IBROX DISASTER
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This page is in memory of the 66 supporters who lost their lives on Stairway 13 on the 2nd of January 1971.

Those who lost their lives:

GLASGOW

DAVID ANDERSON [45]
JOHN BUCHANAN [32]
RICHARD BARKE [15]
DAVID DUFF [23)
PETER FARRIES [26]
JOHN GARDINER [32]
THOMAS GRANT [16]
CHARLES LIVINGSTON [30]
BRIAN HUTCHINSON [16]
JOHN JEFFREY [16]
ANDREW LINDSAY [18]
THOMAS MELVILLE [17]
FRANCIS DOVER [16]
ROBERT MULHOLLAND [16]
DUNCAN McBREARTY [17]
DONALD McPHERSON [30]
THOMAS McROBBIE [17]
ROBERT RAE [25]
WILLIAM SHAW [30]
WALTER SHIELDS
GEORGE SMITH [40]
WILLIAM SOMERHILL [17]
JAMES TRAINER [20]
JOHN CRAWFORD [23]
GEORGE FINDLAY [21]
JOHN NEIL

LIVERPOOL

NIGEL PICKUP [9]

EDINBURGH

WALTER RAEBURN [36]
JAMES SIBBALD [28]
ROBERT C CAIRNS [17]

LANARKSHIRE

THOMAS DICKSON [32]
IAN FREW [21]
JAMES GREY [37]
IAN HUNTER [14]
JAMES MAIR [19]
ROBERT MAXWELL [15]
ALEXANDER ORR [16]
MATTHEW RIED [49]
CHARLES STIRLING [20]
PETER WRIGHT [31]

ARGYLL

GEORGE IRWIN [22]

FIFE

PETER EASTON [13]
MARTIN PATON [14]
MASON PHILLIPS [14]
BRIAN TODD [14]
DOUGLAS MORRISON [15]

RENFREWSHIRE

HUGH ADDIE [33]
ROBERT GRANT [21]
ALEX McINTYRE [29]
GEORGE WILSON [15]

STIRLINGSHIRE

MARGARET FERGUSON [18]
ROBERT McADAM [36]
RICHARD McLEAY [28]
JOHN McLEAY [23]

WEST LOTHIAN

RUSSEL MALCOLM [16]

DUMBARTONSHIRE

GEORGE ADAMS [43]
ROBERT CARRIGAN [13]
CHARLES DOUGAN [31]
ADAM HENDERSON
DAVID McGHEE [14]
THOMAS MORGAN [14]
JAMES RAE [19]
JOHN SEMPLE [18]
THOMAS STIRLING [16]
DONALD SUTHERLAND [14]

EAST LOTHIAN

JAMES McGOVERN [24]

"As Rangers failed to make any significant challenge to Celtic at the top of the league, 2 January 1971 arrived to make everyone forget about football. At the end of the'Old Firm' clash at Ibrox, the steel barriers on Stairway 13 in the ground gave way and a total of sixty-six people were suffocated to death and many more injured in the resulting crush. It was thought that Colin Stein's dramatic equaliser for Rangers in the final seconds of the match, a minute after Jimmy Johnstone had opened the scoring for Celtic, caused fans who were leaving the ground tocome back and meet a wave of jubilant fans coming in the opposite direction. The inquiry that followed the horrific disaster found this to be untrue. The crowd had remained to the end and were heading in the same direction when the crush took place halfway down Stairway 13. The game had been good-natured and there were just two arrests made by police, both for drunkenness, in the all-ticket crowd of 80,000.

The Old Firm came together to help the victims of the tragedy and a special match between Scotland and a Rangers and Celtic Select XI was played in front of an 81,405 crowd at Hampden."

- Rangers :The Official Illustrated History by Stephen Halliday


The following article comes from the Matchday Programme of January 2nd 1991, the 20th anniversary of the disaster :

A minute's silence will be observed before today's match as a mark of respect to the 66 supporters who tragically lost their lives a Ibrox Stadium on this day, twenty years ago. Willie Waddell wrote at the time:

"These have been black days at Ibrox . . . days of grief and anguish. The scar is deep."

Ibrox Stadium has been rebuilt in their memory.

Team captain on that tragic day, John Greig, now the club's Public Relations Executive, recalled the events that will remain in his memory forever.
"I sustained an injury during the match," said Greig.
"And it was only some 20 or 30 minutes after the final whistle that I realised the extent of the tragedy. Most of the players left the Stadium knowing something had happened. I stayed behind for treatment, but when I went down the tunnel and saw all those poor people that had died covered up, that was when it hit me."
"The feeling of helplessness surrounded most of the people at Ibrox, and it was left to the professionals to get on with helping those injured."
"I think I can say, probably on behalf of everybody here at Rangers, that will remain the saddest day not only inour life-span, but ever in the history of the club."
"Willie Waddell contacted all of the bereaved families to ask permission for players and officials from the club to attend each and every one of the funerals. An absolutely horrendous time because each individual at the club felt it had happened to their own familes."
"One thing I'll never forget was the next time we played at Ibrox against Dundee United on the 16th of January was the atmosphere inside the park. It was the strangest came I ever played in."
"From a personal point of view it's something I'll never forget. It's always at the back of my mind when I take people around the new stadium we have rebuilt that it has been built in memory for those unfortunate supporters and their families"
"I sincerely hope that we never see the likes of that day at Ibrox or any other ground again."


