As a thirteen year old in the summer of 1973 I was far removed from Bobby Goldsboro’s ‘Journey into manhood’ hit single that year. Football lit my fire and Brazil – The World Cup holders were coming to Hampden. Deep joy!

This was the second visit [of what is only three visits to date] to Hampden Park by the colourful South Americans and was match number 8 in their nine game tour of Europe and North Africa that June. The game was also the second of three SFA Centenary celebration fixtures [England and West Germany were our other honoured guests] and a healthy crowd of 78,181 turned up that sunny afternoon.

The British Home International Championships finished on 19th May that year and to help keep us ticking over until the Boys from Brazil arrived, Scotland played [and lost] a friendly match against Switzerland in Berne’s wonderfully named Wankdorf Stadium on Friday 22nd June. Eleven of the twelve players who appeared in Berne also took to the field against Brazil.

The Brazil game was only the second time I had attended a Scotland match [I believe it was fellow Epistle David Stuart’s debut international] but it was the first I attended with my mates – and so began my own convoluted route into manhood. We arrived at Hampden well before the gates opened so we sat on the pavement outside the North enclosure and read the 16 page programme several times. I’ve never been as premature at a Scotland game since and I’ve seldom been as sober.

From what I can recall Scotland more than held their own in that game with Rangers’ 19 years old Derek Johnstone netting after 33 minutes ….unfortunately it was his own keeper Peter McCloy that he beat and that was enough to give the visitors [which included Mexico 70 heroes Rivelino, Jairzinho and Clodoaldo] an undeserved victory. Scotland were skippered by Billy Bremner whilst George Graham [then of Manchester United] won his 12th and final cap. Eight of the Scotland team would face Brazil again twelve months later at the world cup finals in West Germany including fan favourites Jardine, McGrain, Hay, Holton and Jordan.


I’ve seen Scotland play Brazil several times since the summer of ’73 but there is always something special about the first time and as such I’m sure it will be ‘extra’ special the day we manage to beat them for the first time!
Robert Marshall, Chicken…… Donna Summer…..

First posted on Facebook June 29th, 2015