117 Years Ago Today….

117 Years Ago Today…



On the 1st June 1899 William Wilton was appointed our first ever manager .


William Wilton (9 June 1865 – 2 May 1920) was the first manager of Rangers Football Club, serving the club in that position from June 1899 until his death in 1920.

He had previously filled several roles including match secretary to the reserve and first teams.

Mr Wilton joined the club in September 1883 as a player but never progressed beyond the second string eleven. He was soon appointed secretary to the club’s youth team and reserve side. He was also on the special committee that oversaw the club’s move from Kinning Park to the first Ibrox ground in 1887.

Mr Wilton became match secretary of the first team in 1889, succeeding from Jimmy  Gossland. The club shared the inaugural Scottish League title in 1891. Mr Wilton had been appointed as the league’s first treasurer at the start of the season.

When the club became a limited company ten years later Mr Wilton was chosen as manager.

wilton 2

In his decade as match secretary for the first team, the club won two League championships in 1891 and 1899, as well as three Scottish Cups in 1894, 1897 and 1898. He also won four Glasgow Cup‘s in 1893, 1894, 1897 and 1898, and a Charity Cup in 1897.

Rangers had achieved the first ever 100% league record, winning all 18 games and scoring 79 goals in 1898-99. To date no team has achieved the same.

Under Wilton’s stewardship as manager, Rangers won eight league championships and another Scottish Cup, nine Glasgow Cups and seven Charity Cups.

In his final season as manager the club won its tenth league championship.

Mr Wilton died in a boating accident at Gourock in 1920.

John Allan’s book, The Story of The Rangers, paid him this fitting tribute: “The ideals for which he strove are still sought after by those who are left in custody of the cherished traditions of the club.”

Mr Wilton’s final resting place at Cathcart Cemetery was recently restored as part of the Rangers Graves Restoration Project.

Wilton Plot Cathcart 2


160 Years Ago Today…..

160 Years Ago Today…..




On the 27th May 1856 the Rangers great that was Tom Vallance was born.

His Rangers team-mates from the 1870’s said “The whole of Rangers loved him like a brother”

Over the years of our research into the formation  of our Club  one name kept popping up time and again and that’s the name of Tom Vallance who has on reflection been sadly overlooked.

Tom was born at a small farmhouse known as Succoth near Renton in the Parish of Cardross in 1856.

When young he moved with his family to the Old Toll House at Shandon on the Gareloch.

He came to Glasgow in the early 1870’s following the path taken by his friends from the Gareloch ,the brothers McNeil and Campbell .

Tom Vallance had an astonishing 60 year association with the Club, and his is an incredible CV.

He was a master oarsman, a champion athlete (he set a Scottish long jump record of over 21 feet), he studied at the Glasgow School of Art, had paintings accepted by the Royal Scottish Academy and was Rangers Club Captain and President for many years.

We have recorded details of Tom Vallance being present at the ceremony held on 1st January 1929 which saw the opening of the Main Stand at Ibrox and also at a dinner which was held in the St.Enoch’s Hotel after a Rangers match in 1933 when we faced Sporting Club of Vienna.

So, the lad who was present at Fleshers Haugh in 1872 was still attending Ibrox some 60 years later where the Club that he’d helped form and nurture were now playing in front of crowds in excess of 100,000.

Tom was a very successful business man. He had The Club restaurant at 22 Paisley Road West which today is the Viceroy Bar,   The Metropolitan which stood on Hutchison Street in the Merchant City area of Glasgow and the Lansdowne which was at 183 Hope Street.

Tom would actually have the Rangers results wired to his restaurants for the benefit of his patrons as early as 1890.

When Rangers moved to First Ibrox in 1887 it was said that it was common for Club President Vallance to be working the turnstiles on matchday.

At the opening of the Main Stand in 1929 Tom Vallance recalled the facilities being so cramped at the Rangers ground at Kinning Park that the players would have to wash in basins of cold water in the open air.

It was the teenage Tom Vallance who helped lay the very foundations upon which our Club was built, hard-work, discipline, honesty, integrity and fair play.

Mr. Struth said during that famous speech “No matter the days of anxiety that come our way, we shall emerge stronger because of the trials to be overcome. That has been the philosophy of the Rangers since the days of the Gallant Pioneers”

Tom was paid the ultimate accolade by the Club in May 1898 when he was made a life member.

As a lasting tribute to the incredible contribution he made to our Club we had Tom put on to canvas by way of a painting by artist Helen Runciman.


Tom Vallance has now taken his rightful place at the top of the Marble Staircase alongside his friends and fellow Founders.


Tom died on 16th February 1935 aged 78 at 189 Pitt Street Glasgow.  He  is buried in Hillfoot Cemetery in Bearsden and his funeral was attended by Mr. Struth, Chairman James Bowie and his old team-mate James McIntyre who both took a cord. Incredibly, players from the Vale of Leven team whom Tom had faced 60 years earlier in 1877 were also in attendance.

