IT WAS the World Cup finals Scotland had waited 16 long years for and when it arrived, the summer of 1974 made the country's supporters as proud as they would ever feel about their international football team.
With the greatest show on earth returning to German soil this week, both Scottish players and supporters will be on the outside wistfully looking in. Thirty-two years ago, they were central figures in a tournament many still feel Scotland could have won had they not managed to eliminate themselves in the group stage despite not losing a match.
Willie Ormond's squad had experienced a turbulent build-up to the tournament, including Jimmy Johnstone's infamous boat trip at Largs during the Home International Championship and an unsavoury incident in an Oslo bar which involved the impish Celtic winger and team captain Billy Bremner following the final warm-up fixture against Norway.
While Johnstone paid the price by remaining on the substitutes' bench throughout the finals, Bremner emerged at the peak of his inspirational powers to lead Scotland so close to progressing from a group featuring Zaire, Brazil and Yugoslavia. Ultimately, the 2-0 win over Zaire in the opening match on 14 June in Dortmund - Scotland's first victory in a World Cup finals - proved their undoing.
With Yugoslavia subsequently thrashing the hapless Africans 9-0 and Brazil defeating them 3-0, Scotland found themselves knocked out on goal difference despite two magnificent performances in drawing 0-0 with the Brazilians and 1-1 with the Yugoslavs in Frankfurt.
Sadly, four of Ormond's 22-man squad are no longer with us. The Scotsman has caught up with the remaining 18, however, for their recollections of Scottish international football's finest achievement.
THOMSON ALLAN (Dundee, goalkeeper)
UNUSED substitute for all three matches at finals. Won last of two caps in 1974. Playing career began with Hibs, for whom he played in the 1968-69 League Cup final, before moving to Dundee where he won the League Cup in 1973-74. Joined Hearts in 1979 before finishing goalkeeping career at Falkirk. Now working for Alexander's bus manufacturers and a season-ticket holder at Falkirk, age 59.
'I was called into the squad for the first time in March 1974, for the friendly against West Germany in Frankfurt. I had won the League Cup with Dundee a few months earlier and was having a good season. Although we lost 2-1 to the West Germans, I played well and that earned me my place in the squad for the finals. I knew before we went that David Harvey was the number one keeper, but it was just fantastic for me to be there.
I actually played what proved to be my second and last game for Scotland in our last warm-up game before the finals, when we beat Norway 2-1 in Oslo, but that was only because David was ill. There was still no doubt he was going to play in the finals, though. It wasn't a problem for me. Like all goalkeepers, David, Jim Stewart and myself all got on really well together during the tournament. We knew we were part of something special. Unlike European trips with your club, you didn't need to go through customs. There was a bus waiting next to the runway at the airport which took us straight to our hotel. The level of security was intense, just two years after the Munich Olympics, and the organisation of the tournament was top class.
Although I didn't play, I felt very much part of it and it was certainly the pinnacle of my career to be part of that Scotland squad. We were unfortunate to get knocked out without losing a game, but even sitting on the bench for every game there was a real sense of pride in what the team did.
JOHN BLACKLEY (Hibernian, defender)
PLAYED against Zaire, then was dropped for Martin Buchan for the following two games. Won last of his seven caps against Sweden in 1977.
"Sloop" had two spells at Hibs - stopping off at Newcastle, Preston and Hamilton Accies in between - and was appointed player-manager at Easter Road in 1984. Since leaving Hibs in 1986 he has worked closely with Paul Sturrock, holding coaching positions at Dundee United, St Johnstone, Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday. Now aged 58.
'I can always remember the tension before the Zaire game (Scotland's first match). Even Billy Bremner, who was always lively, was quiet. Denis Law who had seen it all and done it all, was quiet. There was a tension, a real tension.
If they could have got a bus out of that dressing-room to take them all the way back to Glasgow, I think they would have settled for that.
(The squad returned to Glasgow as heroes, a situation Blackley appears to be uncomfortable with to this day.)
It was incredible ...unbelievable. People at the airport, thronging the streets. All right, we've come back unbeaten, but we've won nothing.
BILLY BREMNER (Leeds United, midfielder)
CAPTAINED Scotland in all three matches. His 54-cap Scotland career came to an end just a year later, after the infamous Copenhagen nightclub incident landed him a life ban. This was later lifted, but too late for Bremner to resume his international career.
