Today I have picked another significant event in time, and the Rangers game that follows it.

DATE : 21st December 1988

EVENT : Lockerbie bombing (Lockerbie, Scotland).

Just four days before Christmas on 1988, in a small quiet village in Scotland hell came from the skies above, in a cowardly act that would change and ruin so many lives.

A Pan Am 747 aircraft on route from Frankfurt, Germany, via London Heathrow, to Detroit, including a scheduled stop at JFK airport in New York City, explodes over the skies of a sleepy Scottish village at 7.03pm, just as many were settling for the night and the looming festive period.

The 747 (clipper maid of the seas) had been loaded with explosives in the flight’s origin point, most probably by Iran in retaliation for the U.S military mistakenly shooting down an Iranian commercial aircraft several months earlier.

The bomb’s timer was supposed to go off as the plane crossed the Atlantic, but a short delay caused it to explode over Lockerbie. Scattering debris and bodies of passengers, many of whom were heading home for Christmas raining down on the residents below ripping through their roofs, in unimaginable scenes. The death toll would be 270, 259 on the aircraft and 11 on the ground, but would leave an impact on many more.

Rangers’ first game after these tragic events was, away to Hamilton

DATE : 31st December 1988

VENUE : Douglas Park, Hamilton

SCORE : 0-1 (D. Ferguson)

COMPETITION : Premier Division

Rangers entered the encounter at Douglas Park, 3 points ahead (2 points for a win in those days) of Dundee United in second, and 5 ahead of Aberdeen.

Before the game, rumours were rife amongst the Rangers support that this was to be Derek Ferguson’s last game for the club, the midfielder had put in a transfer request earlier in the season, after falling on the wrong side of player-manager Souness. The talk was of a swap deal with Nottingham Forrest, Stuart Pearce coming to Ibrox and Ferguson going south, reports were also circulating that Kevin Drinkell and Ray Wilkins, could also be moved on.

Rangers, had to do without the suspended Mark Walters, and injured John Brown, but both would return for the clash with Celtic 3 days later.

The first half was a game befitting the festive season, players on both sides looking as if they had one to many Christmas puddings. Hamilton came closest to scoring hitting Nicky Walkers post, with a Jim Weir strike.

In the second half, chances were sparse for both sides, Butcher going closest for the Gers, heading just past the post, and Rangers keeper Walker nearly gifting the accies a goal when he failed to take a long ball with conviction.

The game changed on the hour mark, Ferguson coming on as a second half substitute for Neale Cooper. Ferguson showed the games only real flash of skill, when cutting in from the right hand flashed a shot by, Hamilton’s, new player coach Alan Rough and into the net.

Maybe the players minds were focused on the upcoming old firm game, a game that seen Rangers run out 4-1 winners, but it was wins like this one at Douglas Park that titles and dynasties are built upon.


Walker, Stevens, N. Cooper (D. Ferguson 60) Butcher, Gough, Munro, I. McCall, Drinkell, Wilkins, Gray (Mcswegan), I Ferguson.