Hampden Park, Glasgow, is by far the most emotive sporting locus in

Scotland. For generations of Scots, it has been the ultimate field of

dreams. In his dramatic and action-packed history of the ground --

The Hampden Story, to be published by Mainstream later this month

-- Russell Galbraith recalls the triumphs and the disasters, all the

great games and all the big names. Our two exclusive extracts

focus first on the bad (indeed the ugly) and then on the good (indeed

the beautiful). Today Galbraith recalls the two disgraceful riots that

disfigured the ground, first in 1909 and then in 1980.

Bottles and stones

were thrown at the

officers, who pluckily

held their ground

Only the brave intervention of a

comparatively small number of

police prevented supporters of both

sides from killing each other.

ALMOST everyone in the crowd of 60,000 who assembled at Hampden Park

on April 17, 1909, hoped they would see the Cup won in style, although

some would have settled for winning at any price. In a match featuring

the Old Firm, with a few neutrals present, there was only one truly good

result for either side -- victory! Few of those present would have been

happy when, for the second time in a week, the two sides finished level;

one each.

Rangers and Celtic wanted the match played to a conclusion; players

from both sides remained on the park long after the final whistle. In

the stand and on the terracings, as if expecting, or demanding, extra

time, thousands of fans waited with growing impatience for the game to

continue, unaware that, behind the scenes, a second replay had been

ordered for the following Wednesday.

Approached by a number of players and asked if he would allow the game

to continue, the unfortunate referee, who required offical approval for

such action, was obliged to refuse. Blowing insistently on his whistle,

and waving urgently at the players to leave the field, he brought the

day's official proceedings to a ragged conclusion.

Given the circumstances, and the explosive nature of the occasion, it

would have been impossible for the authorities to establish with any

accuracy how the worst of the trouble started. One eye-witness decribed

how ''a few individuals, who invaded the playing pitch more in a spirit

of curiosity than mischief, were joined by a crowd numbering several

hundred. Two policemen guarding the narrow passage leading to the

players' quarters blocked their path to the pavilion. The policemen

refused to stand aside and the crowd tried to overwhelm them with force

of numbers.''

As described by one reporter, ''Bottles, stones, and ashes were thrown

at the officers who pluckily held their ground though unable to prevent

about 40 venturesome men from making their way to the rear of the

covered stand. There, the mob were met by mounted constables and driven

back on to the playing pitch.''

Meanwhile, other sections of the crowd had invaded the pitch and

uprooted the goalposts at both ends. That appeared to be the worst of it

until a number of rioters ''left the field, rushed to the foot of the

north terracing, and proceeded to tear down the lining of the

barricades'', as The Glasgow Herald reported bleakly.

''Their object was soon apparent,'' the newspaper continued.

''The timbers were piled on the running track and set on fire. An

infuriated crowd surrounded the blazing pile and danced and cheered

wildly while willing hands seized more woodwork to feed the flames.''

The bonfire of timbers torn from the barricades grew and spread. A

huge crowd cavorted happily and noisily in the vicinity of the flames.

Sparks and smoke drifted towards neighbouring tenement homes. Astonished

tenants, looking down on the disturbance from three-storey windows, and

unaware of any danger to themselves, gaped and cheered.

Hundreds of fans could be seen ducking beneath the penning wires which

divided the terracings and scrambling on to the track, running across

the playing field and climbing into the stand.

A small group of mounted policemen guarded the players' entrance to

the pavilion. The men wore dark uniforms, with military-style peaked

caps. The horses were brown, with large eyes, short manes, and long dark

tails. Together they represented an elite unit within the Glasgow force.

Usually, on match days, the demands made on their time never stretched

beyond crowd control and helping to direct traffic in the precincts of

the stadium. Everyone took it for granted there was a darker side to

their nature and training.

