THE DAY THAT WAS: Shots fired, I am the 1 in 10.
Today I have picked another significant event in time, and the Rangers game that followed it.
DATE: 30th March 1981
EVENT: Attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.
This would be the last time a US president ever left via the front door of a building.
Just 69 days after being sworn in as US president Ronald Reagan is shot and wounded along with three of his attendants, critically wounding Reagan’s Press Secretary James Brady. Leaving the Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. following an address to the Labour union, a lone gunman opened fire, his motive is one of the most strange and surreal things in American history, hoping to gain the affections of actress Jodie Foster.
The assassin John Hinckley was a drifter and loaner, growing up in Dallas as part of a wealthy family, dropping out of university in his teens.
The bullet just missed seriously injuring the newly sworn in President, no mean feat for a 70-year-old man. Famously joking to his surgeons “please tell me you’re all Republicans” and to the First Lady “ I forgot to duck”. This only served to enhance the already popular public perception of Reagan.
Reagan is fondly remembered in the States despite his shortcomings, including the arms for hostages in the Iran-Contra affair, the famed Reaganomics and the Star Wars defence program. This was just another remarkable chapter in the life of a man who had started out as a beat writer for the Chicago Cubs, before moving into acting then politics, becoming governor of California.
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On a personal note, the President once visited Paisley in 1993 after tracing a distant relative to the town, taking a painting from the church he visited as a gift that hung in his California residence until his passing.
Rangers’ first match after this world event was the clash at Ibrox with Morton.
DATE: 1st April 1981
VENUE: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
SCORE: 4-0 (D.Johnstone 16,87 Redford 33 McDonald 75)
COMPETITION: First Division
Only around just over 5,000 fans turned up to Ibrox as Rangers took on Morton in a midweek clash, one of the smallest crowds ever to witness a first-team match.
The game would serve as a Scottish Cup semi-final rehearsal, with the sides due to meet in the last four at Hampden, a game and competition Rangers would go on to win after a replay with Dundee United, under the stewardship of John Grieg.
Derek Johnstone would give the home side the lead after only 16 minutes, heading home from an Ian Redford cross. On 33 minutes Redford himself would get on the score sheet, turning in the rebound from a well saved John McDonald free kick.
It was McDonald’s turn on 75 minutes, before Derek Johnstone grabbed a second 3 minutes from the end.
The victory would keep the Light Blues in 4th position, 2 points ahead of St Mirren in fifth and 2 points off Dundee United in third.
These were not vintage times for Rangers and the crowd was a reflection of society as much as anything during this era. The UK was in the midst of the 3-day week, high unemployment and soaring interest rates, the manufacturing industry that had provided a career for so many was on the verge of collapse, football was just not an expense many people at the time could simply afford. It was not just Ibrox who suffered from lower attendances in this era.
Stewart, Miller, Dawson, Forsyth, Jackson, Bett, Mclean, Russell, Johnstone, McDonald,
Subs: Cooper, Jardine
Baines,Haynes, Holmes, Rooney, Orr, McNeil, Busby, Thomson, Ritchie
Subs: Houston, Marr
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