Say it quickly – it is now 25 years [let’s call it a quarter of a century] since Scotland’s last victory at the world cup finals. Bloody awful isn’t it when you consider some of the other ‘football nations’ who can do a lot better than that- like USA, Australia and Iran.

Due to a problem with getting holidays from work to align properly with the start of those world cup finals I was only able to attend the Scotland-Costa Rica match at Italia 90. So when the Scotland-Sweden game kicked-off in Genoa’s Luigi Ferraris Stadium I was approximately 90 miles away in the departure lounge of Nice airport waiting for a flight home to Glasgow. D’oh!

Having lost to Costa Rica it was imperative that Scotland beat Sweden in the second game as Brazil awaited in the third. Apparently the Scotland support that night was fantastic and helped play a big part in lifting the team to victory.

With Newcastle’s Roy Aitken as captain and Norwich striker Robert Fleck earning only his second cap Scotland took the lead after only ten minutes against an experienced Swedish team that had finished above England in qualifying and which included the likes of Stefan Schwarz, Anders Limpar, Jonas Thern and Thomas Brolin. It was Everton’s Stuart McCall who got the goal and we added to that seventy-one minutes later when Rangers’ Mo Johnston scored from the penalty spot. Five minutes from time Glenn Stromberg [was his Dad not the Bond villain in The Spy who loved me?} pulled one back for Sweden but we held on to get maximum points.


The attached match action images are from the August 1990 edition of the now defunct magazine ‘Scottish Football Today’. ‘The real McAye!’ shouted the Daily Record as Stuart McCall was labelled the new Billy Bremner. The Italian press apparently called us ‘The avengers in kilts’ for our recovery after the flop against Costa Rica but it would all end in tears of course when four days later we lost 1-0 to Brazil in Turin.

Robert Marshall

First posted on Facebook June 16th, 2015