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Scotland 1-0 Argentina: When Roxburgh's side humbled world champions

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The talk pre-match was of Maradona. Of the world champions. Of glamour. Afterwards, it was about Stewart McKimmie.

Three decades have passed since the 1986 World Cup winners arrived in Glasgow for a friendly with Scotland. It was just four months before they would reach another global final. And yet, Andy Roxburgh's hosts produced a glorious, single-goal Hampden triumph 28 March 1990.

Argentina was without little wizard Diego Maradona, but still fielded five of the XI that took the game's ultimate prize in Mexico. Scotland, though, had McKimmie. And he was the man who made the decisive contribution.

Little over half an hour had been played when Murdo MacLeod, on the left of a midfield five, lofted a ball towards Alan McInally, who prodded into the path of the onrushing McKimmie. The Aberdeen right-back galloped on to it, steadied himself, and laced a thunderous drive into the roof of the Argentina net.

His previous goal? A strike almost five years earlier against Clydebank in a top-flight fixture.

"It was a fantastic finish," MacLeod told BBC Scotland. "Andy Roxburgh said afterwards that it was his two wide players down each side, one crossing it and one putting it in the net."

The contest billed as a friendly had been anything but cordial. Roxburgh sent his team out with a refusal to be cowed by their illustrious guests and tackles detonated and tempers frayed.

One memorable moment for McLeod was a challenge of his on Argentine colossus Oscar Ruggeri. The defender had elbowed and shunted and lumped Scotland's forwards up and down the pitch before the then Borussia Dortmund midfielder decided enough was enough.

"Every time the ball went through the middle, he was just having a go at anyone going into the box," MacLeod says. "He was always getting away with heavy challenges. It was a 50-50 between us - he never got the ball, and I got him.

"You get drawn into that situation. If you don't do it, they'll get worse and keep on going into challenges with you, going over the top of the ball. You've got to stand up to them and look after yourself."

Ruggeri, perhaps, had the last laugh. Argentina careered all the way to the final of Italia 90, while Scotland infamously capitulated against Costa Rica and went hurtling out at the group stage.

How, then, could they conquer the game's elite on that cold Glasgow night?

"It was just the attitude of the team," MacLeod says. "We worked so hard for each other, we battled for each other, and we played some good football.

"There were so many photographers at the airport when they arrived, it was all about Argentina. All the Scottish fans were just desperate to get to the game and we were wanting to get stuck into them.

"It turned out to be a physical game, and when we went 1-0 up, they were getting more and more involved, because they were not used to losing matches. It was a big shock for them, but tremendous for us."

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/52063372

 

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England 1-5 Scotland: The day the Wembley Wizards were born

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The spartan, light-coloured gravestone looks like any other in Fayid War Cemetery. Just one of the hundreds arranged into formal, regimented rows on an incongruous patch of land on the western shore of Egypt's Great Bitter Lake.

There, at the midpoint of the Suez Canal, lie men who died after serving in World War Two. Men such as Major AS Jackson. The conflict was over by the time Jackson was killed on 15 November 1946.

His end came after he lost control of a truck near his base in the Suez Zone, suffering serious head injuries. The 41-year-old died before he reached the hospital.

Some 73 years on, stone A21 in plot six at Fayid marks the life of the military man - his service with the Eighth Army in North Africa, then the Pioneer Corps. But it speaks little of a man better known as Alex Jackson, once regarded as the 'greatest footballer in the world'.

There is no mention of the way in which he reinterpreted the role of the winger in more straitened tactical times; of the relatively enormous fees for which he was transferred; of the titles he won, goals he scored or the controversy he caused.

And no mention of what is perhaps his finest flourish as part of a team that most Scottish football fans have surely heard of but plenty know precious little about - the Wembley Wizards.

'Go to your beds and pray for rain'

Some will correctly state that Scotland gave England five on 31 March 1928. Others might point towards the diminutive nature of the XI in blue.

But how many could confidently recall that the 40th meeting with the English was to decide who would finish last in that term's British Championship? Or that the crowd gathered outside the Scottish FA headquarters to hear the team being named reacted angrily at the preponderance of Anglos in the side?

Or that striker Hughie Gallacher was making his first appearance after serving a two-month suspension for pushing a referee into a bath.

Newcastle forward Gallacher's inclusion at the expense of Celtic's Jimmy McGrory caused consternation, as did the exclusion of other regulars such as Rangers' Davie Meiklejohn and Bob McPhail following an inter-league trial match presided over by the Scottish FA's seven-man selection committee.