James Verdier Stevenson, an Irishman, born in County Westmeath and

educated in Dublin, was a tough, uncompromising character with a strong

sense of public order who had been Chief Constable of Glasgow since

1902. Before coming to Scotland he had been head of the local

constabulary in Belfast, where be gained a reputation as a hardman. It

would have been his considered opinion that any football fan who allowed

himself to become part of a mob at Hampden, for whatever reason,

inflicted a personal affront on the dignity and reputation of the city.

People expected Stevenson and his officers to use whatever force they

deemed necessary to quell a riot. However, as the post-match activities

of large sections of the crowd continued at Hampden on that fateful day,

without strong reinforcements it was clearly unreasonable for anyone to

imagine that six or eight policemen on horseback could make much

impression on a riotous mob numbered in hundreds -- as The Glasgow

Herald informed its readers angrily in the aftermath to the events.

As the small group of mounted policemen bravely attempted their

near-impossible task, they were quickly surrounded on all sides, the

crowd in huge numbers pushing hard, forcing the horses to stumble,

tugging at their harness and the long coats worn by the riders,

pulling them out of control, so that finally, according to one report,

''at least two of the policemen were unhorsed and badly beaten''.

Other reports claimed that, elsewhere in the stadium, policemen who

lost touch with their colleagues had been set upon and beaten

unmercifully. Ambulancemen attempting to go to their aid also risked

being attacked. Similarly, when the Queen's Park Fire Brigade, with nine

engines in attendance, arrived on the scene, hoses were cut, and the

firemen forced to defend themselves against the riot

ers, standing shoulder to shoulder with the police and hurling stones

to deter their attackers.

In addition to the bonfire on the cinder-covered running track, a

burst of flame threatened the roof of the main pavilion at one stage and

the entrance to the ground in Somerville Drive was totally destroyed,

threatening houses on the opposite side of the narrow street.

At the height of the battle more than 300 policeman on foot and on

horseback, who had been rushed to the scene with batons drawn and ready

for use, were needed to disperse the crowd, forcing them into retreat,

back on to the terracings, where it was found the cables used in penning

made an organised charge, and counter-charge, almost impossible.

It appeared to The Glasgow Herald that the authorities ''were content

to keep the mob on the terracing, hoping that no further mischief would

be attempted and that the large covered stands and pavilions would thus

escape damage''. To the same source ''the pitch resembled a miniature

battlefield, civilians and policeman being carried over the ground in

dozens of stretchers or on the shoulders of willing helpers. Inside the

pavilion a number of medical men, assisted by four physicians from the

Victoria Infirmary, were administering first aid to the injured.''

At an emergency meeting, held to discuss the implications of the riot,

it was agreed for the first and last time in the history of the Scottish

Cup to abandon the competition and withhold the trophy and medals. The

decision had been taken, SFA president John Liddell was anxious to

explain, in order to convey the association's total disapproval of what

occurred at Hampden; and to avoid the risk of any repetition of what

happened in the previous match.

More than 70 years later, when a different generation of supporters of

the same two clubs reprised the riot of 1909, public reaction was much

the same. As The Glasgow Herald insisted: ''Arguing over which set of

supporters was to blame is an irrelevancy -- a futile extension of the

mindless partisanship that was the real cause of the trouble.''

