My first visit to Hampden was in May 1970 for the Junior Cup Final: Penicuik Athletic 1 Blantyre Vics 1, with the crowd given as 19500. Unfortunately they lost the replay 1-0.
I had a Penicuik connection as my uncle, Marshall Mills, had captained them when they reached the semi in 1966.
Later that year I was in a crowd of 106,263 as a header from 16 year old Derek Johnstone broke the deadlock and beat Jock Stein’s Celtic to give Rangers the League Cup, their first trophy in 4 years.
A grand decade the 1970s, as I started going to Scotland games, and some fabulous crowds, such as 119,325 in 1972, which was the last 6-figure crowd against England.
Who can ever forget 26 September 1973, Scotland 2 Czechoslovakia 1, as Scotland gave their opponents a goal of a start, and put us through an emotional wringer till Joe Jordan’s header sent us to Munich 74. I was in the Mount Florida end that night with 95,785 others, and the old railway sweepers for terracing, and as usual we all choked on the dust as Scotland scored.
I also saw the 1973 Scottish Cup Final, a classic match where 22 year-old Kenny Dalglish put Celtic ahead but Rangers triumphed 3-2 with the famous 6 inch trundler off Tam Forsyth’s studs. An impressive 122,714 saw this one and the 100,000 barrier was never broken in Scotland again, to my knowledge.
England were beaten 2-0 in 74, with Jinky Johnstone saluting the press box following the famous boating incident at Largs. And the Auld Enemy were put to the sword again in 76, with a miraculous last-ditch tackle from Tam Forsyth on Mick Channon just as he was about to pull the trigger. Scotland went behind to a Channon strike before hitting back through Don Masson. Just for good measure, Dalglish netted the winner through the legs of Ray Clemence.
In the rather bizarre situation of the BBC trying to cater for the ‘family of nations’ which is the UK, we got our own commentator in Scotland, Archie McPherson I think. But when you search now for youtube footage, all you get is a very colonial David Coleman, who exclaims ‘Yes!’ when Channon scores, and then ‘Disaster!’ when Dalglish does. Arthur Montford was always more of a gent. Never mind…
As the sun set on the 1970s and married life took over, the prospect of travelling through to Hampden in midweek began to lose its appeal. It took hours back then. For every classic Davie Cooper-inspired 1981 Cup Final replay, there would be a late fumble by Roughie to let Krankl equalise for Austria in a vital qualifier.
And much as I enjoyed the thrilling combination of skill, aggression and pace when Scotland dispatched Czechoslovakia (again) on the way to Argentina 1978, on a frosty September night, with Gemmill, Hartford, Dalglish, Jordan, Masson etc in devastating form…..
….there were also nights like the one when we comfortably led Wales 1-0 with 3 minutes to go. Willie Donnachie turned and stroked the ball back to ‘keeper Jim Blyth, only to find him posted missing – he had wandered out to the edge of his box as the ball made its leisurely way into the empty net.
So part one of my Hampden experience kind of faded away and I would have to wait for Inverness Caley Thistle to rekindle the fire.