IT was, wrote the Evening Times’s Gair Henderson, quite the worst weather he had ever seen in all his football travels.

The Rangers-Celtic game at Ibrox on New Year’s Day 1959 was played amidst a “ferocious gale of wind and skin-flaying sleet and rain.” At one point, one of the goalkeepers, “who was clearly on the verge of collapse” pleaded with referee Jack Mowat to call a halt to proceedings. Then, when the storm “was at its height of cruelty” the referee consulted his linesmen and decided to play on. “It seemed to me to be more than flesh and blood could stand,” Henderson wrote. The Celtic ‘keeper, Dick Beattie, up to his ankles in mud and water, had the worst ordeal of all the 22 players on the field.

The Glasgow Herald’s Cyril Horne, who was also at the game, said the referee’s consultation had occurred just 35 minutes into the game, when not a single goal-line marking on the pitch was visible, and when more than one player appeared sure to collapse through exhaustion.”

The grim weather did at least discourage the sort of crowd behaviour that had led Rangers and the Glasgow police to set the terracing limit at 50,000 as a ‘test case’. During the game, police officers were stationed at regular intervals on every passageway in the terracing, while frequent announcements via loudspeakers reminded fans with flags or banners that they would be well advised to keep them hidden.

Read more:

Herald Diary

Rangers won 2-1 thanks to Andy Matthew and Eric Caldow (penalty), with Bertie Peacock scoring for Celtic. The photograph shows Rangers keeper George Niven clearing his lines under pressure.

That same day, the wind blew off half of the main-stand roof during the Forfar-Arbroath game.