That will give you an indication as to how highly regarded Tom Vallance was.

Today we celebrate the life of Tom Vallance.


Tom Vallance

A star shone over Succoth , in the Parish of Cardross
The moon lit up the Glasgow Green just down from Bridgeton Cross
In a farmhouse a child was born whose destiny was fame
A Messiah of the  Rangers, Tom Vallance was his name

From the Old Toll house in Shandon to Glasgow town he came
To a city that will never ever see his likes again
For 60 years he served the club he helped to form
The club he named The Rangers whose shirt he proudly did adorn

A life member of the Club he loved since 1898
So steeped in blue Tom Vallance was a legend and a great
Loved by all who knew him, respected by his peers
That love has never faded over all those years

Tom I just want to thank you for all that you have done
You gave so much , you gave your all , I view you as a son
A son , a friend, a father, a man unlike no other
Tom the Family of the Rangers all love you like a brother

Your atop the Marble stairway, it’s just where you belong
Your in our hearts your in our souls, the love is oh so strong
The love for our first Captain , the love for one so true
Tom Vallance of The Rangers we owe so much to you

I wished that I had met you, to have warmly shook your hand
To have applauded as you opened up our dear main stand
But I rejoice that one great day my wish will come to pass
When we will meet upon the Master’s hallowed grass

So rest in peace my Brother , we are back where we belong
The club is free from tyrants, the club is now so strong
We will honour your tradition, the morals you embraced
The Integrity and Valour which defined the life you graced



144 Years Ago This Week….

144 Years Ago This Week….

“Thus ended their first match played at the latter end of May 1872 some two months after the inauguration of the club”.

The words of Rangers player William Dunlop from his article The Rangers FC which he wrote so eloquently for the SFA Annual in 1881 using the pen name ‘True Blue’.

Rangers Football Club played our first ever match 144 years ago this week.

fleshers Aug 2015

Our Club was formed on a spare bit of ground at Fleshers Haugh by a few kids who’d come to Glasgow seeking employment.

Their Club ,which was formed for no other reason than the love of football and the pursuit of sporting excellence, would go on to become the world’s most successful.

That first ever match was against Callander and ended 0-0, Willie continued,

“Their first game was a terrible spectacle with the ball suffering an incredible amount of abuse” William McBeath was given man of the match and then spent a week in bed recovering due to his exertions’’

Founder William McBeath was from Callander and we believe it would have been Willie who approached ex-pats from the town who had settled in Glasgow and that probably helped organize the opposition for our first match.

Willie’s Rangers team-mate Sam Ricketts wrote in 1884 about the boys playing in their civvies during their first few games and journalist John Allan wrote about them having to change behind a bush as there were no facilities.

William Dunlop described how genial Peter McNeil would travel on a Saturday morning to a desirable part of the Glasgow Green, set up the noted standards and stand guard until the classic hour came when he would be joined by his friends. We felt this was a very dramatic and moving image and commissioned a painting to be done depicting this scene

Founders Painting

We presented the painting by artist Helen Runciman to David Weir in 2009 and it now hangs on the marble staircase at Ibrox.

The Rangers would remain at Fleshers Haugh for three years .

They then began their journey around Glasgow to Burnbank and Kinning Park before finally settling in the Ibrox area in 1887.



Glasgow Merchants Charity Cup


Rangers are the most successful football club in the world.
We’ve  won the league title 54 times, the Scottish Cup 33 times and the Scottish League Cup 27 times, and have achieved the incredible feat of winning the treble of all three in the same season seven times.
We were the first British club to reach a UEFA tournament final and won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972 after being runner-up twice in 1961 and 1967. A third runners-up finish in Europe came in the UEFA Cup in 2008.
As we approach another Cup Final appearance  let’s pause and reflect on a remarkable bit of history.
it was 137 years ago today on the 20th May 1879 that the Rangers won their first Trophy, the Glasgow Merchants Charity Cup after defeating old foes Vale of Leven 2-1 at First Hampden Park.
Many Rangers supporters on their way to Hampden for tomorrow’s Scottish Cup Final will unknowingly walk the touchline of the scene of that landmark victory as First Hampden was situated where today’s Hampden Bowling  Club is  at the junction of Queen’s Drive and Cathcart Road directly across from Cathkin Park .
We have here on our website a report on the 1879 Cup Final and a profile on each of the victorious Rangers players.

1894, the year we won our first Scottish Cup.

The Rangers team with the Scottish & Glasgow Cups.

The Rangers team with the Scottish & Glasgow Cups.

With it being Cup Final week we are going to take a look back at our first Scottish Cup win in 1894.

