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City DNA #70: When City drew 11-11 then lost on a coin toss...

City DNA #70: When City drew 11-11 then lost on a coin toss...
What do you do when a series of unsuccessful odd cup competitions dry up?

Find a new one!

City had taken part in the Anglo-Scottish Cup, Texaco Cup and Anglo-Italian Cup at various stages during the 1970s.

It’s fair to say none captured the imagination of the public and clubs, by and large, treated the tournaments as pre-season warm-ups and little more.

In general, attendances were respectable and there was always the extra edge of an English side taking on a Scottish team to add into the mix.

In 1976, there was an addition to the list – the Tennent Caledonian Cup.

The mini-tournament would last just three years before, just as its predecessors did, it fizzled out and disappeared.

In its inaugural campaign in 1976, City were one of four sides taking part, along with Glasgow Rangers – the hosts – Southampton and Partick Thistle.

Held over two days at the start of August, it was at the peak of a heatwave that would grip the UK for 10 weeks with temperatures soaring and pitches baked dry.

Tony Book took a full strength team north of the border that included Joe Corrigan, Willie Donachie, Dave Watson, Mike Doyle, Asa Hartford, Dennis Tueart, Joe Royle, Peter Barnes and Brian Kidd.

Lawrie McMenemey’s Southampton, who had beaten Manchester United in the FA Cup final just 10 weeks earlier, were still a Second Division side and City were, on paper, favourites to win the competition.

City and Saints would be the under-card before Rangers took on Partick Thistle, all games played at Ibrox on the same day.

But it was City’s clash with Southampton that catches the eye, even to this day.

The game itself was not spectacular – a 1-1 draw with Dennis Tueart scoring City’s goal and as a result, a penalty shoot-out ensued. 

But it would be like a penalty shoot-out like no other, with both City and Saints demonstrating spot-kick excellence and could not be separated.

With Rangers’ game due to start and neither side able to settle the game, the score reached 11-11 when the referee called a halt and decided to decide the game on the toss of a coin.

Who called heads or tails is not known – but City lost the coin toss and Southampton were recorded as winners and with Rangers later beating Partick 2-0, the final was set for the next day.

Again, the heat was intense as City and Partick ran out at Ibrox to decide third spot and it would be Tony Book’s team who won, with Brian Kidd (2), Dennis Tueart and Asa Hartford on target in a 4-1 victory.

Southampton went on to beat Rangers 2-1 – a notable scalp – and claim the Tennent Caledonian Cup.

In the years that followed, Rangers exacted revenge beating Saints in the semi-final, but lost the final against West Brom.

In 1978, the Rangers/Southampton battle continued, with the SPL side winning 4-1 in the final.

The final year was 1979, won by Kilmarnock, and thereafter the tournament disappeared.

City’s participation was, by then, a distant memory…

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