Furthermore, these faceless blazers had chosen a callow XI with an average of seven caps - an apparent folly encapsulated by the inclusion of debutant defender Tom 'Tiny' Bradshaw in direct opposition to England's feted Dixie Dean.

Then there was the height issue. Of the front five, Jackson was a colossus at 5ft 7in compared to Alex James (5ft 6½in), James Dunn (5ft 6in), Gallacher (5ft 5in), and Alan Morton (5ft 4½in). And given that these were days when goalkeepers could be barged into nets, stature mattered.

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15 hours ago, ScoRoss said:

 

I love looking at old black & white photos and that one is a cracker.  9_9  :x

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On this day, 14th April 1903, at the offices of Alex Clarke, a solicitor in Bridge Street, Aberdeen Football Club were officially formed after Orion, Victoria United and Aberdeen joined together.

The Red Matchday team look back at how The Dons began.

Building Bridges

Pittodrie has been the spiritual home of Aberdeen Football Club since 1899. The original Aberdeen took up residence on the former dung hill much to the envy of local rivals Orion and Victoria United.

The opening game took place on 2 September 1899 and Aberdeen celebrated in style, winning 7-1. Alex Shiach became the first player to score at Pittodrie.

Pittodrie’s statue went up another notch when Scotland played Wales in the first full international to be played in the Granite City. On 3 February 1900, Scotland defeated the Welsh 5-2 before a record 11,000 attendance. Admission to the game was increased to two shillings for a seat in the stand, bringing in record receipts upward of £290.

However ever since the first talk of amalgamation of the three major clubs in the city in a combined bid to gain admission to the Scottish League, the serious activity was away from Pittodrie.

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1895 | Aberdeen v Victoria United

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On this day: Dundee sub-Albert Kidd broke Hearts to become a Celtic hero

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It was 1986 when Tom Cruise became a megastar and a Dundee substitute became a hero to fans of two clubs he never played for.

It was the year Hearts came within minutes of beating Celtic to the Premier Division title.

Albert Kidd may not have had the box office appeal of the American actor who made his blockbuster debut in Top Gun - but then Cruise has never been voted player of the year by a Hibs' supporters club in Sydney.

Kidd is held in perhaps even greater esteem by followers of Celtic for his role in their dramatic last-day title triumph on 3 May.

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Kenny Dalglish's five finest moments in football

By Nick McPheat
BBC Scotland

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Kenny Dalglish's knighthood in 2018 means one of Britain's sporting icons is now referred to as 'Sir', but to many, he has always been 'The King'.

From European Cups to every domestic honour on offer, the Scot has been responsible for orchestrating historic moments for Celtic, Liverpool and Scotland.

Now, 42 years on to the day he engraved his name into Liverpool folklore by scoring the winner at Wembley in the European Cup final, BBC Scotland looks at his five finest moments.

9 May: When Celtic stopped 10-in-a-row

1978 European Cup final

When Kevin Keegan left Anfield for Hamburg in 1977, there was doubt cast about Dalglish's ability to replace the fan favourite when Bob Paisley paid Celtic a then British record transfer fee of £400,000 for the Scot's services.

But any burning concerns on the Kop were rapidly stamped out as the Glaswegian forward netted an impressive 31 goals in 62 appearances that season, with the 31st cementing his status as a Liverpool legend after just nine months at the club.

With just over an hour on the clock in the 1978 European Cup final, Dalglish kept his cool to send the red half of Merseyside into raptures, dinking the ball over the onrushing Birger Jensen in the Club Bruges goal to score the winner.

The composed finish was typical of Dalglish, but any composure was non-existent after the ball hit the back of the net, with the Scot leaping over the advertising hoardings to celebrate with the sea of red behind the goal as Paisley's men went on to lift their second European Cup in a row.

1986 double as player-manager

Dalglish would go on to win a further two European Cups and five league titles before becoming player-manager at the age of 35 in May 1985.

In his first season in charge, the league would go down to the wire as both Merseyside clubs battled it out at the top, and Liverpool travelled to Stamford Bridge knowing a win would crown them champions of England for the 16th time.

With 23 minutes played, Dalglish found himself free in the box. Similar to that moment at Wembley eight years prior, time seemed to stand still as the Scot took the ball down on his chest. Showing trademark composure, he guided the ball into the far corner to score another iconic goal that would deliver his 10th league medal as a player and his first as a manager.

The following week, Liverpool and Everton would go toe-to-toe for another major honour, this time in the FA Cup final. After Gary Lineker's first-half opener, Dalglish's men would turn the game around to run out 3-1 winners, as the club claimed their first domestic league and cup double in his first year at the helm.

