Liverpool 1986 FA Cup Final

1986 FA Cup Final Howard Kendall and Kenny Dalglish lead out their teams at Wembley

The 1986 FA Cup Final was one of the most exciting and dramatic games in the history of the competition. It brought together the two best teams in the country in an all Merseyside affair. Their route to the final began in January 1986. Everton overcame Exeter 1-0 in the 3rd Round while Liverpool thrashed Norwich 5-0 at Anfield. Their reward was a very tough 4th Round fixture away to Chelsea live on ITV. Liverpool put on an impressive display to win 2-1 with goals from Ian Rush and Mark Lawrenson. Everton saw off Blackburn 3-1 and faced Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the 5th Round. Goals from Trevor Steven and Gary Lineker gave the Toffees an impressive 2-1 victory. Liverpool were given a scare by York City who forced a replay at Anfield after a 1-1 draw but the Reds triumphed 3-1 in the return game. In the quarter finals Everton came back from 2-0 down at Luton to draw 2-2 and they won the replay 1-0 at Goodison Park, as Gary Lineker’s goal sent them into the semi finals. Liverpool were fortunate to beat Watford in a quarter final replay. Future star John Barnes gave them the lead from a fee kick and only a late Jan Molby penalty and an extra time Ian Rush goal sent them into the semi finals.

On Saturday 5th April 1986 both FA Cup semi finals took place with Everton facing Sheffield Wednesday at Villa Park and Liverpool facing Southampton at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane. It was in the days before the semi finals were both played at Wembley and both games kicked off at 3pm. Everton took the lead when Alan Harper lobbed the goalkeeper but Carl Shutt equalised a few minutes later. In extra time Graeme Sharp volleyed home a magnificent winner to give Everton a 2-1 win and a place at Wembley.

Graeme Sharp celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Everton against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Villa in Birmingham, 5th April 1986. Everton won 2-1 after extra-time. (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

In the other semi final Liverpool faced a stubborn Southampton team. Mark Wright broke his leg in the first half ruling him out of the 1986 World Cup. Liverpool created several chances but were denied by England goalkeeper Peter Shilton as the game went into extra time. However Ian Rush finally broke their resistance with two strikes to give Liverpool a 2-0 victory and a place in the final.

1986: Kenny Dalglish of Liverpool celebrates after the FA Cup semi-final against Southampton in England. Liverpool won the match 2-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Liverpool clinched the 1986 First Division Championship on the final day of the season as Kenny Dalglish fired the winner in win 1-0 at Chelsea. Everton had failed to retain their title despite finishing on 86 points two points behind Liverpool. Gary Lineker was named PFA Player of the Year after his 30 goals made him First Division top scorer. For Liverpool it was a dream first season for Player Manager Kenny Dalglish who had won the Championship in his first season in charge of Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 6: Liverpool players pose with the Canon League Division One trophy before the Screen Sport Super Cup Semi-Final Second Leg match between Liverpool and Norwich City held on May 6, 1986 at Anfield in Liverpool, England. Liverpool won the match 3-1. (Photo by Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

On Saturday 10th May 1986 Everton faced Liverpool at Wembley desperate to beat their rivals and deny them the League and Cup Double. Everton were appearing in their third FA Cup Final in a row after winning it in 1984 and losing the 1985 Final. For Liverpool it was their first final since 1977 and they had not won the FA Cup since 1974. Kenny Dalglish led out Liverpool in his tracksuit as he would play alongside Ian Rush up front. Bob Paisley, Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans would be directing things from the bench. Howard Kendall was confident Everton could win but they would be without their inspirational goalkeeper Neville Southall who was injured with Bobby Mimms replacing him. In front of 98,000 fans with red and blue together in the stand both teams lined up as follows:

Everton: Mimms, Stevens (Heath) Van Den Hauwe, Ratcliffe (C), Mountfield, Reid, Steven, Lineker, Sharp, Bracewell, Sheedy

Liverpool: Grobbelaar, Lawrenson, Beglin, Nicol, Whelan, Hansen (C), Dalglish, Johnston, Rush, Molby, MacDonald

The game began cautiously with neither team wanting to give anything away. Everton had more possession and on 15 minutes they felt they should have had a penalty when Graeme Sharp was felled in the box after a challenge by Steve Nicol. It looked like a clumsy challenge but Everton appeals were waved away by referee Alan Robinson. On 27 minutes Everton took the lead. Kenny Dalglish’s misplaced pass was seized on by Peter Reid who played a superb long through ball to Gary Lineker. He outpaced Alan Hansen and fired past Grobbelaar at the second attempt. It was the England striker’s 40th goal of the season and Everton were in the driving seat.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 10: Everton striker Gary Lineker opens the scoring past Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar as Alan Hansen looks on, during the 1986 FA Cup Final on May 10th, 1986 in London, England. (Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images)

Liverpool almost equalised a few minutes later but Mimms saved well at the feet of Craig Johnston. Everton continued to keep the ball well and Liverpool could not break them down and the first half finished with Everton 1-0 in front.

