), goals from Steel, Broome, Stamps, Carter and, to win it, an own goal from the unfortunate McKenzie.

In October 1949, part of the deal which brought outside-left Hugh McLaren to Derby from Kilmarnock saw the Rams take on Killie in a friendly toward the season’s conclusion. This was played on April 19th 1950 and resulted in a 5-1 win for Derby in front of 17,900 spectators, McLaren himself scoring alongside Johnny Morris and a hat-trick from reserve striker Geoff Parkin.

For the game, Kilmarnock issued a special 8 page souvenir programme which, although there is no mention of Derby on the front cover, included two pages on the club, a team photograph and, intriguingly, a special welcome to the three surviving members of the Killie team who had played Derby in the 1890s (as previously mentioned). Another rare programme which does not appear on the market very often.

The introduction of floodlights at the Baseball Ground in late 1952 led to numerous “floodlit friendly matches” being arranged by the club over the next few years and, in season 1953/54, no less than five Scottish clubs were invited down to sample the atmosphere (most Scottish clubs didn’t install floodlights until the 1960s or later).

The first of these, on October 28th, was a 3-3 draw against Hibernian and a souvenir 8 page programme costing 3d was issued, very different to the standard league issue. Advert-free, the cover cleverly combined the “Ram” and the “floodlight” logos. Reading material was confined solely to introducing the visiting players and included a full-page Hibernian team photograph.

Next to visit, on December 2nd, were Partick Thistle, a crowd of 10,184 witnessing a 3-1 win for the Jags. On this occasion, the programme was a rather sparse 4 page issue, pen pictures having been dispensed with, though still employing the same “floodlit” cover as used against Hibernian. 45 minutes of pre-match entertainment from the Band of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment was promised as well as a half-time interval marching display by the same.

However, one wonders whether by the turn of the year the novelty of floodlit football had already worn off with the Derby public. Three subsequent matches were scheduled for the month of March but each saw disappointing attendances. On the 10th, 5,029 saw the Rams beat Stirling Albion 3-1, on the 24th East Fife won 3-1 in front of 5,527 fans and, a week later on the 31st, just 4,135 saw St. Mirren triumph 2-1. For each of these games, the programme issued was 4 pages, costing 2d. Though the cover remained the same as for that against Hibs, no photographs were included and notes on the visiting teams are noticeably less detailed.

All 5 of these issues, however, are amongst the most valuable of all post-war Derby home programmes. The respective crowds perhaps give an indication of how low the print runs presumably were.

In October of 1957, the Rams played two floodlit friendlies against Kilmarnock. On the 9th, a 1-1 draw at the Baseball Ground saw a 16 page programme issued. Although the same format as the issue for a normal league match, the front cover was the same design as employed for the 53/4 floodlit games. On the 28th of the month, Derby ventured north to play out a 2-2 draw at Rugby Park. I have never seen nor heard to date of a programme for this game. If anyone has any further information, please contact us!

Throughout their history, Dundee United had always been the poor relations of Tayside football but in 1959 along came Jerry Kerr to do to the club what, in many respects, Brian Clough did for Derby. One of his initiatives was to play as many friendly matches as possible against “better” opposition and, with that in mind, an invitation to venture north to Tannadice Park was sent to Derby. The match took place on Saturday March 12th 1960 (both clubs having been eliminated from their respective FA Cup competitions) and resulted in a 3-2 win for a United side who included future Liverpool legend Ron Yeats at centre-half. A 6 page gatefold-style programme was issued, costing 3d, mostly advertising but with notes by Mr. Kerr who had persuaded the Band of the Black Watch to perform at half-time for the crowd. Interestingly, the Rams are listed as lining up in red shirts and white shorts. Surely not!!

Forward to May 1967 and, on the 8th of that month, Hearts came to the Baseball Ground to play a pre-arranged post-season friendly. Such games used to be quite common but this one after a long, hard, disappointing season for both clubs’ players and supporters, was, given the attendance of 5,000 and the drabness of the 1-1 draw, perhaps a game too far. A standard 16 page programme was issued (price 6d) with the usual pen-pictures as well as a list of attendances for all Derby’s home games for the last two seasons. Useful for statisticians! The Rams’ side included future title-winners Colin Boulton, Peter Daniel and Ron Webster.

By the summer of 1968, the era of Clough and Taylor had unfolded and, with it, a marked emphasis on increasing the number of pre-season friendlies played. A two-match series was arranged between Derby and St. Johnstone as part of the clubs’ respective preparations for season 68/69, the first match taking place at Muirton Park on August 1st. Saints issued an 8 page programme costing 6d, the club notes of which give in some detail the travel arrangements for both clubs. The Rams had travelled up the night before and were staying in a hotel on the Perthshire borders. For the return match, the Saints players would be heading for Derby by train from Perth at 10am on the Sunday. The notes also state that this may be Dave Mackay’s debut for Derby, having signed a week earlier.

In the end, a disappointingly low crowd of 3,900 witnessed a 1-0 win for the home side and so, 4 days later, to the Baseball Ground for the return fixture. Derby issued a 16 page programme costing 9d which also covered the upcoming friendly with Sunderland which was shoehorned in between the two St. Johnstone games. Included in the programme is an “introducing our new captain” article in reference to Dave Mackay. A pity the photo used is of him in a Spurs shirt! Another low-ish crowd of 9,542 witnessed a 2-1 win for the Rams.

