Looking back at famous cup win for Bonnyrigg Rose

On May 25, 1966, Bonnyrigg Rose won the Scottish Junior Cup for the first time ever. Fifty years on and that team remain legends at the club.

Thursday, 16th June 2016, 10:00 am
Bonnyrigg Rose Scottish Cup 50th anniversary dinner

The Rose thumped Whitburn 6-1 in the replayed final at Hampden Park, following a 1-1 draw the previous Saturday.

Club historian Bill Taylor explained the significance of Bonnyrigg’s triumph half a century ago, and recalled his trips to the national stadium.

He said: “That’s the one you always want to win. That’s the big one. It’s called the Holy Grail for a reason.

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Bonnyrigg Rose players celebrating in 1966

“I was there. It was wet. It was very wet at the first game too, but there was still 20,000 people that went to see it. There was just over 10,000 at the replay.

“I was 29 at the time. I went with my uncle. We went on the local bus. It left The Anvil at about half four. It was a good game. I know someone that has film of it, which I’m trying to get to put on a DVD.

“Whitburn were unfortunate. They lost their captain in the first game to injury, Kilpatrick, he was one of the best players they had.

“I think that made the difference in the replay. He was an outstanding player, their centre and top goalscorer.

Bonnyrigg Rose players celebrating in 1966

“But it was still a great win for us.

“There were crowds in the streets. And crowds at the hall waiting for them. Even though it was late at night. We all came back to the masonic hall after a tour down the High Street.

“It was a great day for the town. It was the same when we got to the final in 72 and 78 – when we won.

“It was pretty special in 66, being the first time. It’s great winning it any time but the first time is very special.”

To mark 50 years since the historic triumph, the legends returned to the club recently.

Bill said: “We brought 
seven guys back for the 50th anniversary. Everybody wanted to see them. All 140 tickets sold out very quickly. That was the first time we have had them back together

“I would say that was one of the best teams we have had.

“The players were over the moon to come along. All the players got presented with a 50th anniversary quaich. They were fair away with themselves.

“It was an absolutely 
superb night.”

And it’s not just the final that Bill remembers fondly from that year’s cup run, which saw the Rose play six games before a Midlothian derby semi-final.

He said: “The outstanding game for me was the semi final at Tynecastle against Penicuik. That was a really cracking game. There was a big crowd. Over 11,000 there.

“It was a good day for Midlothian. All the fans followed their own team until they went out of the cup. Then they would watch another Midlothian team.

“So it wasn’t just Penicuik and Bonnyrigg fans there that day. There were fans of Dalkeith, Arniston, Newtongrange – they all came.”

Bill is proud that his club has always been a big part of the local community.

He said: “The Rose had a women’s committee and a men’s committee back then. The women’s committee had all the fundraisers. Whisps and jumble sales, etc.

“Some of the families from back then are still involved at the club. Like the Manns, the Dempseys and the Moffatts. They all played their part, passing the club down to the next generation.

“Mrs Watson washed the strips. It was a family community club in the truest sense.

“They talk about community clubs now, but junior football clubs have always been community clubs.”