Liverpool made no changes at half time as they tried to find a foothold in the game. Trevor Steven drove a shot wide at the start of the second half as Everton continued to press forward. They almost increased their lead when Kevin Sheedy took advantage of a mix up at the edge of the box and fired wide of the far post. He then fired in a freekick from 25 yards which Grobbelaar pushed round the post. Liverpool were all over the place at the back and Beglin and Grobbelaar got in each other’s way before the keeper gathered the ball and pushed his team mate.

Then in the 57th minute Liverpool equalised. Ronnie Whelan collected Gary Stevens loose pass and fed Jan Molby. The Dane’s perfect through ball was pounced on by Rush who rounded Mimms and scored the equaliser. Liverpool were back in the game and now it was all to play for.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 10: Liverpool striker Ian Rush rounds Everton goalkeeper Bobby Mimms and defender Gary Stevens (r) to score their first goal during the 1986 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on May 10th, 1986 in London, England. (Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images)

Everton almost took the lead again after Alan Hansen’s rushed clearance fell to Graeme Sharp. With Grobbelaar out of position he sent a powerful header towards goal but the keeper scrambled back to claw the ball over. It was a brilliant save and it deflated Everton.

1986 FA Cup Final Bruce Grobbelaar makes a flying save at Wembley

On 62 minutes Liverpool took the lead. Ian Rush played the ball to Jan Molby who ran into the box and fired across the face of goal to Craig Johnston who scored unmarked at the far post.

1986 FA Cup Final Craig Johnston scores at Wembley

The game had turned on it’s head and Danish playmaker Jan Molby was running the midfield. He almost scored the goal his performance deserved when he burst through the Everton defence but Mimms made a fine save to deny him. Howard Kendall threw on striker Adrian Heath with 20 minutes to go to try and find an equaliser but it was Liverpool who struck again. Ronnie Whelan strode forward from midfield and his cross to the far post was controlled by Rush who fired past Mimms to give Liverpool a 3-1 lead in the 83rd minute.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 10: Everton defender Kevin Ratcliffe looks on as Liverpool striker Ian Rush scores the third goal past Everton goalkeeper Bobby Mimms during the 1986 FA Cup Final on May 10th, 1986 in London, England. (Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images)

Liverpool had come strong in the last half an hour as Everton faded. Ian Rush almost scored a hat trick, which would have been the first in an FA Cup Final since 1953 but his chip was saved by Bobby Mimms. It was the last action of the match and the full time whistle soon blew. Liverpool had beaten Everton 3-1 to complete the League and Cup Double for the first time in their history. It had been one of the most exciting finals for years. Everton were the better side for the first hour, before Liverpool outpowered them in the last 30 minutes. Liverpool became the first team to win the FA Cup with no English players in their team. Ian Rush was named man of the match but Jan Molby was also a star man as his midfield skill and power set up two goals. Kenny Dalglish became the first Player/Manager to win the FA Cup and Merseyside had shown the watching millions on television the best of football.

The Liverpool team celebrating with the trophy after their victory over Everton in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London, 10th May 1986. Liverpool won the match 3-1. Back row (left-right): Bruce Grobbelaar, Kenny Dalglish, Gary Gillespie, Jan Molby, Paul Walsh, Mike Hooper, Sammy Lee, Mark Lawrenson, Ian Rush, Kevin MacDonald, Ronnie Whelan, John Wark. Front row: Steve McMahon, Craig Johnston, Jim Beglin, Alan Hansen and Steve Nicol. (Photo by Professional Sport/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Scotland 1982

Scotland began 1982 preparing for their third World Cup Finals in a row. Manager Jock Stein had taken over in 1978 and had succeeded in steering the Scots through a tough qualification group. They had finished top of Group 6 two points ahead of Northern Ireland with Sweden, Portugal and Israel also in the group. They had kept five clean sheets but had only scored nine goals in their eight qualifiers. Alan Rough 1981 Scottish footballer of the year had only conceded four goals in the seven games and his displays away to Israel and in Belfast were one of the main reasons Scotland were travelling to Spain for the 1982 World Cup. Scotland were drawn in probably the toughest group against Brazil, USSR and New Zealand.

Jock Stein had five games to prepare for the World Cup and select his squad. The defence appeared settled but Jock was still not sure of his best central defenders, who would play alongside Graeme Souness in midfield and who would partner Kenny Dalglish upfront? In February 1982 Scotland faced Spain in a friendly in Valencia. It was a chastening experience as they lost 3-0. In March Holland came to Hampden for another friendly. In front of nearly 72,000 fans Scotland put on an excellent display to win 2-1 thanks to a penalty by Frank Gray and a superb Kenny Dalglish chip. The British Championship campaign began with a 1-1 draw away to Northern Ireland with a John Wark goal. In May Asa Hartford’s goal was enough to beat Wales 1-0 at Hampden and Scotland knew that a win against the Auld Enemy would give Jock Stein his first British Championship. It was the 100th clash between the two countries and 80,000 fans turned up at Hampden full of expectation. Would Jock Stein’s men repeat their 1-0 victory at Wembley in 1981? Scotland lined up in an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation with David Narey, Allan Evans and Alan Hansen at centre back. England started well and took the lead after Paul Mariner headed in a corner on 14 minutes. Scotland went close when Shilton scrambled away a Phil Thompson sliced clearance preventing an own goal and he also saved a Souness free kick. England lead 1-0 at the break. Scotland reverted back to a 4-4-2 in the second half with David Narey moving into midfield and John Robertson replacing Harford. The crowd chanted for Gordon Strachan but he never got off the bench and in fact played no part in any of the Home Championship games, a baffling decision by Jock Stein. Despite having more possession Scotland could not break down the England defence as Terry Butcher and Phil Thompson dominated and England held on for a 1-0 victory.