By the time Derby next faced Scottish opposition, not only were they an established First Division club but the rather mundane match programme of the 60s had been replaced by the, at the time, revolutionary “Ram” newspaper. The Texaco Cup was a sponsored tournament for British clubs who had been close to qualifying for Europe but failed to do so. Season 71/72 saw Derby invited to participate and the first round draw paired them with a Dundee United side still managed by the same Jerry Kerr who had invited the Rams to Dundee in 1960. The first leg at the Baseball Ground on September 15th saw the Rams romp to a 6-2 victory. The issue of the Ram for the game was the same as for a standard league match. The return leg at Tannadice on September 29th saw United win 3-2 with a 24 page programme issued. This included a 4 page “Texaco wraparound”, the actual match programme enclosed within it. Unusually for the time, there are no teams listed in 1-11 fashion – just the respective squads.

Having disposed of Stoke and Newcastle on their way to the two-legged final, Derby now faced surprise packages Airdrie, who were struggling in the relegation area of the Scottish First Division. For the first leg on January 26th, Airdrie produced a large-format 16 page programme costing 5p, the text making it quite clear that the home club were very much representing the Scottish nation in this tie! A crowd of 16,000 witnessed a hard-fought goalless draw in the mud of Broomfield Park and so to the second leg at the Baseball Ground.

At this point in time fixture congestion, with Derby on a Cup run and striving for the League title, played its part. Astonishingly, the return leg wasn’t played until April 26th some three months later (further information about this can be found in this article). 25,102 witnessed a 2-1 win for the Rams and the first of three trophies the club would end up with that season. Once again, a standard issue of the Ram was for sale including within it due apologies to all for the delay in playing the tie. The programmes for each leg of the Final are amongst the harder-to-find issues of the 71/2 season.

Texaco also issued a cup preview newspaper for both legs, a Scottish edition and an English edition, similar in style to Derby’s Ram newspapers of the time.

By the summer of 1975, Derby had won their second league title in four years and could lay claim to being one of the top clubs in the country. With the Charity Shield match at Wembley a week away, 2 games in 3 days in Scotland was seen as ideal preparation. On August 2nd, 45,000 watched Glasgow Celtic beat the Rams at Parkhead by a single goal. For this game, Celtic issued a large 8 page programme costing 10p and includes much statistical detail on the home club’s matches against English opposition over the last 10 years.

Two days later, the Rams travelled to Edinburgh to face Hibernian in a match to celebrate the home club’s centenary. A rather smart 16 page programme costing 10p was issued though, irritatingly, the date of the game is tucked away on page 3. Bruce Rioch spoiled the party, scoring the only goal of the game in front of a crowd of 17,296.

Oddly, twenty years passed before the Rams once again faced Scottish opposition. August 5th 1995, saw Hearts arrive at the Baseball Ground for a pre-season friendly. Derby issued a 50p programme which, as well as also covering the friendly against Leeds on August 8th, opened out into a poster which displayed the fixture list for the upcoming season. Quite a match, too, as Hearts fought back from a three goal deficit to snatch a draw.

On May 1st, 2006, a testimonial match was held at Pride Park for the “Tin Man” – Ted McMinn. His former club, Rangers, agreed to make up the opposition for a player still idolised at Ibrox, a fact made apparent by the 13,000 Rangers fans who travelled to Derby to watch the game between the “Derby County Legends” and the “Rangers Nine-In-A-Row”. The crowd of 33,475 set the stadium record, beating previous the highest league attendance of 33,378 against Liverpool in March 2000. A large-format 68 page brochure was issued to commemorate the occasion, at a cost of £5, packed full of articles and photographs commemorating Ted’s career.

The Rams travelled to play St. Mirren in a testimonial match for the Saints’ Hugh Murray on September 6th 2007. A crowd of 1,200 saw the home team win 1-0. Unfortunately the losing feeling was very much the norm this season! For the match a 24 page A4 Collectors’ Match programme was produced, priced at £3.

Derby have played two friendlies against Glasgow Rangers in recent years. The first meeting between the teams was at the iPro Stadium on 2 August 2014 (Pride Park was renamed the iPro Stadium between December 2013 and November 2016 in a sponsorship deal with the sports drink company). The 17,860 crowd, of which 8,576 were Rangers fans, saw Chris Martin score two second half goals in a 2-0 win for the Rams, with an off-the-ball incident involving Martin and Bilel Mohsni resulting in the Rangers defender being sent off. A small-size 32 page programme, priced at £2, features an interview with Ted McMinn which included photos from his 2006 benefit game.

Derby’s last game against a Scottish team was at Ibrox on 28 July 2019, their final friendly of a disrupted pre-season. The Rams had recently appointed Dutchman Phillip Cocu as manager to replace Frank Lampard, who had moved to Chelsea after only one season at Pride Park, just weeks after losing the Play-Off Final at Wembley to Aston Villa. A late headed goal from defender Nikola Katic seven minutes from time clinched a 1-0 win for Rangers in front of 19,843. A 68 page perfect bound programme was issued for the game, priced at £3.50. Interviews with current Ram Martyn Waghorn, who played for Rangers between 2015 and 2017, Roy Carroll and Ted McMinn are of interest to Derby fans.

This article first appeared in issue 2 of Derby County Memories magazine. Individual copies can be purchased on eBay for £1.99 post-free. A near complete collection of issues 2-21 can be purchased for £19.99 plus postage. For further details, see the About section.

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