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100th Scotland cap

The year 1986 would be quite a significant one for 'King Kenny'. While guiding Liverpool to a first domestic Double, Dalglish would achieve a historic feat at an international level, gaining a remarkable 100th cap for his nation in March of that year.

Across a 15-year international career, winners against the Auld Enemy of England and iconic goals in World Cup finals flood the memory bank, but it might just be a friendly with Romania at Hampden on a wet Wednesday night that stands alone as Dalglish's proudest moment in navy blue.

He was given the captain's armband for the game by then-interim manager Sir Alex Ferguson, before being presented with the illustrious 100th cap by World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer.

Scotland would win the game 3-0 and Dalglish went on to register a further two caps before his retirement, finishing his international career with a record 30 goals. And although his scoring record is matched by Denis Law, Dalglish sits on his own when it comes to caps with his 102, 11 more than the next best.

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1995 Premier League title at Blackburn

Dalglish left Liverpool in February 1991 and after an eight-month break from the game returned to management in October to guide Blackburn Rovers out of the second tier of English football.

The following season, Blackburn finished fourth in the new Premier League. They would go two better the season after, finishing runners-up to Manchester United, only to come out on top the following year.

With the formidable duo of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton spearheading the Blackburn attack, Dalglish's men defied the odds to win the top division and overcome Ferguson's side in the process. A truly remarkable achievement for a club that was languishing in the second tier just three years prior.

The title meant that Dalglish was only the fourth football manager in history to lead two different clubs to English top-flight championships.

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Nine-in-a-row at Celtic

Prior to his record move to Liverpool in 1977, Dalglish enjoyed great success in his home city.

The Scot racked up nine winner's medals in his time at Celtic, including four league championships. But out of all the titles he won in Glasgow, none would have felt sweeter than Celtic's coveted nine-in-a-row in 1974.

Following his introduction to the first team in the 1971-72 campaign, Dalglish became an integral part of Jock Stein's iconic side. By netting over 80 goals across three campaigns, Dalglish contributed massively to three of Celtic's nine successive league titles, and it was his all-important equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Falkirk in April 1974 that secured the Glasgow club's historic ninth consecutive championship.

It is a record that is yet to beat and has only been matched by city rivals Rangers in the years up to 1997, something that the current crop of Celtic players will be looking to rewrite.

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And still the last team to beat Real Madrid in a European final.

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Kirin Cup: Scotland's players remember forgotten 2006 triumph

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Lee McCulloch remembers his first taste of green tea. For Gary Caldwell, it was the hotel's glass lift. Gary Teale recalls Tokyo being like a scene from Bladerunner. And Lee Miller is still bewildered by the heated toilets.

Chris Burke, meanwhile, fondly describes "a lovely vegetable curry" he enjoyed on the flight home.

The Scotland squad all have different memories from their 2006 trip to Japan for the Kirin Cup - a three-team friendly event. But each holds somewhat more sketchy recollections of the celebratory night out that followed the goalless draw with the hosts, a stalemate that meant they had won the tournament.

It started with crates of the sponsors' beer in the changing room and continued with the blessing of manager Walter Smith, who told his group of young thrusters that they could have a night out in Tokyo so long as they all reported for the bus to the airport the next morning.

Most did not need a second invitation.

'We went mad, to be honest'

In the 14 years that have passed, an omerta has settled over the squad about some of the details of what happened next, not least the rumour that one player ended up in police custody after dancing on the bonnet of a taxi and was only released after money changed hands. Some concede that it happened - they think - but none will name names.

Their memories are perhaps compromised by a haze of time and booze, but some fragments of the night remain vivid.

"It had been arranged we'd go to a bar to watch the FA Cup final - Liverpool v West Ham - and get some food and beers," says Caldwell. "Then we went to an underground nightclub and it was absolutely mobbed."

McCulloch remembers drinking with Scotland fans and things getting "a wee bit loud and boisterous".

"We went mad, to be honest," adds Miller. "It spilt outside eventually and we were singing and dancing all the way along the street."

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It was daylight by then, and some of the Scotland players - wary of Smith's warning about the bus leaving at 08:00 - decided enough was enough. McCulloch set four or five alarms to ensure he didn't sleep in, but Caldwell and brother Steven were a little less cautious.

"It was about 7 am and we thought I'd get an hour or so," he says. "But we were woken up at five past eight by bangs on the door and phone calls. I've never been so terrified as when I walked on to that bus and we just got the Walter stare..."

Teale - like several others - didn't make it to bed at all and was only in the hotel long enough to hurl the contents of some team-mates' waiting for suitcases all over the corridors.