After the game Jock Stein named his squad for the World Cup. There was no place for Ray Stewart, Gordon McQueen, Archie Gemmill or Tommy Burns. Jim Leighton uncapped was named instead of Billy Thomson and George Wood would deputise for Alan Rough. The full 22 were as follows:

Goalkeepers: Rough, Wood, Leighton

Defenders: McGrain, Narey, F.Gray, Evans, McLeish, Hansen, Miller, Burley

Midfielders: Hartford, Souness, Wark, Strachan, Robertson, Provan

Forwards: Jordan, Brazil, Dalglish, Archibald, Sturrock

It was a very talented and experienced squad. Nine players F.Gray, Evans, Hansen, Burley, Souness, Wark, Robertson, Brazil and Daglish had all won European trophies and there was a good mixture of youth and experience.

Scotland travelled to the Algarve in Portugal for their pre tournament training camp. However Jock Stein had still not settled on his first choice central defence. Willie Miller Alan Hansen, Alex McLeish, Allan Evans and David Narey had all played together in various combinations but Jock had not selected Aberdeen teammates Miller and McLeish together in any of the warm up games. It was another baffling decision, especially given their outstanding display together in the 1-0 victory at Wembley in 1981.

The Scotland team line up prior to the FIFA World Cup match between Scotland and New Zealand at La Rosaleda stadium in Malaga, 15th June 1982. Left-right: Danny McGrain, Alan Rough, Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen, Frank Gray, Allan Evans, Gordon Strachan, John Robertson, Graeme Souness, Alan Brazil and John Wark. Scotland won 5-2. (Photo by Paul Popper/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

On the 15th June 1982 Scotland began their campaign against rank outsiders New Zealand in Malaga. The Kiwis were part timers with several native Scots in their ranks. Hansen and Evans started, Alan Brazil and Kenny Dalglish were up front. With Gordon Strachan making a notable return to midfield Scotland made a bright start. Kenny Dalglish fired home the opener after Strachan’s fine run and John Wark added two more goals, a follow up after Brazil’s shot was saved and a superb header from a Strachan cross. Scotland were 3-0 up at half time and cruising.

John Wark celebrates putting Scotland 3-0 up against New Zealand in Malaga

Early in the second half Steve Archibald replaced Alan Brazil and then just one minute later New Zealand pulled a goal back. A terrible short back pass by captain Danny McGrain to Alan Rough was bundled in by Steve Sumner. Scotland lost their shape and began to tire in the heat. Then on 65 minutes a huge hole appeared in the Scotland defence and Steve Woodin ran through and fired past Alan Rough from 20 yards, as Alan Hansen and Allan Evans were caught badly out of position. At 3-2 Scotland were in trouble. John Robertson curled home a clever freekick in 75th minute and Steve Archibald’s header from a corner five minutes later gave Scotland a 5-2 victory. It had been an excellent attacking display but there was a nagging feeling that those two goals would prove very costly. Jock Stein pointed out that Scotland had taken two points from their first game as was confident that they could take something from their next game against Brazil.

The Scotland team line up prior to the FIFA World Cup match between Scotland and Brazil at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville, 18th June 1982. Brazil won 4-1. The Scotland team (left-right): Asa Hartford, John Wark, Steve Archibald, Willie Miller, Alan Hansen, John Robertson, Gordon Strachan, David Narey, Frank Gray, Alan Rough, Graeme Souness. The captain of Brazil is Socrates (yellow shirt), and the referee (holding ball) is Jesus Paulino Siles of Chile. (Photo by Paul Popper/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Brazil were favourites to win the World Cup with many saying it was their best team since the 1970 World Cup. They had come from behind to beat the Soviet Union 2-1 in their opening game thanks to two brilliant goals by Eder and Socrates. With Falcao and Zico also in their ranks few gave Scotland any chance in Seville. Jock Stein opted for a 4-5-1 formation with Dalglish dropped and Steve Archibald the lone striker. David Narey replaced Danny McGrain at right back with Graeme Souness captaining the side. Brazil started the game confidently knocking the ball around and probing the Scotland defence. Then on 18 minutes Scotland took the lead. John Wark headed down a Souness long ball and David Narey latched onto it and fired a brilliant shot high into the Brazil net.