After 17 years at Leeds, he moved to Hull City and then became player manager at Doncaster. Inevitably, he became Leeds manager, but only for three years. After another unsuccessful stint at Doncaster, he turned to after-dinner speaking as a double-act with Norman Hunter.
Died of a heart attack in 1997, aged 54.
THE Scotland captain carried much of the burden of a nation's disappointment, mainly because of a half-chance against Brazil. Often described as a "miss", Bremner's effort was no more than a close-range rebound when the Brazil goalkeeper spilled a Joe Jordan header. From behind the goal it looks like Bremner strokes the ball past the post, but he had no time to direct a shot and acted instinctively. Nevertheless, the missed opportunity was agonising - particularly for Bremner, who had an outstanding match against the world champions.
MARTIN BUCHAN (Manchester Utd, defender)
PLAYED against Brazil and Yugoslavia. Won last of 34 caps in 1978. Captain of Aberdeen when only 20, he moved to Old Trafford in a 125,000 move in 1972. Finished his playing career with Oldham. After brief spell in management at Burnley, worked for sportswear company Puma. Now working for Professional Footballers' Association in England, age 57.
'I only got into the squad because George Connelly broke his ankle. Because of that, I was recalled for the friendly against West Germany in March 1974. I had been out of the picture for over a year, since being one of those blamed for the 5-0 defeat by England at Hampden in the SFA centenary international in February 1973. I had a decent game against West Germany, marking Gerd Mller, and that got me into the squad for the World Cup.
It was disappointing, to say the least, that we were unbeaten but still didn't qualify from our group. We just did not score enough goals against Zaire, but our performances against Brazil and Yugoslavia were excellent. I thought Davie Hay was our top man. We all held him in high esteem and he was brilliant in that tournament. I went on to play in the 1978 finals as well, but I certainly have far happier memories of 1974.
PETER CORMACK (Liverpool, midfielder)
DID not play in finals. Won last of nine caps in 1971.
Played for Hibs, Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Bristol City. Won the UEFA Cup, league title and FA Cup at Anfield. Varied coaching and managerial career saw service with Partick Thistle, Botswana and Cowdenbeath. Now working with former team-mate Kevin Keegan on new coaching school at Braehead which opens in September. Age 59.
'I was on the bench for all three games and I was really disappointed that I didn't play any part. I'd just had a great season with Liverpool and I felt I was one of the best midfielders in Britain at the time. We weren't short of quality in that department in the squad, mind you.
My Scotland career was frustrating. I'd made my debut as a teenager against Brazil in 1966 but I didn't win as many caps as I felt I deserved. I quite often got called up to the squad but not used. Having not played for Scotland since 1971, it was a bit of a surprise to get into the World Cup squad and I think I only got in because Jim Smith of Newcastle pulled out injured.
As a squad, that was probably as talented as Scotland ever put together. There were a lot of guys with big game experience, like Denis Law, Billy Bremner and Kenny Dalglish, but I felt I could have made a positive contribution in that tournament if I'd been given the chance. I must say, though, that the spirit was fantastic, even among those of us who didn't play and I'm still proud to say that I was at a World Cup finals with Scotland.
KENNY DALGLISH (Celtic, striker)
PLAYED in all three matches in Germany. Won last of his 102 caps in 1986 against Luxembourg.
Scotland's most capped player and joint top scorer with Denis Law on 30 goals. Dalglish played in more World Cup finals matches than any other Scot, making eight appearances in three tournaments, 1974, 1978 and 1982. Also selected for the 1986 finals but pulled out beforehand with a knee injury. Dalglish enjoyed a phenomenally successful club career with Celtic and Liverpool and went on to manage the Anfield side with distinction. Later managed Blackburn to the Premiership title. Age 55.
'We met Yugoslavia [in the final game] and drew 1-1 with them, while the Brazilians scored the three they required against the Africans [Zaire].
There were a few tears shed that night. We had a wake up in the hills and Rod Stewart sang for us before he broke down in tears. I felt a very real regret which still gnaws away at me. In the three matches there I didn't think I'd played well enough.
There were occasions when I was frightened to try things in case they wouldn't come off.