This quote is from John Greig, speaking after being vote the Greatest Ranger Ever on the 21st March 1999 :

"The disaster will never leave me. Never a day goes by that it doesn't go through my mind. I still get letters from guys who have never been back to Ibrox for a game since that day. I have taken some of them around the stadium for them to see what it is like now. The new stadium is, in fact, a testament to those who died. In the trophy room there is a beautiful picture of the old stadium up on the wall. For me, it is one of the most important things in that room and I make a point of showing it to the people who go there. It's important, especially for the young fans who have only seen the new stadium, that they know the history of this club, where we came from and why we came from that point."


Personal Accounts

My Father: George Alexander Smith By Craig Smith

He was a glazier to trade, and until, 3 years ago I had followed in his footsteps. My lasting memories of him are of a kind and loving father a man with a smile on his face. My last memory was the day of the old firm game a Ibrox on the 2nd of January 1971. As he put his coat on to go to the game I asked if I could go with him, he laughed as he pointed out that my two older brothers werenít going with him as it was too big a match, he turned and kissed us all goodbye. He was off to meet up with his brother John and his brother in law Alex.It was the usual after the New Year plenty of presents for us all still to play with and my brotherís birthday the next day. The weather was foggy and cold. As the day went on it didnít seem any different from any other. At about ten to five a news flash interrupted the T.V. there had been an accident at Ibrox thatís all it said no mention of the scale just some people had been injured, my brothers immediately pointed out that the picture that had been flashed up on the screen was not of Ibrox something that STV was very good at. My mother looked worried but not concerned, as time moved on though she did, usually he would go to the pub after the game but on this night they had arranged to go to the golf club dance, she started to get worried why hadnít he called, she started to call round his friends and family but no one had heard from any of them that were at the match. It was now getting late and you could tell there was something not right just by my mothers expressions, she was on the phone constantly. We lived at that time in a high rise flat 14th floor up at Tarfside Oval. Above our living room was the landing that lead to the lift, I remember a loud noise a lot of people walking along it at the same time then the door bell went my brother Stephen went up the stairs to answer it, I was sitting in the livingroom with my other brother George people were coming down the stairs my mum screamed then George screamed tears were streaming down their cheeks, I couldnít understand what was going on.

My father and his brother and brother in law were standing at the Rangers end it was 1-0 to Celtic near the final whistle then Rangers scored jubilantly they made their was to the to of the terracing at stairway 13, as they got nearer the top they could feel the crowd getting tighter. People behind pushing them on and over the top of the stairs, worried looks on people as if they knew there was something wrong, over they went being forced by the weight behind them, it seemed that they were about half way down the stairs, John was now lifted off his feet, Alex had managed somehow to get over the fence which was at the side of the stairs, my dad pushed John up and over towards the fence people were pulling each other over the fence, as John got over he looked out on the sea of faces it was obvious that people were dead,he turned to look for his brother George as he reached for him he saw him swept away with the force of the crowd, screaming at him he saw his brother,my father die, upright. The life squeezed from him.

As my fathers family made their way to my house, they went to my grans house first, my mothers mother, who lived across the street. In there were my mothers brothers who had been waiting to go to the golf club dance. When she answered the door my uncles said that they had lost George at Ibrox he was dead. It was decided that my motherís brothers would come over and tell us the news. On the way they met two policemen who were about to come over and they said that they would break the news to their sister, the police looked relived, who wouldnít be, that was the crowd of people who came to the door that night, my fathers brothers couldnít move with shock who could blame them. Anger followed this that a stairway on which had already had deaths could be left to kill so many, on the same stairway in September 1961 two were killed, then on September 1967 eight were injured and again on 2nd of January 1969 twenty-four were injured.

At that time we lived in house 66 on the 14 floor although you had to walk down to our livingroom on the 13th floor. My father was born on the 14th of August, was killed on the 13th stair and was one of 66 killed.

This is to the memory of all 66 who were killed and to the scars of the 145 injured

Craig Smith, Livingston.


A survivor of the Ibrox Disaster From William Mason

Almost all memory of the game escapes me now, apart from the end, but what happened on Stairway 13 will haunt me for the rest of my days. It was well after the final whistle when my five mates and I made our way towards the Stairway 13 exit, as was usual at that time there was crushing at the top of the stairs, especially at big games. As I started down I was lifted off my feet by the press of the crown, again not unusual, but about a quarter of the way down I began slowly falling forward. The crush began to be unbearable until about half way down the crowd stopped moving but the pressure continued. I was trapped, being crushed and lying almost horizontally, I managed to somehow free my upper chest and just managed to breath. Around me I could hear shouting and cries but as time went on, (I was trapped for at least 45 minutes), these decreased until it was almost silent. I just wanted to sleep, (asphyxiation, lack of oxygen), but the man nearest to me slapped my face to try and keep me alert. I stayed conscious throughout until rescued by the police and was carried and laid out on the pitch, remember this would be about 6 PM on January 2, dark sky (the floodlights were on) and very cold. I was then carried into the stadium and this was the worst part, I could not speak, was barely breathing, cold and in shock. I was left in a dressing room were all around me were stretchers with bodies, no sounds and some already covered up. That sent me over the edge and I started crying, it was then a nurse spotted the tears and I was quickly removed from the stadium to the Victoria Infirmary along with another badly injured man. There I was treated for broken ankle and crush injuries. I didn't go back to Ibrox or any football match for 17 years but have since returned and am now, proudly an Ibrox season ticket holder. I was eighteen in 1971 and for the past almost 30 years have met people that were at the game but have never met or talked to any of the 145 others who were injured. This is the first time I have written my account and although the physical injuries healed, I know the mental pain is still there for many survivors and victim's families.

William Mason - Updated July 7th, 2004



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