1982 WC David Narey fires Scotland ahead against Brazil in Seville and celebrates below

How would Brazil react? They continued to push Scotland back and in the 33rd minute then they won a freekick on the edge of the box after a needless foul by Alan Hansen. Zico curled a brilliant freekick into the top corner as Alan Rough stood and watched. Despite more Brazil pressure Scotland held on and the game was 1-1 at the interval. At the start of the second half Oscar was unmarked and headed home from a corner. Scotland were 2-1 down and now had to chase the game. They stayed in the game for one hour but then they visibly began to tire as Brazil taught them a lesson for the last half an hour. Eder brilliantly chipped Alan Rough on 65 minutes and Jock Stein threw on Kenny Dalglish to try and save the game. Falcao added a fourth with a drive from the edge of the box as Brazil recorded a 4-1 victory. Scotland were well beaten and now they knew they had to beat a very strong USSR team in their last game to qualify for the second round.

Scotland line up to face the Soviet Union in Malaga

On the 22nd June 1982 Scotland faced the USSR in their final Group 6 fixture. Once again Jock Stein rang the changes. Kenny Dalglish was dropped and not even on the bench, another baffling decision as his skill would have been key in breaking down a strong Soviet defence. Joe Jordan was brought in for his first start alongside Archibald, as Stein felt his power and strength in the air would unsettle the USSR defence. The Soviets only needed a draw to go through to the next round after their 3-0 win over New Zealand. Scotland started strongly with Souness dominant in midfield and Robertson and Strachan probing down the flanks. In the 14th minute Scotland took the lead. Joe Jordan latched onto Archibald’s pass and ran through to stroke the ball home. It was his fourth goal in the World Cup and he became the first and only Scot to score in three World Cups.

1982 World Cup Joe Jordan scores against the Soviet Union in Malaga

Scotland continued to push forward for another goal before half time. They were denied by two brilliant saves from Wark and Jordan by Rinat Dasayev, who was later voted the best goalkeeper in the World Cup. At half time Scotland were good value for their 1-0 lead. Jock Stein’s men were just 45 minutes away from the next round and sat back at the start of the second half. The Soviets had not troubled the Scotland defence but drew level in the 59th minute. Alexander Chivadze shot bounced over Alan Rough after his initial shot was blocked. Scotland had to score another goal and Alan Brazil replaced Jordan in the 74th minute. With just six minutes left Scotland pressed the self destruct button. Alan Hansen chasing an aimless long ball ran into Willie Miller and Soviet striker Shengelia ran clean through. Alan Rough failed to come out and he calmly slotted the ball home. It was a catastrophic mistake by Hansen who never seemed to play well for his country, compared to his form for Liverpool. Had Jock Stein picked Alex McLeish alongside Willie Miller that mistake would never have happened. Scotland now needed to score two goals but they fought back and captain Greame Souness levelled the scores with a fine shot from the edge of the box in the 86th minute.

1982 World Cup Graeme Souness scores against the USSR in Malaga

Scotland pushed forward desperately but could not find the third goal to send them through and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. It was the third World Cup in a row that Scotland had been eliminated on goal difference. Jock Stein had restored some pride after the 1978 World Cup and Scotland had performed well overall. They had scored eight goals in three games but had also conceded eight, thanks to some very poor defending. The Tartan Army had a great time in Spain and were praised by the locals for their passion and good humour. The 1982 World Cup was another missed opportunity for Scotland as Jock Stein failed to get the best out of a very talented squad. It summed up his record in charge of the national team, results were average considering the quality of players he had to choose from. In a memorable Summer Italy defeated the brilliant Brazilian team and won the 1982 World Cup by beating West Germany in the Final.

Liverpool 1983 Milk Cup Final

Managers Ron Atkinson (left) and Bob Paisley (1919-1996) lead players from their respective teams, Manchester United and Liverpool out on to the pitch prior to the start of the 1983 Football League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London on 26th March 1983. Liverpool would go on to beat Manchester United 2-1 to win the cup. Players pictured include Gary Bailey of Manchester United (4th from left) and Graeme Souness, Bruce Grobbelaar and Kenny Dalglish of Liverpool. (Photo by Professional Sport/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

In Summer 1982 Bob Paisley had announced that he would be retiring as Liverpool manager at the end of the 1982/83 season. It would be an historic season as his players finished on a high. In the League/Milk Cup Liverpool began their defence of the trophy with a tough two leg tie against Ipswich Town. They won the away leg 2-1 at Portman Road thanks two goals by Ian Rush. They won the return game 2-0 at Anfield, goals from Mark Lawrenson and Ronnie Whelan sent Liverpool through 4-1 on aggregate. A narrow 1-0 win over Rotherham was followed by a 2-0 victory over Norwich at Anfield with Lawrenson and David Fairclough on the scoresheet. In the quarter finals Liverpool beat West Ham 2-1, in a repeat of their 1981 Final, thanks to goals by David Hodgson and Graeme Souness. In the semi finals Burnley were beaten 3-0 at Anfield with goals by Souness, a Phil Neal penalty and Hodgson as Liverpool reached the final 3-1 on aggregate.

Their opponents in the final would be Ron Atkinson’s Manchester United team. They had an impressive run to the final beating Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Arsenal 6-3 on aggregate in the semi finals. However they received a huge blow when United and England captain Bryan Robson was ruled out of the final through injury. The two teams had met in a league game at Old Trafford in February 1983, which ended in a 1-1 draw after Kenny Dalglish had cancelled out Arnold Muhren’s strike.