One memory, however, which will last forever is of the welcome waiting for us at Glasgow Airport Thousands of people were there. Flags were flying, banners were waving and we had to fight our way through the crowds. We hadn't qualified but we had not let the people back home down
WILLIE DONACHIE (Manchester City, defender)
DID not play in finals. Won last of 35 caps in 1978.
The Glaswegian spent most of his playing career with Manchester City, before spells with Portland Timbers, Norwich City, Burnley and Oldham Athletic. Was assistant manager at Ipswich Town and now seeking managerial vacancy at club left by Joe Royle's departure. Age 54.
'My abiding memory of the tournament is sharing a room with Danny McGrain who was up all night drinking water and orange juice. It was about a month after the World Cup that he discovered he was diabetic. Danny and Sandy Jardine were the first choice full-backs for the finals and they both played well, so I couldn't complain.
It might have been different if I hadn't picked up an injury playing against Northern Ireland.
I played in the 1978 finals in Argentina, but I look back on 1974 with more fondness. We got a fabulous reception when we
DONALD FORD (Hearts, striker)
DID not play in finals. Won last of three caps in 1974.
Hugely popular player at Tynecastle where he spent most of his playing career. Spent one season with Falkirk before retiring in the summer of 1977. A chartered accountant by profession, he is now a landscape photographer in Carnoustie, age 61.
'It was a great squad and I have never known a better spirit among any bunch of players, it was fantastic.
If I have any regrets about the tournament, it would be that I didn't come on as a substitute against Zaire. I'm sure Willie Ormond was thinking of putting me on for Denis Law at some point, but I suspect Billy Bremner had a say in it and the team just slowed things down in the second half.
It was sad that we just couldn't find that extra wee bit to take us through. We were the
better team against Brazil, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say.
DAVID HARVEY (Leeds United, goalkeeper)
PLAYED in all three matches. Won last of his 16 caps as a substitute against Finland in 1976.
Leeds-born Harvey, son of a Scottish father, spent the bulk of his senior career at Leeds United and Bradford City - with short spells at Vancouver Whitecaps, Partick Thistle and Morton - and had a stint as player-manager of non-league Whitby in 1985. Became a postman, and relocated with his family to Sanday in the Orkney Islands, where he took over a farm and again worked as a postman. Now age 58
HARVEY'S main memories of the finals come from the second match, against Brazil and a save from a swerving Roberto Rivelino free-kick from 30 yards to keep Scotland in the game. Although he is praised for the save to this day, Harvey remains modest.
"I don't think it was a fantastic save," says the goalkeeper. "I remember thinking it was quite lucky, to be honest. I remember thinking how lucky we were to get away with it. In the first 20 minutes, they did have a lot of pressure."
Scotland's exit at the hands of Yugoslavia remains a painful experience.
"I know it sounds stupid because there are far more important things in the world than football, but how do you make it go away? We just got smashed. That was it. But it was one hell of a good team. I'm very proud to have been involved."
DAVID HAY (Celtic, midfielder)
PLAYED in all three matches in finals. Won last of 27 caps in draw with Yugoslavia.
After seven highly successful years as a Celtic player, was sold to Chelsea for 225,000 in July 1974. Injury forced his premature retirement in 1979. Coaching and managerial career has seen service with Motherwell, Celtic, Lillestrom, Watford, St Mirren, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Swindon Town, Livingston and Dunfermline. Currently seeking a new position, age 58.
'When you consider the great Scotland players and teams of the 1960s who never made it to a World Cup finals, you can maybe appreciate just how much of an achievement it was for us simply to qualify for West Germany in '74. The squad we had was a good blend of experience and youthful energy. Willie Ormond was a first-class manager to my mind, he almost always seemed to pick the right men for the job in hand and he gave his players scope to make tactical decisions during games.
We were unfortunate in one sense to play Zaire first, because they were always going to produce their best performance in their opening match. Maybe if we had realised goal difference would be a factor, we could have pushed for more goals against them but we wanted to reserve some energy for the games against Brazil and Yugoslavia.
I don't think we let anyone down, although I do think we might have got some joy against Brazil and Yugoslavia if wee Jinky had been used as a substitute. The Yugoslavs, especially, would have been worried about him because they would remember the way he destroyed Red Star Belgrade for Celtic a few years earlier.
