1957 Scottish Cup: Berwick Rangers 1 Falkirk 2

George Merchant follows up to net.
George Merchant follows up to net.

The Falkirk herald looks back at the 1957 Scottish Cup run that earned the Bairns the famous trophy 60 years ago.

Round Five

Crossing the border en route to Berwick, a signpost bears the message - “Haste ye back to Scotland,” and as the picturesque town is approached another signpost reminds that - “You are now entering the ancient and historical town of Berwick-upon-Tweed”.

Hereabouts was the scene of bloody Border uprising twixt Sassenach and Scot in days of yore, but the modern version in the shape of a Scottish Cup-tie at Shielfield Park, despite a week of special preparation by the Berwick players for the benefit of the insurgents from Falkirk, did not after all add another Scottish scalp to the ancient township.

Never at any time was there any suggestion that Berwick would repeat their day of glory of a few years back against Dundee and Falkirk gave their new manager, Mr Smith, the right send-off by wasting no finesse or time in obeying the signpost instruction of “Haste ye back to Scotland” and into the next round of the Cup.

As generally proves the case in these games, where the underdog has nothing to lose, the big clubs never have an easy passage and a glance at Saturday’s results will bear this out.

Many factors upset the fashionable set when they have to contend with such things as grounds that are never rolled, balls that are soft, and the enthusiasm of the locals to be giant-killers. Leading clubs are always glad to get through such engagements without mishap.

For most of the first half the Bairns strove in vain for the goal that would settle them against the enthusiasm of the home side, but ex-bairn and Berwick captain Jimmy Gallacher was an inspiration to his defence.

It was well for the Bairns that Andy Irvine was mopping up the Berwick attacks and there were signs of desperation evident in the anxiety of Falkirk to get on top. With the Rangers’ backs making many mistakes it was surprising how their goal didn’t fall.

The Bairns restarted with a raid that brought a penalty, Grierson beat the Berwick keeper but left-back Runciman brought off a great save. George Merchant took the kick. Gullan saved but couldn’t hold and the Falkirk centre followed up.

This was a set-back to the locals and when Alex Wright smashed one of his specials in to give the Bairns a two-goal lead it seemed all over. Jimmy Gallacher rallied and inspired his colleagues in the closing stages and when centre-forward Clark scored with two minutes to go Berwick went mad with excitement and expectation.

The gallant Rangers had left their effort too late and Falkirk were through to the next round.