On the 26th March 1983 Bob Paisley lead Liverpool out for the last time at Wembley. Could Liverpool win their third League/Milk Cup in a row or would Manchester United win their first trophy since 1977? Both teams lined up as follows:

Liverpool: Grobbelaar, Neal, Kennedy, Lawrenson, Whelan, Hansen, Dalglish, Lee, Rush, Johnston (Fairclough) Souness (C)

Manchester United: Bailey, Duxbury, Albiston, Moses, Moran (Macari) McQueen, Wilkins (C), Muhren, Stapleton, Whiteside, Coppell

The game began slowly with both teams trying to get on the ball. Remi Moses and Graeme Souness clashed in midfield but then in the 12th minute Manchester United took the lead in their first attack. A long ball by Gordon McQueen was controlled by Norman Whiteside who turned Alan Hansen and fired past Grobbelaar. At 17 he became the youngest ever scorer in a final at Wembley.

Liverpool almost hit back straight away when Whelan fired wide after Rush challenged United goalkeeper Gary Bailey. Following a freekick Graeme Souness drove wide as Liverpool pushed forward and Bailey saved well from Ian Rush. At the other end Frank Stapleton headed a freekick over the bar and Steve Coppell fired straight at Grobbelaar. Manchester United lead 1-0 at half time.

At the start of the second half Ronnie Whelan went close with a header and Alan Kennedy fired a long range shot over the bar. Ian Rush fired across the face of the goal and then with 15 minutes left Liverpool drew level as Kennedy fired a 25 yard shot that bounced past Gary Bailey.

David Fairclough replaced Craig Johnston in the 83rd minute as both teams tried to find a winner before the game went into extra time. Norman Whiteside headed into the side netting after Grobbelaar came for a cross and missed the ball. In injury time came a moment of high controversy and the Liverpool goalkeeper was lucky not to receive a red card after he fouled Gordon McQueen as he ran in on goal. Referee George Courtney booked Grobbelaar as the incident took place nearly 30 yards from goal. It was the last major incident of the match and the game ended 1-1 at full time.

At the start of extra time Kenny Dalglish ran through after a fine run but shot straight at Bailey. Then in the 99 minute Liverpool took the lead. Ronnie Whelan curled a fine shot past Gary Bailey. He had scored two goals in the 1982 Milk Cup Final against Tottenham and now his goal had put Liverpool in the driving seat.

26 March 1983 Wembley – Football League Milk Cup Final- Liverpool v Manchester United – A long ranged shot from Ronnie Whelan goes past United goalkeeper Gary Bailey and into the net for the winning Liverpool goal. (Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images)

As Manchester United surged forward in a desperate search for an equaliser David Fairclough missed two guilt edged chances after being put clean through on Bailey, firing high and wide both times. Liverpool held on for a 2-1 victory. It had been a gripping final and Manchester United had pushed them all the way to the end. Captain Graeme Souness sent Bob Paisley up to the Royal Box to receive the Milk Cup in a fitting end to his Liverpool career at Wembley.

Sport, Football, Milk (League) Cup Final, Wembley, London, England, 26th March 1983, Liverpool 2 v Manchester United 1, Liverpool Manager Bob Paisley is pictured with the trophy, having become the first Manager to climb the steps to receive the trophy at Wembley
(Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Liverpool became the first team to win the League Cup three years in a row. Bob Paisley ended the season as a League Champion as Liverpool won the 1982/83 First Division eleven points ahead of Watford.

The Liverpool team posing with the trophy after their victory over Manchester United in the League Cup Final, sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board, at Wembley Stadium in London, 26th March 1983. Back Row (left-right) Mark Lawrenson, David Fairclough, Alan Hansen, Ronnie Whelan, Ian Rush, Bruce Grobbelaar, and Bob Paisley (Manager), Front Row L-R: Craig Johnston, Kenny Dalglish, Phil Neal, Graeme Souness, Sammy Lee, and Alan Kennedy. (Photo by Professional Sport/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)


1983 Shoot Magazine colour feature on the Milk Cup Final

May 1983 Bob Paisley lifts the First Division Championship trophy at Anfield

Scotland 1986

Scotland began 1986 still reeling from the death of legendary manager Jock Stein who had died tragically in September 1985 after a 1-1 draw against Wales in Cardiff. It was left to his assistant and Aberdeen manager Alex Ferguson to guide Scotland to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico via a Play Off against Australia. A 2-0 win at Hampden in the 1st leg thanks to goals from Davie Cooper and Frank McAvennie was followed by a goal less draw in Australia thanks to the superb goalkeeping of Jim Leighton. Scotland had qualified for their fourth World Cup in a row and were the last team to qualify for Mexico. In the World Cup draw Scotland were drawn against Denmark, West Germany and South American Champions Uruguay in Group E which was dubbed ‘The Group of Death’.

In January 1986 Scotland embarked on a series of four friendlies in which Alex Ferguson hoped to finalise his squad for the World Cup. Their first game was a friendly against Israel in Tel Aviv. David Narey was recalled to partner Willie Miller in defence with Graeme Sharp forming an exciting looking strike force Charlie Nicholas in attack. Eamonn Bannon having a fine season at Dundee United also came into the team. Scotland in their lemon yellow away kit put on a decent display. Willie Miller had a goal disallowed for offside but in the 59th minute Celtic’s Paul McStay fired home the only goal to give Scotland a 1-0 victory.