On this occasion, the final of the Scottish Cup, played at Hampden on

May 10, 1980, the crowd was treated to a result. But the score, 1-0 to

Celtic in extra time, was never likely to improve the mood of the

Rangers faithful. Rangers needed to win to clinch a place in Europe the

following year. Celtic were hoping to compensate for the late loss of

the Premier championship to Aberdeen, in a thrilling finale to the

season-long struggle, by the margin of a single point. Afterwards, as

people inside and outside football tried to assess the extent of the

damage that had been done to the good name of Scotland by the

after-match mayhem at Hampden, it was left to the football writers to

remind anyone who cared to listen that it had been a match worthy of the


As Jim Reynolds argued in The Glasgow Herald, the match was one of the

most enjoyable Old Firm encounters for a long time: hard and tough, but

fair, and laced with good skills from both teams. Not that any of this

mattered to those intent on causing trouble. How many of those

responsible for the after-match scenes which disgraced the game in

Scotland cared that the winning goal, by George McCluskey, after 107

minutes as witnessed by Alex Cameron of the Daily Record, was both

cheeky and clever? ''Danny McGrain had shot the ball viciously back as

it was headed out,'' Cameron wrote. ''McCluskey, back to the goal,

flicked the ball with the outside of his left foot, changed direction

completely, and sent it well away from McCloy.''

IT WAS only the 11th Scottish Cup final meeting between the two clubs,

excluding 1909 when the trophy was withheld. Before the 1980 final

neither side could claim any advantage from the record books. Between

1894, when the two clubs first met in the final of the Scottish Cup, six

Old Firm finals contested between 1963 and 1977 ended with each side

able to claim the same number of wins.

GeorgeMcCluskey's goal put Celtic ahead. It also prevented Rangers

enjoying their third hat-trick of wins in the competition since the war.

The result also meant that, for the first time in 15 years, Rangers,

fifth in the league, failed to qualify for Europe.

The absence of lucrative, and glamorous, European opposition from the

Ibrox calendar in the year ahead was a bleak prospect for the always

ambitious Glasgow club. And, obviously, a huge disappointment to their

army of followers. But whatever the measure of their disappointment, and

however great the elation enjoyed by supporters at the opposite end,

no-one from either side, and no sensible supporter, could condone the

after-match scenes that disfigured the afternoon.

''The trouble started when Celtic fans spilled from the east terracing

to acclaim their Cup-winning

heroes,'' the Daily Record reported. ''Then raging Rangers fans swept

over the fences at their end and battle was joined.'' Showers of

bottles, stones, and cans rained on to the field. ''Battling fans, armed

with iron bars and wooden staves ripped from terracing frames, created

the most violent and ugly scenes seen at Hampden in more than 70

years,'' the report continued.

There were obvious similarities with events surrounding the Scottish

Cup final of 1909, not least the presence of teams representing Rangers

and Celtic. But this time, right from the start, instead of turning

their immediate attention to the police the fury of a large number of

opposing supporters was directed almost totally against each other.

Gangs of youths, who claimed an undying interest in the fluctuating

fortunes of both clubs, pursued rival groups on to the Hampden pitch.

And there, in full view of live television cameras which stayed long

after the game was finished to record the mayhem, they stood and fought;

not for the first time, in a city where this was the kind of colour

difference that really mattered, blue raging at green.

The winners had been given SFA permission to parade the cup in front

of their ecstatic followers: in the event of a Rangers victory, the

Ibrox side would have been equally entitled, and just as likely, to

demonstrate their delight. A 10ft perimeter fence had been installed at

considerable expense to prevent disgruntled, or excited, fans from

either side invading the pitch. Before the final, officials of the SFA,

determined to rid the game in Scotland of its persistent hooligan image,

appeared inordinately proud of their splendid new fence. Now they

watched in horror as hundreds of Celtic fans, intent on joining their

heroes' on-field celebrations, clambered across with ease.

''The barriers were completely inadequate,'' Chief Constable Patrick

Hamill complained later. ''They acted as no deterrent.''

At first, according to an official SFA report which examined the cause

of the riot, there was nothing violent in the exchanges between players

and fans. Rather, according to the SFA, it was a spontaneous, if

misguided, expression of joy, with fans cavorting around and generally

celebrating with the Celtic players their exuberance at victory.

But long after the losers' medals had been presented, on the west

terracing, at least, disappointment at the result was clearly palpable.

Hundreds of Rangers fans, determined to salvage some sort of perverse

satisfaction from a disastrous afternoon, remained in their places to

hurl abuse at the winners parading the Cup; to fill the Hampden air with

jeers and taunts.

