A FOOTBALL team is nothing without its fans – and they turned out in their thousands when Rangers came home with the 1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup, 50 years ago this week.

Glasgow Times: RANGERS FANS on their way to Barcelona in 1972

The Glasgow club seemed certain to repeat its European triumph earlier this week, against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final in Seville, but it was not to be.

However, the run up to Wednesday’s big game has brought back many happy memories for fans who witnessed the momentous win five decades ago.

It was a legendary moment in Glasgow football history.

Glasgow Times: Rangers v Dynamo Moscow, 1972

The Old Firm club played Dynamo Moscow at the Camp Nou in Barcelona on May 24, in front of a crowd of 24,701.

It was third time lucky for the Glasgow club – they had lost the previous two European finals in 1961 and 1967.

Before half-time, they were two goals up, and minutes into the second half, they scored a third. Victory looked certain.

And then, Dynamo Moscow pulled back a goal. And then another…

Rangers did go on to win 3-2 but it had been a nervy second half.

The Evening Times paid tribute to the team’s performance as preparations got underway to bring the cup to Ibrox.

Sports writer Jim Blair said: “Their performance in this tournament has been particularly outstanding, in view of their lack of domestic success.

“Star men in the Rangers side last night were Peter McCloy, Derek Johnstone, Dave Smith and those two tireless front runners Colin Stein and Willie Johnston. This was Rangers’ finest hour…”

The victory is considered to be the greatest in the club’s history and the team was given the nickname the Barcelona Bears.

Just as the Glasgow Times did this week on the streets of Seville and Glasgow, our reporters and photographers captured all the excitement in a series of reports on the build-up back in 1972.

“The airport was a sea of red, white and blue as the last fans flew out,” we reported on May 24. “All of them were convinced Rangers would bring their first-ever European trophy back to Glasgow.

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“Mrs Anne Livingstone, of Shawlands, was up all night making a hat for her grandson, John Swandell.

“Sporting the hat and a Union Jack cloak, John, who is a mechanic said, ‘I think Gran would have liked to come herself.

“Colin Roger, Of Castlemilk, is prepared to walk home from Barcelona should Rangers draw tonight. ‘Since I’m over there, I might as well wait on to see a replay on Friday,’ he said.”

At Prestwick Airport, we reported “a dozen jets transported more than 1500 fans in a frantic last-minute rush.

“There were large crowds in the airport bank exchanging their British currency for Spanish coins. One of the keenest fans was 23-year-old Andrew Robertson from Stirlingshire who was wheeled aboard in a wheelchair,” the report continued.

“’I have followed Rangers all my life but this is the first time I will have seen them play abroad,” he said.

Were you at the game in 1972? Share your memories with Times Past.