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CaaC (John)

How Scotland almost won a World Cup at Hampden in 1989

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     Paul Dickov, who went on to be a full international, scored in the final against Saudi Arabia

Pele. Sellouts at Hampden and Tynecastle. Future superstars. Saudis with suspicious passports. Facial hair. Penalty shootouts. Being stood up by a girl. An Amsterdam nightclub. Bus drivers buying booze for kids. A house party. And Craig Brown.

The under-16 World Cup finals of 1989 have long since been woven into the rich tapestry of Scottish football as one of the apparently endless series of 'could ye, did ye, have ye' moments to befall those representing the national team. Yet even among that litany of foul-ups and failures, losing a World Cup final at Hampden on penalties against Saudi Arabia having led 2-0 and missed a penalty with 18 minutes to play stands out for its utter fecklessness. Granted, the Saudis may not have adhered to the 'under-16' competition criteria as assiduously as the Scots, but to somehow contrive to lose from the position they were in on that June day in Glasgow seems spectacularly careless.

However, the passing of 30 years has enabled manager Brown to adopt a more sanguine attitude to what remains one of the highlights of his career. "The blunt truth is we overachieved in that tournament," he says. "We just wanted to get out of the groups, albeit the Scottish FA wanted a bit more than that... "

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Scotland's 78 World Cup campaign is one of the most disappointing performances in World Cup history.

They even printed some post tickets showing Scotland winning the World Cup before it even started 

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51 minutes ago, Stick With Azeem said:

Scotland's 78 World Cup campaign is one of the most disappointing performances in World Cup history.

Aye, but Archie Gemmill's wonder goal nearly got us beating the Netherlands until Johnny Rep's screamer made it 3-2 to Scotland and we were out if we could have held on with what a lot of pundits say that Gemmill's goal was one of the greatest in World Cup Football leading 3-1 but...

Great times then with players like Buchan, Donachie, Rioch, Dalgleish, Gemmill, Souness, Joe 'Jaws' Jordon and others, Scotland just can't produce any of them again at this present time, sigh. 

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4 minutes ago, CaaC (John) said:

Aye, but Archie Gemmill's wonder goal nearly got us beating the Netherlands until Johnny Rep's screamer made it 3-2 to Scotland and we were out if we could have held on with what a lot of pundits say that Gemmill's goal was one of the greatest in World Cup Football leading 3-1 but...

Great times then with players like Buchan, Donachie, Rioch, Dalgleish, Gemmill, Souness, Joe 'Jaws' Jordon and others, Scotland just can't produce any of them again at this present time, sigh. 

That group was really tough Netherlands no need to explain, Peru and Iran were reigning champions of their confedereand that was the best era of their football 

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59 minutes ago, Stick With Azeem said:

That group was really tough Netherlands no need to explain, Peru and Iran were reigning champions of their confedereand that was the best era of their football 

I was working down South when that match was on and when Gemmill scored I leapt in the air whooping like a fucking banshee the when Rep scored I landed back on planet earth with an almighty thump.

But as I said, Scotland had some great players at that time but a lot of the pundits blamed the then Scotland manager Ally McCloud, he introduced himself to the players saying "I am Ally McCloud and I am a winner" and when reaching the 1978 World Cup said to his press team we will return [World Cup] "with at least a medal".

He resigned after that and even wrote in his Autobiography "The Ally MacLeod Story (1979), he wondered whether he had "generated just too much excitement. Had I raised the level of national optimism just too high?" 

The SFA said at the time: The Scottish Football Association's annual report, issued in May 1979, stated that, "regardless of the depressing aspects of Mr MacLeod's latter days in the Association's employ, it would be quite unfair not to comment that he was largely responsible for kindling an enthusiasm for the Scottish team that far exceeded anything which had gone before. The Association benefited considerably from that enthusiasm and should not forget it".

 Ally McCloud

The manager always gets the blame if they are not successful at a club or International level, at least he got Scotland to the World Cup Finals.

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