The presence of any number of Celtic fans, chanting and jeering on the

Hampden playing pitch, mixing with their idols, triumphant in green and

white hoops, happily posing for photographs, waving to their supporters,

and passing the Scottish Cup from hand to hand, was unlikely to improve

the questionable demeanour of those who watched the celebrations, with

angry concentration, from the Rangers end.

And no-one with any real sense of Glasgow was entitled to harbour

feelings of surprise, never mind shock, when fans in blue and white

scarves, occupying the west terracing, began scaling the inadequate

fence that separated them from their tormentors.

People of a generally pacific nature who remained in the stadium,

expecting an orderly end to the match, and millions more watching on

television, could only stare in disbelief when, in the words of one

eye-witness: ''The thin blue line of police found themselves overwhelmed

as fans descended upon them from the terracing, scaling the much-vaunted

safety fences with ease.''

Predictably, it wasn't long before the earlier, harmless cavorting at

the Celtic end, described in the SFA report, altered course with

disastrous effect. No sooner did the first wave of Celtic fans cross the

half-way line than a large number of Rangers fans went to meet them --

''ready for war'', in the words of one report.

''There was no question of celebration in the minds of the fans who

invaded from the west end of the ground,'' the SFA reported,

ingenuously. ''They had violence in mind, and no sooner was it offered

than it was returned with enthusiasm.'' Before long, ''the pitch had

become a battlefield and the police and medical centres outside the

south stand looked like a scene from a disaster film''.

Only the brave intervention of a comparatively small number of police,

some of them on horseback, prevented supporters of both sides from

killing each other -- and anyone else who happened to intrude.

Chief Constable Hamill was later criticised for positioning too few

men inside the stadium at the end of the match. However, additional

police were assigned to Hampden immediately the extent of the fighting

became known. At the height of the trouble, 500 police were on duty

inside the stadium, helping to quell the riot. ''Just how many officers

does it now take to police such an occasion?'' a police spokesman,

fielding criticism with ill-concealed anger, inquired later.

The SFA was in no doubt that what happened at Hampden following the

match ''brought disgrace upon the two clubs concerned, upon Scottish

football generally, and were an affront to Scotland as a nation''.

A fine of #20,000 was imposed on each of the finalists. Celtic felt

particularly aggrieved that, in some quarters, they were singled out for

special blame. Immediately after the match, the president of the SFA,

Willie Harkness, told reporters it was the Celtic players parading the

cup in front of their own fans that helped spark the pitch invasion.

Even worse, the Secretary of State for Scotland, George Younger, in a

statement to the House of Commons, claimed it was drink, and the actions

of the Celtic players, that led to the riot.

Billy McNeill, the Celtic manager, defended his team against

all-comers. ''I felt that nothing my players did was anything other than

players throughout the world would have done in similar circumstances,''

he told reporters. ''For anyone to suggest that they were the culprits

for what happened was, in my opinion, irresponsible,'' he insisted.

More than 160 people were arrested inside the ground and 50 others

outside. In the words of one report: ''For a time it was mob rule, with

hordes of fans, most of whom were drunken teenagers, jostling,

swaggering, jeering, swearing, and singing along the main routes into

the city.''

The Glasgow Herald thought the appalling scenes at Hampden put the

whole of Scotland, and especially Glasgow, in a shameful light. ''Years

of patient effort to persuade industrialists and others that Glasgow is

a desirable place to live are easily negated in a few moments on the

national television news,'' the newspaper commented sombrely.

Most people acknowledged the religious differences that existed

between supporters of the two clubs -- ''the root cause of the hatred

and bitterness which has existed between the two sets of supporters for

decades'', the official SFA response noted scathingly.

* Extracted from The Hampden Story by Russell Galbraith (Mainstream,

#14.99) to be published on Monday, October 25.

* Next week: the greatest of all games played at Hampden -- the

unforgettable 1960 European Cup Final.