Yugoslavia [ie Union of Slavs] is another name which has disappeared from atlases [and football fixture lists] in relatively recent times. Scotland played Yugoslavia on eight occasions winning twice, drawing five and losing once. Two of the drawn matches came at World Cup Finals – at Sweden 58 and at the heartbreaking West Germany 74.The two victories were both Hampden friendlies – in November 1956 and September 1984.
In 1956 Scotland won 2-0 in front of 55,521 with our skipper, George Young, winning his 50th cap that evening. Future Scotland manger Tommy Docherty also lined up. Yugoslavia would finish as Runners-up in the 1960 and 1968 European Nations Cup and in 1976 they hosted the Finals finishing fourth. Yugoslavia’s expulsion from the 1992 finals resulted in a last-minute call-up for Denmark who went on to win the tournament!
The September 1984 game was a precursor to the Mexico World Cup qualifying campaign and Scotland recorded a remarkable 6-1 victory. Yugoslavia had the temerity to take the lead after only ten minutes but Scotland hit back with six players getting onto the scoresheet – Davie Cooper, Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish, Paul Sturrock, Mo Johnston and Charlie Nicholas. Liverpool’s Stevie Nicol got his debut cap that evening whilst John Wark made his 29th and final appearance for Scotland.
There were less than 19,000 at Hampden that night to savour the result and I consider myself doubly fortunate to have been there because there was no television coverage due to industrial action – I think. I therefore found it strangely disconcerting when recently I was able to catch the goals on Youtube. The experience reminded me of the memory-viewing ‘Pensieve’ in Harry Potter!
Robert ‘Dumbledore’ Marshall
First posted on Facebook April 29th, 2015