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Friday 26th February 2021

10 finals to remember

As Livingston and St Johnstone prepare to contest the 75th League Cup Final on Sunday, we look back at some classic clashes from the past…

East Fife 3-2 Partick Thistle — 1953/54
East Fife became the first team to win the League Cup for the third time as goals from Frank Christie, Charlie Fleming and Ian Gardiner saw the trophy return to Bayview following the successes against Falkirk in 1947/48 and Dunfermline in 1949/50. Johnny McKenzie and Jimmy Walker scored for the Jags.

Celtic 7-1 Rangers — 1957/58
Watched by 82,293 fans, the first Old Firm League Cup decider produced what remains the biggest final win in the tournament’s history. In a season when both clubs finished behind champions Hearts in the title race, Celtic ran up seven goals in an incredible game. Billy McPhail hit a hat-trick for Jimmy McGrory’s team and Neil Mochan weighed in with a double. Sammy Wilson and Willie Fernie (penalty) were also on target, with a Billy Simpson goal not much of consolation for Scot Symon’s team.

Partick Thistle 4-1 Celtic —1971/72
In a season when Celtic ran away with the title, thrashed Hibernian 6-1 in the Scottish Cup Final and lost only on penalties to Inter Milan in the semi-final of the European Cup, Jock Stein’s men were humbled by the Jags in front of 62,740 stunned spectators at Hampden. Almost unbelievably, Thistle stormed into a 4-0 lead by half-time thanks to goals from Alex Rae, Bobby Lawrie, Denis McQuade and Jimmy Bone. Kenny Dalglish pulled one back but nothing could stop Davie McParland’s Jags from celebrating the greatest triumph in their history.

Celtic 6-3 Hibernian — 1974/75
Hibernian were in this game at half-time but Celtic, inspired by Jimmy Johnstone, ultimately had too much in what remains the highest-scoring Scottish League Cup final of all time. A crowd of 53,848 at Hampden saw Dixie Deans and Joe Harper trade hat-tricks, with Johnstone, Paul Wilson and Steve Murray also on target for Jock Stein’s men as Eddie Turnbull’s men lost out, two years after beating the same opponents in the final.

Dundee United 3-0 Aberdeen — 1979/80
A historic occasion as Jim McLean guided Dundee United to their first major trophy, doing so at the home of their neighbours. There were almost 29,000 fans packed into Dens Park for the midweek replay — more than had watched the 0-0 draw at Hampden — and they saw United dominate against Alex Ferguson’s team. Willie Pettigrew scored twice and Paul Sturrock was also on target for the Terrors, who beat Dundee a year later to retain the trophy.


Rangers 3-3 Aberdeen — 1987/88
An epic. Rangers came from behind to win the League Cup on penalties as a crowd of 71,961 witnessed one of the best games ever seen at Hampden. Aberdeen were ahead through Jim Bett’s penalty but Graeme Souness’s side hit back through Davie Cooper’s thunderous free-kick and an Ian Durrant goal. Ian Porterfield’s men responded with a stirring fightback and led after goals from Willie Falconer and John Hewitt, only for Robert Fleck to equalise with time running out. Surprisingly, an amazing match failed to produce an extra-time goal and Rangers won it when Durrant converted his penalty after Peter Nicholas had sent his effort on to the bar.

Rangers 3-2 Aberdeen — 1988/89
Rangers and Aberdeen had a lot to live up to but they produced another enthralling final in front of 72,122 fans. Ally McCoist gave Rangers the lead from the penalty spot but Davie Dodds equalised, only for Ian Ferguson to restore the Light Blues’ advantage early in the second half. Dodds looped a superb header over Chris Woods from a Jim Bett cross but McCoist pounced with a couple of minutes left and a goalline clearance denied Aberdeen extra time. The teams met again a year later and this time it was Aberdeen who got their hands on the silverware with a 2-1 win.

Raith Rovers 2-2 Celtic — 1994/95
Jimmy Nicholl’s men earned a famous triumph, beating hot favourites Celtic 6-5 on penalties after a thrilling game watched by 45,384 fans at Ibrox. Rovers were a First Division side at the time but when Scott Thomson saved from Paul McStay in the shoot-out the trophy was heading to Kirkcaldy. Stevie Crawford gave Raith the lead but Andy Walker equalised before half-time and when Charlie Nicholas struck with four minutes left Tommy Burns’ men were set for victory. But Gordon Dalziel popped up to make it 2-2 and, with no goals in extra time, the Stark’s Park men prevailed on penalties to bring European football to Stark’s Park.

Rangers 4-3 Heart of Midlothian — 1996/97
It was a grim November afternoon at Celtic Park but Rangers and Hearts dished up a thriller, six months after Walter Smith’s side had beaten the same opponents 5-1 in the Scottish Cup. This was a much closer contest as Steve Fulton and John Robertson hauled Jim Jefferies’ men level after an Ally McCoist double. Two goals from the outstanding Paul Gascoigne made the difference but Hearts never gave up and Davie Weir pulled one back late on.

St Mirren 3-2 Heart of Midlothian — 2012/13
St Mirren had lost the 2009/10 final 1-0 to nine-man Rangers but finally got their hands on the trophy. Danny Lennon’s men had stunned Celtic 3-2 in the semi-finals and beat Hearts by the same margin in a captivating contest watched by 44,036 fans. Ryan Stevenson gave Hearts — looking to lift the trophy after an absence of half a century — an early lead but Esmael Goncalves, Steven Thompson and Conor Newton all scored for St Mirren by the midway point of the second half. Stevenson got one back with five minutes left but Saints clung on.