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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter XLV.—Hampden and Rugby Football

The Scottish Rugby Union made application in October, 1895, for the exclusive use of Hampden Park, stands, and pavilion for the day, on the occasion of the Rugby International between Scotland and England, played 14th March, 1896, which was granted, a very great concession indeed on. the part of the Queen's Park, as the Union demanded possession of the whole enclosure for the afternoon. The members were recommended to abstain from using the pavilion for this one day. It was the first Rugby International played on an Association field in the West of Scotland, and the first game of the kind on Hampden Park. The members of the club would " have to shift for themselves," as stated by the secretary of the Scottish Rugby Union. However, an arrangement was arrived at, which did not deprive the members, who insisted upon their rights, from using the pavilion. Never before in Scotland had a crowd of twenty thousand witnessed a Rugby match, which proved the advantage of fixing on Hampden Park as the venue for this, the twenty-third International between Scotland and England. Once more the Scottish forward play made itself felt. Gedge, the famous London Scottish three-quarter, was the hero of the game. He tried several drop kicks, many of which missed by inches, and at last he secured a try, the only score in the first half, which H. O. Smith (Watsonians) failed to improve upon. Another try was gained for Scotland in the second half by J. J. Gowans (London Scottish), which T. M. Scott (Hawick) did not improve. C. N. J. Fleming (Wanderers) ran in later, and this time Scott made no mistake, Scotland winning a splendid game by a goal and two tries to nil.

In October, 1905, Mr. J. Crawford Findlay, as representing the Scottish Rugby Union, applied for the use of Hampden Park on the afternoon of Wednesday, 22nd November, on the occasion of the Rugby match between the New Zealanders, then visiting the homeland, and a Glasgow Select team. The application was granted, but, in view of a big crowd, the club suggested to the Union to charge 1s. admission to the ground, instead of the usual nimble sixpence. Unfortunately the weather broke down, and the resources of Hampden Park were not seriously taxed, as only some ten thousand spectators turned out, many from curiosity to see the "All Blacks," whose all-conquering career had spread their fame all over the kingdom. They played in a style of their own, which took all opponents in Great Britain and Ireland by storm. Glasgow Select were swept off the field, being defeated by two goals and four tries (22 points) to nothing, and thereby the Colonials secured their twenty-first successive win of the tour. There is little to be said about this match, as the New Zealanders were irresistible, and gave the Select representatives a bad time. They led by a goal and a try at half-time. The Glasgow men fell away to nothing as the game proceeded, and gave a most disappointing display, Glasgow losing another goal and three tries before the whistle stopped an uninteresting exhibition. There was a physical disparity between the sides, all in favour of the New Zealanders. The Glasgow players were always overshadowed, and sometimes overwhelmed, especially in the scrummages, where weight told. The visitors were poor dribblers, relying mostly on hand work, but expert jugglers. The Glasgow forwards were slower in their movements, and decidedly less original. The New Zealanders defeated Ireland on 25th November, at Dublin, by three goals to nil, and Scotland, 18th November, by twelve points to seven, at Edinburgh ; also England, at the Crystal Palace, 2nd December, by five tries to nothing. Their visit proved a debacle for the homeland.

A Rugby match which had far-reaching results, and became historical in its way, was the great Rugby International between Scotland and South Africa, played 17th November, 1906, on Hampden Park. The Africans had had a most remarkable record since their arrival in this country, and had conquered all opponents until they met their Bannockburn on what was to them the fatal field of Hampden Park. How it was done, and who performed the trick, are worth relating here. The match was played under the auspices of the Scottish Rugby Union, and Mr. J. Crawford Findlay, as representing the Union, considered— so great was the reputation of the Colonials—Hampden Park was the only enclosure capable of holding the attendance anticipated. The all-conquering Springboks were handsomely defeated by six points to nil, in presence of an enormous crowd, for a Rugby match, of 30,000. The Scots from the very beginning more than held their own, and their line was not in danger more than a couple of times during the match. Their success was principally, if not altogether, due to grand forward play, backed up by clever half-back work. The close footwork of the Scottish forwards completely nonplussed their opponents, and the Colonials, who so far had depended mostly on their back divisions, found that the Scots were playing for a forward game. Consequently the backs got little or no opportunity to shine. So vigilant was the tackling of the Scots, no progress could be made by the visitors. Several attempts were almost successful in dropping goals for Scotland, Munro and Walter just missing the posts, while K. G. Macleod, from a penalty, failed by inches. Up to half-time neither had scored. In a few minutes Munro got the ball, and kicked high across the field, where Macleod was alone, and the Cantab was not stopped until he had grounded the ball behind the Colonials' line. M'Callum, who took the place, was unsuccessful in bringing out the major points. From a combined rush by the home forwards, Bedell-Sivright obtained a second try for Scotland, but again M'Callum failed to convert. The Africans made desperate efforts to retrieve their position, but could not, the Scottish forwards maintaining their superiority, and victory remained with Scotland by two tries to nil. It was a sensational game, and K. G. Macleod's try has been spoken of to this day by old Rugbyites, as it brought about the defeat of the unbeaten Springboks, and caused international interest. An event of the first importance, it demonstrated that the South Africans were not invincible. L. L. Greig (Glasgow Academicals) captained this famous Scottish team.

The first Rugby match played on Hampden Park was an Inter-City game between Glasgow and Edinburgh, December, 1885, when the western city were the victors by a goal and a try to a try.

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