On the 26th of March 1986 Scotland faced Romania in a friendly at Hampden Park. The Eastern Europeans would provide tough opposition as they had only narrowly failed to qualify for the World Cup themselves finishing just behind England and Northern Ireland. The game was historic as it was Kenny Dalglish’s 100th appearance for Scotland and he was given a special silver cap by Franz Beckenbauer before the game.

Undated: Kenny Dalglish shows off a trophy presented to him in honour of winning his100th Cap for Scotland. \ Mandatory Credit: Simon Bruty/Allsport

Kenny was captain for the night with the Hampden crowd singing his name and willing him to score the goal that would make him Scotland’s record goal scorer. He went close to his 31st goal for his country but was denied by the Romanian goalkeeper. Star man Gheorghe Hagi was well marshalled by the Scotland defence as Andy Goram made his first start in goal and in their best display under Alex Ferguson the Scots ran out 3-0 winners. A superb chip by Gordon Strachan was followed by strikes by Richard Gough and Roy Aitken. It was a morale boosting victory and gave the Scots confidence before their next game.

On the 23rd April Scotland faced England at Wembley. It was a midweek game for the Rous Cup but crowd was down to 68,000. Alan Rough came in for the injured Jim Leighton to win his 52nd and final cap and he was aiming to be the first Scotland goalkeeper to win three times at Wembley. A new strike force of Charlie Nicholas and David Speedie were upfront but the Scots midfield of Captain Souness, Aitken, Nicol and Bannon lacked creativity. Scotland began confidently and forced a series of corners and freekicks. In the 27th minute England took the lead after Terry Butcher headed home a freekick. Scotland almost equalised a few minutes later but Graeme Souness was denied by a superb save by Peter Shilton. England increased their lead when Rough parried a Kenny Sansom shot and Glenn Hoddle headed in the rebound. England lead 2-0 at half time. At the start of the second half Ferguson moved Richard Gough into midfield behind the strikers with Nicol moving to right back and Aitken to the right of midfield. Scotland fought their way back into the game and in the 57th minute they were given a lifeline after Terry Butcher hacked down Charlie Nicholas and Scotland were awarded a penalty. The Arsenal man injured his shoulder and was replaced by Chelsea winger Pat Nevin. Captain Graeme Souness fired past Peter Shilton to make it 2-1. Scotland had plenty of time to equalise and send the game to a penalty shoot out if the scores were level at full time. Roy Aitken had an weak effort saved by Shilton and David Speedie headed over in the last minute but Scotland created very little. Terry Butcher was outstanding and hardly gave the strikers a kick. At the other Willie Miller and Alex McLeish dominated Mark Hateley and Trevor Francis and Rough hardly had a save to make. England held on and their 2-1 win gave them the Rous Cup for the first time. It was the Scotland’s first defeat in eight games and their lack of firepower was a major concern for Alex Ferguson.

1986 Graeme Souness scores a penalty against England at Wembley in the Rous Cup

One week later Scotland faced Holland in Eindhoven for their final warm up game before the World Cup. Robert Connor and Rangers striker Ally McCoist made their debuts. Paul Sturrock came back into the side after a two year absence and Jim Bett made a notable return. Andy Goram kept a clean sheet in an encouraging Scotland display. McCoist went close to scoring as did Alex McLeish with a late header. Davie Cooper was a constant threat and Alex Ferguson could be satisfied with another clean sheet.

Scotland suffered a major blow when Kenny Dalglish was ruled out of the World Cup after he required an operation after playing for Liverpool in the FA Cup Final. Liverpool beat Everton to clinch the League and Cup Double for the first time in their history. Steve Archibald the Barcelona striker was his replacement but he had not scored for Scotland since the 1982 World Cup and had an injury plagued season. Many eyebrows were raised in the press when Alan Hansen was not named in the World Cup squad, but in truth it was not that much of a surprise. He had not played in any of the qualifying games and made just one substitute appearance. David Narey was selected instead and his ability to play across the defence and even in midfield made him invaluable.

In the seven games played under Alex Ferguson Scotland had kept six clean sheets a remarkable record. The Aberdeen trio of Jim Leighton, Willie Miller and Alex McLeish formed a rock at the back and with Captain Graeme Souness in front of them, Scotland would be very hard to beat in Mexico. However Scotland had only scored seven goals in the seven games and it was not clear where the goals were going to come from in the World Cup. Ferguson selected the outstanding winger Davie Cooper and Charlie Nicholas, Graeme Sharp, Frank McAvennie, Steve Archibald and Paul Sturrock as his strikers for Mexico. Sharp and McAvennie were in great form having scored over 50 goals in the English First Division. Sturrock had not featured in any of the qualifiers and many were surprised that SPL top scorer Ally McCoist and Celtic striker Mo Johnston, Scotland’s top scorer in qualifying were omitted. Mo had been in poor form though and incurred his manager’s wrath for his off field antics in Australia before the World Cup Play Off.