JIM HOLTON (Manchester United, defender)
PLAYED in all three World Cup matches. Earned only one more Scotland cap after the 1974 World Cup, the last of his 15 appearances being only a few months later against East Germany in October 1974.
A successful career at Manchester United was destroyed by breaking the same leg twice. Attempts to rebuild his career at Sunderland and Coventry were relatively unsuccessful, and although he later signed for Sheffield Wednesday, he never played for the club because of injury. Retired in 1982 to become a publican in Coventry.
Died at the wheel of his car of a suspected heart attack in 1993, aged 42.
THE big stopper from Lesmahagow was a popular figure, with the terrace refrain going: "Six-foot two, eyes of blue, big Jim Holton's after you." It was no problem that he was actually six-foot one. His stock was never higher than when he scored one of the goals against Czechoslovakia that took Scotland to Germany.
Holton was a dominating centre-half who helped to ensure that Scotland lost only a single goal at the 1974 World Cup finals.
TOMMY HUTCHISON (Coventry City, winger)
PLAYED as substitute against Zaire and Yugoslavia. Won last of 17 caps in 1975.
Winger played for Alloa, Blackpool, Coventry, Manchester City, Burnley and Swansea City. Moved into coaching and management, now working as community officer for Bristol City, age 58.
'I was probably lucky to be in the squad, because Scotland had so many good wingers at the time. To get into the squad while playing for an unfashionable club like Coventry was a real achievement for me. The biggest buzz for the English-based players like myself was that we were going to the finals while England had failed to qualify. I feel blessed that I played for Scotland in that tournament.
I remember bursting a gut during the training sessions in West Germany, because I knew I wasn't one of those who could be sure of a place in the team. One day, I fell out with Denis Law when I said to him that I might as well go home because I had no chance of playing. He grabbed me and said 'Do you realise you are one of the best 22 players Scotland has and what an honour that is?' It made me appreciate how special it was.
Even the kids I work with now find it amazing when I tell them I played at a World Cup finals. They all go and check it out on the internet. People down here expect me to mention the 1981 FA Cup final as the highlight of my career, but nothing comes close to being with Scotland in '74. It was magical.
SANDY JARDINE (Rangers, defender)
PLAYED in all three matches at finals. Won last of 38 caps in 1979.
After 16 trophy-laden years with Rangers, he joined Hearts in 1982 and became co-manager at Tynecastle four years later. Left Hearts in 1988. Works for Rangers commercial department, age 57.
'I was very fortunate to have a long and successful career, but the 1974 World Cup was probably the highlight for me. It was really the first commercial World Cup, a forerunner for the kind of event we have now. It was a fabulous experience just to be a part of it. I think the build-up to our game against Czechoslovakia, which we won to qualify for the finals, was the most intense I have ever known. It meant so much to everyone in the country to get to West Germany.
We had a really good team, there's no doubt about that, and we were very unfortunate to go out in the manner we did. If we had got through the group, I truly believe we could have gone on to great things because we would have grown as a team as the tournament went on. I'm not saying we would have won it, but I think the other teams were all happy to see us knocked out because we were a genuine threat to them. We were in a tough group and in the first game against Zaire we just wanted to win and make sure nothing silly happened.
There was no pre-match intelligence about Zaire at all, they were complete unknowns as far as we were concerned, and looking back it was just a pity we got them first. It gave both Yugoslavia and Brazil the chance to have a look at Zaire before they played them. We could and should have beaten Brazil, but I think the draw against Yugoslavia was a fair result. I'll never forget the reception we got when we came back to Scotland undefeated. People appreciated what we had done for the country, it was very special.
JIMMY JOHNSTONE (Celtic, winger)
DID not play in Germany. Won last of his 23 caps in 1974.
After 12 years at Celtic, Johnstone had brief spells at San Jose Earthquakes, Sheffield United, Dundee, Shelbourne and Elgin City before retiring from playing. Later worked as a lorry driver and construction worker. Was a youth coach in the mid 1980s.
Died this year from motor neurone disease, aged 61, after becoming a prominent campaigner to raise awareness of the disease.