That would not be the only prank the winger pulled either, joining Wigan team-mate McCulloch to convince team masseur Billy McCulloch to draw a penis on the forehead of "a burst" James McFadden, who had fallen asleep on the bus.

"When we got to the airport, he was signing things for fans with this thing on his head," says forward McCulloch. "He checked in and everything. Then Walter saw him..."

Club sandwich with chips & thumping Bulgaria

Burke missed most of the hilarity, having opted out of the celebrations in favour of a "club sandwich and chips in bed". Not only was the young winger terrified of doing the wrong thing on his first time away with Scotland, but he was exhausted thanks to a combination of jetlag and two games in three days.

Indeed, as he stood at the side of the pitch waiting to make his Scotland debut 75 minutes into the opening game against Bulgaria in Kobe, his main memory is being "absolutely shattered" having been "on the bench yawning".

The Scots were 3-1 up at that stage, Kris Boyd having scored twice in his first 43 minutes of international football and McFadden adding a third. Despite his tiredness, it took Burke just two minutes to finish a composed move with a delightful lobbed volley - "I think that was my first touch' - before he bundled in another late on.

The Bulgarians - like Scotland - had finished third in their World Cup qualification group, but McCulloch remembers "running all over the top of them" and thinks it is the best the side played in any of his 18 caps.

Teale says similar. "How we won the way we did, I'll never know," he adds. "It wasn't just the result, but the performance given half the squad was made up of people with hardly any caps."

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It was like a scene from Bladerunner'

After the win in Kobe, the squad took the bullet train the 250-odd miles to Tokyo and checked in at their 43-floor Tokyo Dome Hotel, overlooking the cavernous baseball stadium.

"I've got a fear of lifts," says Caldwell. "But this place had a glass one that shot right up the outside of the building, which was actually much better than I thought it would be when I was standing at the bottom."

For Miller, the hotel stood out for the heated toilet seats - "jets of water to clean your backside!" - while McCulloch's main memory is green tea. "It was the first time I'd had it and I was battering right in; I even got some to bring home."

Teale talks of the "cherry blossom trees in the middle of a metropolis" and downtown being "like a scene from Bladerunner, with lights and people everywhere".

But, without fail, all the players rave about the warm welcome they received from the Japanese. "We had a wee fan club following us everywhere," says Miller. "All these wee guys shouting 'Mr Lee, Mr Lee' and I'm thinking 'I'm just the hamper boy. I don't even get recognised at home'. We were treated like royalty."

"It didn't feel like you were a fitba player, it felt like you were a rockstar," McCulloch adds. "It was as if they'd never seen footballers before and they all wanted stuff signed, foreheads, arms, the whole lot."

Spaceships & savouring a Mickey Mouse cup

That fervour remained when Scotland faced the host nation.

Given that Bulgaria had beaten Japan in the opener, Smith's side knew avoiding defeat would be enough to claim the trophy. But this was a side coached by Brazilian icon Zico and one who would play at the following month's World Cup.

Teale remembers the Saitama Stadium looking "like a spaceship had been dropped from the sky" and being heaving with ultras two hours before kick-off. And Burke is still in thrall at the fans' "regimented 90-minute chants" that made even fiesty European ties pale in comparison.

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As for the game itself...

"We got battered 0-0 - it was a classic Walter Smith performance," says Caldwell, who played in a back three with Russell Anderson and captain Davie Weir.

"Aye, we took a doing," adds McCulloch of a game in front of almost 60,000 fans in which goalkeeper Neil Alexander pulled off several fine saves.

Miller remembers it as the first of his three caps, the striker replacing McCulloch for the final 20 minutes. "I can remember Walter just saying 'go and enjoy it'," says the Falkirk co-manager.

"I think I was chucked on as thanks for going out there. I played wide midfield and basically had to just run about chasing boys, but I was happy to do that for Scotland. And to win a trophy at the end of it... I know people say it was a Mickey Mouse Cup, but even still."

McCulloch concurs. "We're still the only Scottish team to win an international tournament," he says. "It doesn't matter how big or small."

Scotland squad

Neil Alexander, Graeme Smith, Iain Turner; Russell Anderson, Gary Caldwell, Steven Caldwell, David McNamee, Graeme Murty, Gary Naysmith, David Weir; Chris Burke, Darren Fletcher, Lee McCulloch, Ian Murray, Nigel Quashie, Gavin Rae, Scott Severin, Gary Teale; Kris Boyd, James McFadden, Lee Miller

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/52611568

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9 minutes ago, CaaC (John) said:

 

And not to be forgotten...

 

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