Scotland travelled to the United States to acclimatise for the heat and altitude in Mexico. They had a pre World Cup night out with Rod Stewart after watching his concert in LA. Scotland beat Santa Fe 3-0 in a warm up game in New Mexico as Alex Ferguson finalised his team before Scotland’s opening game against Denmark. Coaches Walter Smith and Craig Brown joined him in Mexico to make an experienced backroom team.

1986 World Cup Scotland line up to face Denmark in their opening game in Neza

On the 4th June 1986 Scotland faced Denmark in their opening Group E fixture. The Danes were Euro 1984 Semi Finalists and were dark horses to win the World Cup. Their star man was Michael Laudrup but with deadly striker Preben Elkjaer, Soren Lerby, Jesper Olsen and Frank Arnesen too, they would provide a formidable test for the Scots. Alex Ferguson caused a surprise by naming Steve Nicol at left back with Maurice Malpas playing on the left side of midfield. Gordon Strachan was expected to be the Scotland’s greatest threat and with Charlie Nicholas looking very sharp in training Ferguson was confident Scotland could take something from the game. The Danes started well and Laudrup fired over as his runs caused problems for the Scots defence. Richard Gough had a great chance to give Scotland the lead but he shot over and Charlie Nicholas was blocked inside the penalty area just as he was about to shoot. Willie Miller was excellent in defence and the game was 0-0 at half time. At the start of the second half the Danes pushed forward and Graeme Souness seemed out of sorts in midfield. In the 57th Denmark took the lead. Preben Elkjaer ran at Willie Miller and after a fortunate bounce fired past Jim Leighton. It meant Scotland had to force the game and Frank McAvennie came on in the 61st minute to try and get an equaliser. Roy Aitken had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, Strachan almost scored from a tight angle and McAvennie fired over with an overhead kick. Scotland ended the match with ten men after Charlie Nicholas was brutally hacked down and the Scots had used their two substitutes. Denmark held on to record a 1-0 victory. The result was harsh on Scotland as on the balance of play they could have drawn the game. Alex Ferguson stated that he was pleased with the performance and that the players would go into their next game with confidence after holding their own with the Danes for long periods.

1986 World Cup Finals, Queretaro, Mexico, 8th June, 1986, West Germany 2 v Scotland 1, The Scotland team pose for a group photo before the match (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

On the 8th June Scotland faced West Germany in Queretaro. The Germans had drawn 1-1 with Uruguay in their opening game and manager Franz Beckenbauer had targeted the Scotland game as key to their chances of qualifying from Group E. They were in fine form after beating Italy, Brazil and Holland prior to the World Cup. Alex Ferguson was forced to make changes. Alex McLeish was out with a stomach bug replaced by Dundee United’s David Narey. With Charlie Nicholas also out Steve Archibald came in as the Scots opted for a 4-5-1 formation with Archibald the sole striker. West Germany raced out of the blocks and almost scored twice in the opening five minutes as Leighton made a fine save from Voller and the Germans hit the post from the resulting corner. Then against the run of play Scotland took the lead. Gordon Strachan latched onto Roy Aitken’s pass and fired past Harold Schumacher via a deflection by the German defender Augenthaler. The image of Strachan pretending to mount the advertising boards became famous and Scotland had a vital opening goal. In the heat and altitude it was a vital advantage but they were unable to hold their lead and just five minutes later West Germany equalised through Rudi Voller after Souness had been beaten in midfield. Willie Miller winning his 50th cap was badly caught out on the halfway line as Voller raced clean through but Leighton made a brilliant save to deny him just before half time. At the break Scotland were holding Germans 1-1. At the start of the second half Klaus Allofs fired West Germany ahead after the ball broke off David Narey. Scotland now had to chase the game and the Germans superior power and fitness saw them dominate the rest of the game, with only fine saves by Jim Leighton keeping them in the game. Scotland almost drew level after substitute Frank McAvennie had a shot blocked in the penalty area. Alex Ferguson sent on Davie Cooper as a last throw of the dice and his great run and cross was met by Richard Gough, but his flying header flew over the bar a few minutes before the end. The game finished in a 2-1 victory for West Germany. In truth the Germans were the better side but Scotland had not been disgraced. Captain Graeme Souness had another poor game and later he would claim that he lost one stone in weight in the heat and altitude.

1986 World Cup Gordon Strachan celebrates scoring against West Germany

1986 World Cup Scotland line up to face Uruguay in Neza

On Friday 13th of June 1986 Scotland faced Uruguay in their final game. The game was expected to be a dead rubber, but Denmark’s 6-1 thrashing of the South Americans meant that Scotland could qualify as one of the best placed third teams if they won the game. There was a shock before the game when Graeme Souness was dropped and not even named on the bench. Paul McStay replaced him with Arthur Albiston in for Maurice Malpas at left back. Jim Bett was once again overlooked while David Narey kept his place ahead of the fit again Alex McLeish. Alex Ferguson turned to Graeme Sharp for his first start hoping his power and ability in the air would cause the Uruguayans problems. Paul Sturrock returned upfront with Frank McAvennie dropped from the bench.