JOHNSTONE's preparations for the World Cup were a disaster. A late-night drinking escapade after one of the Home Internationals saw him rescued by the coastguard somewhere off Largs, drifting in a rowing boat with oars but no rowlocks. He was lambasted in the press, and a few days later celebrated his part in a 2-0 victory over England by delivering a 'V' sign to the Hampden press box at full-time.
It came as no real surprise when Johnstone, who had made enemies at the SFA over his disciplinary record, was not sent into action in Germany at any stage. One of Scotland's greatest ever football talents did not grace the game's biggest stage.
JOE JORDAN (Leeds United, striker)
PLAYED in all three matches at finals, scoring against Zaire and Yugoslavia. Went on to play and score in 1978 and 1982 finals as well. Won last of 52 caps in 1982.
Playing career saw service with Morton, Leeds, Manchester United, AC Milan, Verona and Southampton. Managerial and coaching career took him to Bristol City, Hearts and Celtic. Now first team coach of Portsmouth, aged 54.
'It was special because it had been so long since Scotland had played in the World Cup finals. I remember how much it meant to guys like Denis Law, Billy Bremner and Jimmy Johnstone who were at the tail end of their playing careers. Seeing how much they appreciated it was a lesson to the rest of us. It was certainly an inspiration to me and I never took my Scotland place for granted because of that. Maybe that's why I stretched my career out as long as I did and managed to play in two more World Cups for Scotland.
I was only 22 at those finals in West Germany and I felt it was a real honour to be representing my country along with so many great players. We had beaten an outstanding Czechoslovakian team to qualify and the fact we were the only one of the home nations to get there made it even better. As a manager, Willie Ormond had a tremendous knack and feel for picking the right players in the right positions. It sounds simple, but it's not that easy and Willie definitely had it sussed.
I think the first game against Zaire was a slight case of inexperience. We could have stepped on the gas and looked for more goals, but we just wanted to get off the mark with a win and make sure we didn't slip up.
My biggest regret is that we didn't beat Brazil, because we were better than them on the night. While they weren't as good as they had been in 1970, they were still the reigning world champions and the fact we outplayed them was really something.
Against Yugoslavia, who were a terrific side, my equaliser came just too late. We did miss a great opportunity to progress, but I think we can only feel proud of what we did in 1974.
DENIS LAW (Manchester City, striker)
PLAYED against Zaire, then was dropped. This was the last of his 55 caps, then a Scottish record.
Bulk of career spent at Manchester United, then joined rivals Manchester City. Did not go into management, and has worked mainly as a media pundit. Recently recovered from a prostate cancer scare, and has campaigned to raise awareness about the condition. Age 66.
'I think Willie Ormond picked me as a gesture, on the strength of what had been achieved against the Czechs several months before.
It was a pleasant enough experience as far as I was concerned, and it's nice now that I can say I was there, but unfortunately for me by the time I got to represent my country on the world's biggest stage I was past my best. That game against Zaire turned out to be my last appearance not just for Scotland but also in professional football.
I was extremely disappointed, though, not to get a 56th cap against Brazil. I didn't think my exclusion was merited as I felt I'd played well enough against the Africans to keep my place, or at least to play a part in the Brazil game. But I accepted it, and I have some good memories from that time.
I felt my place in the squad was justified because, apart from a couple of injuries, I had played well during the 1973/74 season. It was a good idea to have a sprinkling of older players in the squad, especially with so many youngsters. I'm not saying that they looked up to me, but I was the oldest on the team and I hope they felt some respect and had no problems with it. I certainly didn't complain when I was left out of the side, and as far as I was concerned we had a lovely World Cup within the team.
PETER LORIMER (Leeds United, striker)
PLAYED in all three matches at finals, scoring against Zaire. Won last of 21 caps in 1975.
Won every major domestic honour in English football and played in three European finals during long career with Leeds United. Also played for York City, Toronto Blizzard and Vancouver Whitecaps. Now runs a pub in Leeds and is a fans' representative on the Elland Road board, aged 59.
'I was speaking at a dinner in Fraserburgh recently and it amazing the esteem in which the 1974 Scotland squad are still held. You look at the names, even the ones who didn't get a game in West Germany, and you realise just how good it was. We had so much talent to call upon, all Willie Ormond had to do was get us organised and put us out on the pitch. He had more worries about us off the pitch, but once we got to our hotel out there we all knuckled down and worked hard.
