IT WAS the first time a British club had ever reached a European final – and despite eventually losing out to Fiorentina, Rangers did Scotland and the UK proud in the 1961 European Cup Winners Cup.

Ten teams had taken part in the inaugural tournament and the Ibrox club, managed by Scot Symon, had defeated the Hungarians Ferencvaros 5-4 on aggregate to reach the last eight, where they hammered Borussia Moenchengladbach 11-0 over two legs. A 3-1 aggregate win over Wolverhampton Wanderers had Rangers supporters dreaming of success in the final, on May 27.

The first Cup-Winners’ Cup final was the only two-legged affair until the competition was disbanded in 1999.

“Rangers put up a great fighting performance,” reported the Evening Times the next day, “but they were beaten by inspired team tactics in both matches.”

The report also praised ‘individual brilliance’ on the field from players like Jim Baxter, who would, of course, go on to become a legendary figure at the club.