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Last Updated: Monday, 28 May 2007, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
When Wembley turned tartan
By Julian Taylor

Bruce Rioch
Scotland captain Bruce Rioch is hoisted aloft by jubilant fans at Wembley

While England embark on a new international era, hosting the aristocrats of Brazil at the new Wembley, Scots have a special anniversary to toast.

Thirty years ago, England were shaken and stirred by a rampant Scotland in the Home Internationals.

Goals from Gordon McQueen and Kenny Dalglish swept Ally McLeod's team to a 2-1 win over Ron Greenwood's side, and, in truth, Mike Channon's late penalty did not reflect the true dominance the visitors enjoyed.

Naturally, a victory over England is always cause for celebration north of the border, but the performance helped banish the memories of a 5-1 hammering two years earlier.

Well, didn't the Tartan Army just love it?

The rivalry was intensified in the 1970s when the now-defunct Home Internationals were keenly contested and the biannual trip to the twin towers was much anticipated by Scotland supporters.

So much so, that the overwhelming majority of the 98,103 crowd on 4 June were Scots, providing a passionate riot of noise and colour.

Consumed with excitement, the Scottish fans invaded the pitch at the final whistle.

England 1-2 Scotland
4 June 1977, Wembley
Att: 98,103

England: Clemence, Neal, Mills, Talbot, Watson, Hughes, Channon, Francis, Pearson, Greenhoff (Cherry 57), Kennedy (Tueart 67)

Scotland: Rough, McGrain, Donachie, Rioch, McQueen, Forsyth, Masson (Gemmill 83), Dalglish, Jordan (Macari 43), Hartford, Johnston

A live TV audience witnessed tens of thousands of high-spirited Rod Stewart clones, resplendent in 70s chic, stamping their authority on the surface in the same manner which Dalglish, captain Bruce Rioch and the rest had earlier.

Those images of victory remain truly iconic and warrant their place in Scottish football history.

What Scot of a certain vintage can ever forget dancing with delight on English football's most hallowed surface? And, staggering away with not only parts of the pitch but the crossbar as well?

Even now, many still boast of a little piece of garden that will be forever Wembley.

Scotland won the tournament that year, with a 3-0 home win over Northern Ireland sandwiched between a scoreless draw in Wales and the England encounter.

The Wembley high water mark was supposed to be the first of many days in the sun, leading up to Scotland's appearance in the World Cup in Argentina in 1978.

The bulk of McLeod's unit on that hazy day in Silver Jubilee year were on board the following June, to face Peru, Iran, and Holland in Cordoba and Mendoza.

Kenny Dalglish slides the ball past Ray Clemence to make it 2-0
Kenny Dalglish slides the ball past Ray Clemence to make it 2-0

Wembley kick-started an unprecedented wave of self-belief in the Scots ranks, and prior to jetting off to South America, the enthusiastic McLeod proclaimed, "We're going to win a medal."

With players such as Dalglish, Rioch, Graeme Souness and Joe Jordan in tow, the Scotland boss did little to dilute the excessive expectations of an excited nation.

Somehow though, those hopes, ignited at Wembley, fell apart, as the lionised national team had their wings clipped by both the Peruvians and Iranians, and the dream disintegrated.

Arguably, the Argentina debacle had a far-reaching effect on the Scottish national psyche for years to come.

However, that is another sad lament.

Just 12 months earlier Scotland's players and fans - like the Jim Baxter orchestrated triumph in 1967 - enjoyed an all too rare invincibility.

Who knows when Scotland will next have occasion to play the 'Auld Enemy' at the new, 21st century stadium?

In the meantime, the spirit of June 1977 lingers on - when Wembley, London, and, it seemed the football world, belonged to 'Ally's Army'.


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