The day Paul Gascoigne’s fake booking got him a real one

This day in football history

On 30 December 1995, Paul Gascoigne pretended to book the referee and got a real booking in return.

The former Newcastle and Tottenham star was in his first season with Rangers and had helped them to the top of the Scottish table by the end of September. They were still there two months later when they hosted third-place Hibernian at Ibrox.

Although the teams had split their two meetings earlier in the season, anyone expecting a close game was disappointed. Up 2–0 at the break, Rangers romped to a 7–0 victory with goals from Charlie Miller, Gascoigne, Oleg Salenko, and four from Gordon Durie.

Despite the scoreline, one of the most memorable moments came when Gascoigne got a ridiculous booking. Noticing that referee Dougie Smith had dropped his yellow card, the midfielder went to return it to him and, in doing so, pretended to book him first. Although Gascoigne clearly intended the gesture as a mild joke, Smith failed to see the humor and immediately flashed the card back at Gascoigne.

The caution was Gascoigne’s fifth of the season, forcing him to miss Rangers’ next two games against Celtic and Falkirk. But while they played to a scoreless draw with Celtic, they went on to win the title by four points over their rivals.