Today marks the 60th anniversary of a unique meeting of brotherly minds at Dens Park as the famous Shanklys squared off in the home and away dugouts.
March 23, 1960, saw Dundee great Bob welcome younger brother Bill and his Liverpool side to the City of Discovery with neither set of supporters aware of the wonderful times ahead for their clubs under the Shankly command.
The occasion saw the Dark Blues unveil their new floodlights and covering of the South Enclosure by inviting the English Second Division side for a friendly encounter – an outlay that had been made possible by another link between the cities after Jimmy Gabriel’s £30,000 move to Everton from Dens Park earlier that month.
Having been in charge since the previous year after leaving Third Lanark, Bob Shankly’s 1962 league-winning side was coming together already with 10 of the starting XI that night going on to lift the club’s only top division success two years later.
The great Liverpool team, though, was still way off with Bill having only taken the job four months beforehand, his new club stuck in the Second division for the last five years.
That would change pretty rapidly – with the help of former Dens goalie Reuben Bennett as part of the famous ‘Boot Room’ – as Shankly Jnr led the Reds back to the top flight while his older brother topped the charts north of the border in 1962.
Two years later they won the First Division and did so again in another two years with the club’s first-ever FA Cup win sandwiched in between.
The Shankly era would continue apace at Anfield with another league title, one more FA Cup and the Uefa Cup in 1973.
He may well have been sitting in the home dugout 60 years ago today, however, had his application for the Dundee manager’s job turned up a bit earlier.
Incredibly, the Dark Blues received an application from Bill – or Wullie as he was known in the family – just hours after Bob was announced as gaffer at Dens Park.
It’s fair to say both Dundee and Liverpool are quite happy with how things turned out in any case.
At Dens half-a-century ago, though, one team was more satisfied than the other as the hosts saw off their English guests with a 1-0 victory to christen their new lights.
At the time, the Dark Blues had been on a poor run of form in the league. A 3-0 home win over Partick Thistle four days earlier was just their second in nine matches.
Two goals from Hugh Robertson and one from Alan Cousin saw them past the Jags and set them up for the visit of the Reds.
Details of the friendly encounter itself are scarce in the history books with even the scorer of the game’s only goal up for debate.
It was a bizarre one and confusion lies in who caused the ball to drop over the line – Robertson or Liverpool goalie Bert Slater.
What is clear is that a Robertson corner ended up in the Liverpool net; in some records it is credited as a Robertson goal while others call it a Slater own goal.
Slater would go on to be a well-kent face at Dens later in his career.
Having kept goal for Bob Shankly’s Falkirk, he was snapped up again by the Dundee boss when leaving the Reds, taking Pat Liney’s place at Dens shortly after the 62 title win.
Slater had been keen to stay and fight for his Liverpool place as they moved up to the First Division but was told he was behind even the U/12 goalie in the Anfield pecking order by Bill.
That wouldn’t stop him starring in the Dark Blues’ run to the European Cup semi-final in 1963, however.
On the night in question 60 years ago, much of the 12,000-strong crowd weren’t too fussed whose goal it was, however, as older brother Bob got the better of Bill on home turf. The younger Shankly would go on to surpass his sibling in the list of the game’s greatest managers in the long run.
That Dundee side, though, were on the brink of greatness themselves.
They went unbeaten in the next six to finish the season in fourth before a certain Alan Gilzean came to prominence the following campaign as Bob Shankly built towards Dundee’s only top-flight title in 1961-62 and subsequent European adventure.
Dundee: Liney, Hamilton, Cox, Ure, Smith, Cowie (sub Henderson), McGeachie, Penman, Waddell (sub Gilzean), Cousin, Robertson.
Liverpool: Slater, Molyneux, Byrne, White, Leishman, Morrissey, Wheeler, Harrower, A Court, Hickson, Hunt.
Referee: WD Massie