It was a full 22 years after the Clubs formation that Rangers eventually got their hands on the Scottish Cup. It was on 17th February 1894 after beating Celtic 3-1 at Hampden. We have to bear in mind that the winning of the Scottish Cup in 1894 was still the pinnacle achievement for all Clubs, as the Scottish League was still very much in its infancy.

The build up to the game was just as intense as any modern cup final. Newspapers of the day were no different from their modern counterparts seeking interviews from former players. Founder Peter McNeil and club legend Tom Vallance both gave their views to the Scottish Sport. Peter gave a slightly reserved opinion – ‘Peter McNeil says much depends on the first twenty minutes of play. If the Rangers get the lead in scoring, he is confident they can win. Coolness, he says, will decide the struggle, and he has hopes of the Rangers, if the backs stand fire as they can do. He once saw the Rangers lose a cup they had won. He hopes now to see them carry it off. He expects a stirring encounter, and grand play on both sides.’

Whilst Tom kept his thoughts closer to his chest – ‘Tom Vallance says: – To those who would attempt prophesying the result of tomorrows match, I would give them the advice Punch gives to those about to be married – Don’t!’

A downpour that continued throughout the morning of the game almost caused the match to be called off. Luckily referee John Marshall held off his inspection till the afternoon and pronounced the park playable.

The Celtic team were first out of the pavilion followed soon after by the Rangers team. The Scottish Sport described the entrance ‘Spectators rather dejected looking, but in a second or two all unpleasantness is forgotten when M’Mahon, premier dodger, leads the Celts on the field amid tremendous cheering, redoubled when the Rangers scamper across the pitch’

Rangers won the toss and elected to play toward the west goal of Hampden into a slight wind. Celtic had the early advantage with Rangers goal keeper David Haddow pulling of a string of saves. The rest of the first period was a more open affair with John MacPherson (Rangers) and Dan Doyle (Celtic) both coming close to netting. The first half came to a close with neither team scoring.

With the second half still in its infancy Rangers took the lead. A Mitchell free kick was converted by Hugh McCreadie who hit an unstoppable shot. Rangers quickly went two goals up when John Barker finished off a mazy run slipping the ball under the advancing Celtic keeper.

Celtic tried to rally but Rangers with the wind in their sails fired another goal though John MacPherson. Celtic did pull back a consolation goal though Maley but it was too little too late.

3 – 1, Rangers had won the cup!!

Rangers were presented with the cup at the official ceremony in the Alexandra Hotels dining hall. On receiving the trophy President Dugald MacKenzie said he could ill conceal the pleasure he felt in receiving the cup and that no former president of his club had similar good fortune.

Who better to end this recap of our first Scottish Cup than the great Tom Vallance who had this to say on the milestone reached by the club, when he wrote in the Scottish Sport.

“It is with a true sense of delight that those who have followed the varying fortunes of the Rangers since their formation can now see their triumph, their name and fame shining throughout the land with a lustre that they never before approached”.


Cup Final Facts

  • Rangers Trainer Johnny Taylor as ‘Trainer of the Scottish Cup winners’ received a gold medal from Bovril.
  • The crowd was just over 20,000
  • Gate money for the match totalled £755
  • William Wilton who acted as linesman for Rangers at the final brought his ‘Saturday Halfpenny’ which Rangers captain David Mitchell used for the toss.
  • Rangers were presented with the Cup in the Alexandra Hotel which was in Bath Street.
  • Tom Vallance later presented each Rangers player with a gold scarf pin to commemorate this milestone in the clubs history.

The proud Rangers Committee




Our Club was formed by four young boys. As the song goes, they had no money, no kit, not even a ball.
Today our youth players are lucky enough to get to hone their skills in the world class surroundings of Auchenhowie. But they still need our help.
The best way to support our future star players is to purchase Rangers Lotto Tickets, Stadium Bricks, Rising Stars Tickets and Scratchcards. Details of which can be found here – http://www.rangerslotto.co.uk/
We at the Founders Trail are proud to support the Rangers Youth Development Company and we’re giving you the chance to win your very own personalised Ibrox Stadium Brick.
For your chance to win all you need to do is ‘LIKE’ our Facebook page and ‘SHARE’ it on Facebook.
A winner will be chosen at random at 8pm tonight (Tuesday).

Click here for Facebook page

160 Years Ago Today….

160 Years Ago Today.

Willie McBeath

On the 7th May 1856 Founder William McBeath was born.

William McBeath was born in the village of Callander. His dad Peter owned a general store on Callander’s Main Street , the family home was above the store which is now The Waverley Hotel.


William had an older sister, Jane, and an older brother, Peter. Another boy was born after William but he, like so many other children of the time, died in infancy.

Tragically, his dad Peter McBeath died in November, 1864. Shortly afterwards, his wife took William and his sister Jane to Glasgow to start a new life.

