Poland visit Hampden in October for the fourth time and currently we are still looking for a victory. Sort it out Scotland. The first meeting came about in May 1960 and saw Scotland lose a friendly match 2-3 in front of 26,643 in what proved to be John Hewie’s last game for his ‘adopted country’.Five years later the Beatles had conquered the world but in the world cup Scotland [managed by Jock Stein on a part-time, temporary basis] messed up and lost 1-2. Celtic and Scotland captain Billy McNeil gave Scotland the lead after 14 minutes but a crowd of almost 108,000 looked on in disbelief as we conceded in the 84th and 86th minutes. From a purely arithmetical perspective, a Scottish victory would ultimately have meant a play-off with Italy for the right to go to England 66 and who knows, World Cup Willie could have been Bremner or Henderson or Johnston or McNeill……


Poland’s most recent Hampden appearance was 25 years ago [19 May 1990 to be precise] – in what was our fourth and final home warm-up match for Italia 90. I remember there was a group of nine of us on the uncovered east terracing [amongst a crowd of 25,142] as part of a mate’s stag day celebrations. Maurice Johnston-then of Rangers- gave Scotland the lead after 42 minutes but a second-half own goal from Liverpool’s Gary Gillespie – who looked more pished than we did – ensured that honours finished even.

Gillespie would win three more caps [to take his final tally to13] including one against Brazil at Italia 90 whilst my mate Andy would get married, emigrate to America and become a big fan of the Grid Iron game. Life is full of disappointments…..

Robert Marshall

First posted on Facebook on May 19th, 2015