1877 - The Scottish Cup Finals
(The Finals of Firsts)

From the quarter-finals played on the 30th December 1876 the 1877 Scottish Cup Final was to be exceptional and in several ways. That was the day Queen's Park after three victorious campaigns lost its first ever national cup-tie. Moreover, the defeat would be at home and to the working-class team from Alexandria in Dunbartonshire, Vale of Leven, "The Vale" that would then for the first time go all the way to the final itself. 

There on 17th March it met Rangers, also a final debutant. The venue was Hamilton Crescent in front of 8,000 spectators with the Glasgow club, after defeating Lennox again in the quarter-final, then having had a semi-final bye. Vale of Leven opened the scoring in the tenth minute and looked like running out winners until the Vale forward, McDougall, who would be the hat-trick hero of the following year's Scotland-England international, put through his own goal, a precedent once more, and, as a result, for not the first but the second time a last-round replay was required. The previous Cup Final had also required a rematch.

It took place three weeks later, once more at Hamilton Crescent, now in front of what must have been a cramped 15,000 and this time its was Rangers that took the lead on 7 minutes. In fact Rangers were the better team on the day, although Baird of Vale managed after a noted passing-move to equalise just after the interval. And thus again it stayed even with two 15 minutes halves of extra time in the gathering gloom and the Glaswegians hitting the bar, then an optional feature, with the ball then, perhaps a little controversially but with the acceptance of both umpires on the pitch, then cleared to safety. 

Now, and for the first ever time once more, a second replay was required and, again another first, the venue was Hampden, Queen's Park's first Hampden Park at what is now the Hampden Bowling Club. Seven and half thousand attended and there was a little spice in the air. Words were exchanged both on and off the pitch, so much so that when the two teams were next meant to meet in the Glasgow Charity Cup the Vale withdrew. However, this game on 13th April did go ahead and began with an other own goal, this time on the quarter-hour and by Rangers. However the Gers recovered and shortly after the interval went ahead only, perhaps, then to run out of legs. From free-kicks in the 70th minute and then two minutes from time the situation was reversed, The Vale thus becoming the first non-Glasgow team to claim the top prize.

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