West Germany 1974 was Scotland’s third World Cup Finals and our opening game against Zaire [previously and currently called Congo] in Dortmund brought us our first ever victory at this stage of the competition.

The Marshall household had only just replaced our black and white tv a few months previous and so this was my first major sporting event in glorious colour. Scotland had never looked so good and they arguably haven’t looked as good since. Denis Law won his 55th and final cap that day but there was a suggestion of sentimentality in manager Willie Ormond’s decision to play the Lawman.

As for the match itself, a rocket-shot from Leeds United’s Peter Lorimer put Scotland ahead after 26 minutes and an almost comical headed goal from Elland Road teammate Joe Jordan seven minutes later meant Scotland went in at the break 2-0 up.

Skipper Billy Bremner’s second half ‘holding’ approach may have influenced an impressionable Gary McAllister who was nine years old at the time but it drew boo-ing from the neutrals in the crowd of 25,800 and ultimately it proved fatal to Scotland who would fail to reach the second phase of the tournament due to an inferior goal difference compared to group rivals Brazil and Yugoslavia.

Before the tournament commenced the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson allegedly asked the SFA if Scotland could return home from Germany via London if we won the cup…….. and if Jinky Johnstone had been allowed to weave his magic then perhaps we might have.


The attached photograph of Peter Lorimer’s goalbound shot is from Kevin McCarra’s ‘Scottish Football – A Pictorial History’ whilst the Daily Record headline is ‘Jumping Joe hits the heights’ which is followed by praise for winning a nervy encounter with goalkeeper David Harvey producing three ‘really tremendous saves’. Elsewhere in the newspaper there is an advert for a 2-day £50 trip from Glasgow to Frankfurt for the forthcoming Scotland-Brazil match. Match tickets were guaranteed but extra!

Robert Marshall

First posted on Facebook June 12th, 2015