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BLETHER: Rangers legend Derek Johnstone’s search for a picture in action for Broughty Athletic, Dundee’s 1967/68 cup heroics and a salute to Ronnie Dittrich

Derek Johnstone up against Dundee United's Davie Dodds in 1981 League Cup Final
Derek Johnstone up against Dundee United's Davie Dodds in 1981 League Cup Final

An email came in from Fiona Johnstone, daughter of a former team-mate of mine.

She opened: “My dad is Ian Johnstone and he has asked me to email you to ask a favour.

“My uncle Derek (Johnstone) played one game in the 1969-70 season for Broughty Athletic, when they one won the league.

“They had to win the last game of the season to win the league and Derek scored two goals to help them to victory.

“Derek has always said the two goals he scored in that game helped him have the confidence to play at Rangers as he was only 16 – and playing in that game was against men!

“It is nearly 50 years since that game, and Derek is looking for any photos that The Tele/DC Thomson may have in their archives (see below).”

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The game was played in late May at Claypotts Park, now, of course, Whitton Park.

It was the final Midlands Junior FA Division Two game of the season, with The Fed entertaining East Craigie.

It turned out to be a winner-takes-all match, with the victors being promoted.

I was at the match, which was played on a very sunny afternoon in front of quite a large crowd by local junior standards. Broughty won 3-1.

Thanks also to Andy Boyd for his help putting this story together.

Here’s one which could have taken you a while to figure out.

When did Dundee FC play in the final of a cup competition, then, a week later, play in a semi-final of the same cup?

To save you a lot of bother, I’ll put you out of your misery.

The season was 1967-68 and Dundee had reached the semi-finals of the Inter-cities Fairs Cup.

Their opponent were England’s Leeds United, managed by the legendary Don Revie and littered with England and Scottish international players.

The Dark Blues had played their last league game of that term on April 27, and the ICFC last-four dates were scheduled for May 1 and May 14.

Then Dens boss Bobby Ancell arranged for the Forfarshire Cup Final to be played three days after the first leg at Dens, which finished 1-1 in front of 24,371 fans.

This was actually the final from the 1966-67 season, and The Dee beat city neighbours Dundee United 4-3 at Dens, Sammy Wilson getting a hat-trick.

Another game was required to keep the team in trim, and Montrose provided the opposition in the semi-final of the current season (67-68), Dundee winning 2-1.

History shows the Dark Blues failed narrowly to reach the Fairs Cup Final, losing by a solitary Eddie Gray goal with nine minutes remaining at Elland Road.

Don Revie’s side went on to beat Ferencvaros in the two-legged final.

They also finished the league season in fourth place, five points adrift of champions Manchester City, with Manchester United runners-up and Liverpool third.

Continuing to look at some of the many quirky stories in world football . . .

In Danish football, Ebeltoft were robbed of a deserved draw playing Norager in the domestic competition.

Norager were leading 4-3 with seconds remaining when Ebeltoft went on the attack.

As they pressed forward, however, referee Henning Erikstrup got ready to signal for time up.

Only problem was that, when he did, his false teeth fell out as he went to blow the whistle – meaning that no noise came out and play then continued as normal.

Astonishingly, Ebeltoft scored to make it 4-4 by the time that Erikstrup found his false teeth and put them back into his mouth.

So, 4-4 right? Well, no actually.

Erikstrup disallowed the goal and blew the final whistle, thus handing Norager a 4-3 win.

Ebeltoft protested the match immediately following the loss and took the result to their Football Association, but their protests were denied.

So final score was – Norager 4, Ebeltoft 3.

A photo (reproduced below) appeared in our May 30 issue, which was taken off the “Lea Rig and Douglas Clubbie” site on Facebook.

The photo listed all the players’ names, but not the name of the team.


Dennis Elder soon put that right.

“The team is Balunie Rovers,” said Dennis, a former junior footballer with Dundee North End and Blairgowrie.

“I got a call from Bruce ‘Benjy’ Mitchell, who is in the photo.

“Benjy said they were just a street team and didn’t belong to any league.”

Ronnie Dittrich has featured a couple of times in BwB this year.

His latest offering in late May saw me describe him as a ‘former’ referee.

He was quick to put me right with: “I am still refereeing in the local youth leagues!”

And that at an age much nearer 70 than 60. Readers were quick to heap praise.

Graeme Brough said: “He is still refereeing. We get him a lot in boys football.”

The story went online and, on social media, ‘mikeylochee’ said: “He’s a very funny guy.

“If you slagged him in a game, he replies that you are having a shocker of a game yourself.

“He’s also good company.”

‘Andy The Dee’ offered: “I knew Ronnie vaguely when he used to come in the Centenary Bar (Clepington Road, Dundee) at lunchtime.

“Think he worked with Dayco, which was situated behind it.”

Football players, managers and staff are always sought for quotes by the media. I’m continuing to share some of them with you.

Ally MacLeod, irrepressible as ever, after Scotland’s 3-2 victory over Holland in their third group match in the 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina, said . . . “If we’d played like that from the start, there is no doubt we could have gone on and won the thing.”

Scotland, 3-1 up against the very talented Dutch side at one stage, had needed to win by three goals to progress.

It’s the summer of 1967 and Dundee FC toured the USA in the close season.

It turned out to be a good decision as they went on to have a pretty decent season (see main story).


Above (from left) – Jim McLean, Alex Hamilton, Alex Stuart, Kenny Cameron, George Stewart, Jocky Scott, Unknown, Ally Donaldson, Jim Easton.

Below – Enjoying the fare are (from left) Alex Kinninmonth, Ronnie Selway and Billy Campbell.


This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.