By the time of the 1871 census, the McBeaths were living at 17 Cleveland Street…………the same address as five members of the McNeil family, including brothers Peter and William.

It was at the beginning of 1872 the four boys had the idea to form a football team.

A few weeks later William was to play in that first ever match v Callander.

Rangers player William Dunlop wrote in 1881:

“Their first game was a terrible spectacle with the ball suffering an incredible amount of abuse” William McBeath was given man of the match and then spent a week in bed recovering due to his exertions’’.

William McBeath was Rangers first ever President from 1874-75.

In 1884 at the Club’s ‘Annual Hop’ his friends and fellow Founders honoured William for the role he played in its conception and presented him with a gold badge. This was at an event held in the St.Andrews Hall which is at the rear of today’s Mitchell Library in Glasgow.

A report on the presentation in the Scottish Athletic Journal in 1884 also stated that William McBeath enjoyed dabbling with paint and canvas! It read:

” Mr. McBeath, many of his old friends will be happy to learn, is doing well, and still cultivating these tastes for high art which made his company so pleasant to the more scholarly of his companions”

By 1878, William was a commercial traveller. He had moved to the Crosshill area of Glasgow after marrying a Jeannie Harris. Within a year, the family had moved to Bristol in what was almost certainly the most settled and happiest period of William’s life.

Sadly, the remaining period of William McBeath’s life is clouded in mist. What happened to cause a breakdown in the happy family life of the McBeaths is uncertain. William’s son Norman was sent to Glasgow to live with his grandmother. Norman McBeath died in Glasgow, aged eighty-three, in 1973. He unfortunately had not married.

William last year’s make for unpleasant reading. He moved from town to town, found himself in court on charges of fraud (of which he was acquitted) and married for a second time.

The deterioration in William McBeath’s life continued until his death in a workhouse at Lincoln in 1917. He was certified ‘’imbecile”. The evidence of his state of health suggests he had actually suffered from Alzheimer’s. Medical terminology back then was brutal to say the least.

William was buried in an unmarked, pauper’s grave in Lincoln Cemetery but there is a happy ending to his story.

During his research for his book, “The Gallant Pioneers”, Gary Ralston found William’s final resting place. The grave is now marked with a fitting stone which was paid for by the worldwide Rangers support and placed there by a group of fellow supporters.


The Founders Trail and Ibrox Stadium Tour. Extra Date added! Saturday 25th June.



The Founders Trail and Ibrox Stadium Tour. Extra Date added! Saturday 25th June.

Once again due to an overwhelming level of bookings for The Founders Trail and Ibrox Stadium Tour we’re delighted to announce an additional date to cope with demand.

The Founders Trail will now also operate on Saturday 25th June.
Booking details are as follows.

Adults : £22
Children (under 16) and Senior Citizens £16.

Group discounts are available upon request.

Please book early to avoid disappointment.

To reserve your seat just send an email to :


For further information phone : 0790 2855536

An insight into our research can be found here on our website. http://www.thegallantpioneers.co.uk/

The Founders Trail Trip to Rosneath. Sunday 17th July 2016

roseneath 2016
The Founders Trail Trip to Rosneath. Sunday 17th July 2016

As we continue to promote and celebrate the lives of our Founders we’re delighted to announce details of our fourth annual bus tour up into the Gareloch, where those who formed our Club were born and bred.

The Tour on Sunday 17th July will coincide with the Rosneath Highland Games.

As we make our way from Glasgow to the Gareloch we’ll also visit the final resting place of Tom Vallance in Bearsden.
The Tour itinerary is as follows :

11.00 Depart Ibrox Stadium.

11.30 Hillfoot Cemetery Bearsden. Final resting place of Tom Vallance.

11.45 Depart Hillfoot Cemetery.

On route to Garelochhead via Dumbarton and Helensburgh we will highlight many locations linked to Rangers over the years.

13.00 Arrive Garelochhead and Rosneath.

We will visit Bendarroch Park where our Founders ran races against and with each other aged only 10 and 11 .They were also to return there during our early years with their newly formed Rangers team to participate in the Garelochhead New Year Day Games.

We will also visit the homes of Peter Campbell and Moses McNeil and pay our respects at Moses final resting place in the churchyard at Rosneath.

13.45 This is free time to enjoy the Rosneath Highland Games where food and refreshments are available or you can just have a leisurely stroll around the beautiful setting which is the Gareloch.

16.00 Depart Rosneath.

17.00 Arrive Ibrox Stadium

The cost of the Tour is as follows :

Adults £20

Senior Citizens and Children ( Under 16) £15.

(Please note that entry to the Highland Games, Lunch and Refreshments are not included in the price.)

Places on this Tour went very quickly last year and we’d advise you to book early to avoid disappointment.

If you’d like to reserve your seat please send an email to thegallantpioneers@googlemail.com.

Or call us on 0790 2855536