Tosh McKinlay places the ball down on the Tynecastle turf, a little under ten minutes into the second half of the Uefa Cup quarter-final first leg against the mighty Bayern Munich. The 26,000 crowd were chattering, wondering if this could be the night to remember.
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Moments earlier, Hearts had just gone close to taking the lead against their illustrious opponents. Iain Ferguson, a scorer of great goals, zipped a free-kick at Raimond Aumann, the goalkeeper only able to spill it to his right.
With the ball still in play, Hearts pinned their Bavarian visitors into their half, turning the dial and increasing the pressure. The supporters in Gorgie that evening got the message: the real Tynecastle atmosphere, a constant din, a battle cry.
Bayern failed to clear their lines and as Kenny Black went for a header he was sandwiched between two opponents, winning another free-kick within shooting distance.
Ferguson, having hit the target with the previous effort, was afforded another opportunity.
Bayern were prepared. A five-man wall covering the right-hand side of the goal, Aumann the left.
Then McKinlay, in a swift movement, caressed the ball over the surface with his hand, changing the angle of the free-kick and disrupting the German’s organisation.
One wee movement that was set to create a memory which would last a lifetime.
The camera cut away from the Bayern wall re-adjusting to see the ball rolling into the path of Ferguson, who, like everyone else seemed to be taken by surprise by McKinlay’s decision.
But what followed was not only a template in how to strike a football but arguably the greatest moment in Hearts’ European history. Ferguson thumped the ball like his life depended on it.
It was the type of strike which belonged in Roy the Rovers, accompanied by a ‘whoosh’ a ‘bang’ or a ‘wallop’. The ball was spanked past the wall, past a helpless Aumann and into the corner.
For a split second, as the ball travelled goalwards, Tynecastle fell silent. Up until then it seemed there was little room to breath, let alone move. But when the ball crashed against the net EH11 exhaled and exalted. Bodies, limbs and inflatable bananas went skyward, forward, backwards. Any which way.
Hearts led Bayern Munich 1-0.
A Bayern Munich awash with talent. A Bayern Munich of Hansi Flick, Stefan Reuter, Johnny Elkstrom, Klaus Augenthaler, Hans Pfluegler, Erland Johnsen and Olaf Thon. Serial Bundesliga winners, future World Cup and European Cup winners.
Up until that point the encounter had been fierce, fast and feisty. Afterwards famed Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes bemoaned the physical play of the home side.
Yet, the German giants gave as good as they got with Hearts boss Alex MacDonald out of his seat on one occasions following a particularly robust challenge, while John Colquhoun was unceremoniously chopped down by Thon.
Hearts were the last British representatives left in Europe - English teams were still banned from competing following the Heysel disaster - having progressed past Ireland’s St Patrick’s Athletic, Austria Vienna and Velez Mostar, then of Yugoslavia.
It was Bayern who would start brighter. Flick fired past the post after a cute set up from Elkstrom.
The Swede Elkstrom then tried to win a penalty, going to ground under close attention from current Hearts boss Craig Levein. Replays show that it was perhaps a foul on the Tynecastle defender who had been caught by the forward’s arm.
Hearts were doing little to threaten Aumann’s goal, Mike Galloway, a key component of the European run, sending a header wide.
Then, after the interval, with the pitch more in keeping with the ‘forgotten’ Woodstock which took place the same year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the famous music concert, Hearts panicked the Bayern defence with Eamonn Bannon’s goalbound shot being blocked.
That preceded the Ferguson strike. The goal which still brings a beaming smile to every Hearts fan in the Tynecastle crowd that February evening.
Everyone would have been expecting a Bayern onslaught but Henry Smith in the Hearts goal had one of his quieter evenings.
Instead it was Hearts who should have doubled the lead. Defender Dave McPherson breaking the offside trap but the lanky centre-back tried an audacious chip which bounded to Aumann when he perhaps should have put his foot through the ball.
The Gorgie side, from there, held strong. The backline, including Levein and Alan McLaren, were imperious throughout.
The team and the fans were able to dream of a semi-final clash with Diego Maradona’s Napoli. After all, Hearts had scored in all three of their away matches on the European run.
It wasn’t to be as MacDonald’s men fell to a 2-0 defeat in Munich. But it could have been. Colquhoun passed up a glorious chance, hitting the post — a miss which still gives fans sleepless nights.
It can’t, however, take anything away from that night 30 years ago, when Ferguson stepped up and Tynecastle exploded.