My goal against Zaire is still a special memory for me. It was our first goal in the tournament and helped us to relax.
I felt we were on the wrong end of some bad refereeing decisions against Brazil. We dictated most of the play. People always remember wee Billy's miss, but it wasn't an easy chance.
DANNY McGRAIN (Celtic, defender)
PLAYED in all three matches at finals, unaware he had diabetes. Won last of 62 caps in 1982.
Spent nearly all of his playing career at Celtic, with a brief spell at Hamilton Accies. Short period as manager of Arbroath. Now reserve team coach at Celtic, age 56.
I found myself drinking orange juice by the pint and going to the bathroom every couple of hours. It was getting to the stage where I was also asking my roommate Willie Donnachie to carry up two pints of juice for me along with the two I had for myself before we went to bed.
I was suffering a dramatic weight loss of two stones but in my own mind I was putting it down to an excess of nervous tension. We were the only team in the whole tournament not to lose a game - all of that encouraged me to think I had simply run myself to a standstill like every other Scottish player. I have been told since then that my condition would have been diagnosed for me had we gone any further in the competition because I would then have lapsed into a diabetic coma as matters were coming to a head. As it turned out, it was my wife Laraine who was so shocked by my appearance on
the team's return home that she insisted on me getting medical advice."
GORDON McQUEEN (Leeds United, defender)
DID not play in finals. Won last of 30 caps in 1981.
Started career with St Mirren before joining Leeds in 1972. Won league title at Elland Road before joining Manchester United in 1978 for then British record fee of 450,000. Moved into coaching and was assistant-manager to Bryan Robson at Middlesbrough. Now works as a pundit for Sky Sports, age 53.
'I made my Scotland debut in the friendly against Belgium just before we went to the finals, but that was because Jim Holton was injured. He was always going to play when fit and I knew I was going to West Germany as his understudy. It wasn't a problem for me, because Jim was a fantastic player and simply to be named in that squad was a massive thing for me.
I remember the organisation of the tournament was top notch. There was a lot of hype and you did feel part of something special when you were there. We were just a wee bit naive against Zaire. Their goalkeeper was hopeless and if we had just peppered their goal more, we would have won by a lot more than 2-0. You couldn't have any complaints about the displays against Brazil and Yugoslavia, the team were terrific .
WILLIE MORGAN (Manchester United, winger)
PLAYED against Brazil and Yugoslavia. Won last of 21 caps in 1974.
Began his playing career with Burnley before moving to Manchester United for a then record fee of 117,000 in 1968. Returned to Burnley in 1975 and had spells with Bolton, Minnesota Kicks, Vancouver Whitecaps and Blackpool before retiring in 1982. Now semi-retired in Manchester, he plays on a charity golf circuit, age 61.
'I'd say the night when we beat Czechoslovakia at Hampden to qualify was the highlight of my career along with getting my move to Manchester United.
As far as the finals themselves were concerned, I genuinely think we could have won that tournament.
ERICH SCHAEDLER (Hibernian, defender
DID not play in Germany. Won only a single cap, in 1974. Joined Hibs from Stirling Albion, moved to Dundee before returning to Hibs, and then joined Dumbarton.
THE son of a German prisoner of war who had played for Borussia Moenchengladbach, Biggar-born Schaedler was said to be fiercely patriotic about his Scottish nationality. He was a solid left-back who
travelled to the 1974 World Cup as cover for full-backs Sandy Jardine and Danny McGrain.
Found dead in his car, aged 36, in December 1985.
JIM STEWART (Kilmarnock, goalkeeper
THIRD-CHOICE goalkeeper, did not play in finals. Won last of two caps in 1978.
Played for Kilmarnock, Middlesbrough, Rangers and St Mirren. Now goalkeeping coach with Hearts and Scotland, age 52.
'I was only 20 and a part-timer with Kilmarnock at the time, so just to be named in the squad was incredible. David Harvey was firmly established as the No1, while Thomson Allan was the experienced back-up. There were no goalkeeping coaches in those days and the three of us worked well together in training. It is a memory and an experience I cherish, because I didn't manage to go to another World Cup.
I was in the original squads of 40 for both the 1978 and 1982 finals but didn't make the final cut. I sat in the stand for all three games in West Germany, because only 16 players were stripped for matches.