Rangers, at this time, were something of a permanent fixture in Scottish Cup final, qualifying eight years on the spin, with varying degrees of success. The last time they had won the trophy prior to 1981, was two years earlier, when it took three games and two helpings of extra-time to see off Hibs, and even then it was by an own goal.

Their 1980 final against Celtic, which they lost, had also needed an additional half-hour to find a winner. So not too many were surprised when the final against Dundee United drew a blank after 120 minutes, although that owed much to the overly-cautious approach adopted by Rangers boss John Greig, and the respective goalkeepers, notably United’s Hamish McAlpine who saved a spot kick from Ian Redford after Iain Phillip had impeded Bobby Russell.

Second-time around on the Wednesday, Rangers were completely transformed, thanks entirely to the introduction of Davie Cooper from the off. Given a roving commission, Cooper opened the scoring, as first John Holt, then Dave Narey failed to clear. Cooper latched on to the loose ball, touched it on with his knee, before deftly flicking the ball over the onrushing McAlpine. 

He then turned provider, whipping a free-kick in from the left that Russell smacked home on the half-volley at the back stick. And while Davie Dodds reduced the deficit, Cooper’s continued his virtuoso performance by threading a pass through to John MacDonald running through the inside-left channel, who tucked the ball under McAlpine.

MacDonald, set up by Redford late on, completed the scoring, but the night had belonged to Cooper, who told reporter Ian Paul of The Herald; “I always like playing at Hampden and the free role I was given was just perfect. You can certainly say I enjoyed myself.”

It was skipper Ally Dawson who lifted the cup.  Amazingly, the next Gers captain to do so would be Richard Gough, eleven years later.

Teams (replay)

Rangers: Stewart, Jardine, Dawson, Stevens, Forsyth, Bett, Cooper, Russell, Johnstone, Redford, MacDonald.

Substitutes: McLean, McAdam (not used)

Dundee United: McAlpine, Holt, Kopel, Phillip (Stark), Hegarty, Narey, Bannon, Milne, Kirkwood, Sturrock, Dodds.

Substitute: Pettigrew (not used)

Neil Cameron’s reflections

Yeah, a goalless draw in the last final which went to a replay is one of my highlights.

I can picture this one, with real clarity, and your first time is always special. I was eight, it was a scorching day and I watched it at my gran’s.

Paul Sturrock was my hero so I rooted for Dundee United who, if my memory serves me right (and the brain cells ain’t what they used to be), it was all United that day and Rangers goalkeeper Jim Stewart had the game of his life.

Rangers missed a penalty in the last minute of the 90 when the late Ian Redford was denied by Hamish McAlpine.

Weirdly, I have absolutely no recollection of the replay.