There was an unbelievable start to the game. Gordon Strachan was brutally hacked down from behind by Batista in the first minute and French referee Joel Quiniou produced a red card. It was the fastest sending off in World Cup history and meant Scotland would play virtually the whole game against ten men. Uruguay had only needed a draw before the game to qualify themselves and a man down there were in no mood to give anything away. They kicked everything that moved and the referee struggled to keep control of the game. It was a game crying out for Grame Souness who would have rallied his troops and stood up to the Uruguayans. Paul McStay had a very poor game and the constant fouls stopped Scotland from getting any rhythm. Scotland should have taken the lead but Steve Nicol mishit a shot with the goal gaping and the Uruguay keeper Alavez scrambled the ball clear. The game was goal less at half time. The Uruguay forward Enzo Francescoli was superb upfront on his own, providing a constant threat to the Scotland defence. The South Americans almost took the lead but a brilliant save by Leighton kept out a Cabrera header. In the 70th minute Ferguson made a bold double substitution sending on Davie Cooper and Charlie Nicholas for Nicol and Sturrock. Uruguay defended comfortably and a late long range effort from David Narey which flew over was Scotland’s only attempt in the second half. Strachan was starved of service and Aitken and McStay created nothing in midfield. Despite forcing several corners and free kicks Sharp and Sturrock were anonymous up front. It was one of the worst ever Scotland performances in a World Cup on a par with Iran 1978 and at full time Uruguay celebrated the 0-0 draw which saw them qualify ahead of Scotland. Alex Ferguson resigned straight after the game and SFA Secretary Ernie Walker angrily stated: “we found ourselves on the field with cheats and cowards and we were associated with the scum of world football”. Uruguay were fined by FIFA and warned about their future conduct and they lost 1-0 to Argentina in the last 16.

The 1986 World Cup was another missed opportunity for Scotland and even today it is still inexplicable how Scotland could not take advantage of an extra man for the full game against Uruguay. They had only scored one goal in three games. It was the tenth and last game of Alex Ferguson’s tenure as Scotland manager. They had kept six clean sheets but only won three of the ten games, a very poor record especially considering the quality of player he had to choose from. Andy Roxburgh became the new Scotland manager with task of taking Scotland to the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

1984 Milk Cup Final

1984 Milk Cup Final programme

The League/Milk Cup Final of 1984 would be an all Merseyside affair. Everton had been revitalised under former player Howard Kendall and were about embark on the most glorious period in their history. For Liverpool it was the beginning of a new era under Joe Fagan who had replaced the retired Bob Paisley at the start of the season.

However at the start of the 1983/84 season the gap between the two clubs still seemed as wide as ever. In November 1983 Liverpool faced Everton at Anfield in a game shown live on ITV. They won a one sided game 3-0 with goals from Ian Rush, Michael Robinson and Steve Nicol. At Goodison crowds were down to as low as 15,000 and with the club just above the First Division relegation zone, fans were calling for the manager to be sacked. Then things turned in January 1984 when a late equaliser from Adrian Heath at Oxford earned a 1-1 draw and a League/Milk Cup replay. Everton won the return game 4-1 and moved up the table. The team was starting to gel and the signing of striker Andy Gray from Wolves in November 1983 proved to be a masterstroke. He formed a potent partnership with fellow Scot Graeme Sharp and Adrian Heath was also regularly on the scoresheet.

In League/Milk Cup Semi Final in February 1984, Everton beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Goodison and despite a 1-0 defeat in the 2nd leg they reached their first Final since 1977 when they had lost the League Cup to Aston Villa after two replays.

For Liverpool their progress to the League/Milk Cup Final was more of a struggle. They needed replays to overcome Fulham, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday. In the Semi Final Walsall earned a shock 2-2 draw at Anfield but Liverpool won the 2nd leg 2-0 thanks to goals from Rush and Whelan to reach the Final 4-2 on aggregate.

Howard Kendall (left), the manager of Everton and Joe Fagan, the manager of Liverpool pose together with the Football League Milk Cup trophy, February 1984. Both teams would contest the Milk Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on 25th March. (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

The Final would be Liverpool’s fourth in a row. They were favourites to retain the trophy but Everton were confident they could cause an upset. The streets of Liverpool were empty as thousands made the journey down to Wembley by train and coach. The game was a 100,000 sell out and shown live on ITV.

Howard Kendall of Everton (left) and Joe Fagan of Liverpool lead their teams out at Wembley Stadium in London prior to the Football League Cup Final, sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board, 25th March 1984. Left-right: Howard Kendall, Joe Fagan, Kevin Ratcliffe, Graeme Souness and Neville Southall. (Photo by Professional Sport/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The Final on the 25th March 1984 was the first ever League/Milk Cup Final to take place on a Sunday. It was a wet afternoon but both teams were determined to put on a show for the fans. The team line ups were:

Everton: Southall, Stevens, Bailey, Ratcliffe (C), Mountfield, Reid, Irvine, Sharp, Richardson, Sheedy (Harper)

Liverpool: Grobbelaar, Neal, Kennedy, Lawrenson, Whelan, Hansen, Dalglish, Lee, Rush, Johnston (Robinson), Souness (C)

The game started off at a slow pace as both teams felt each other out. The first real chance fell to Everton when Adrian Heath won a scramble with Grobbelaar and fired towards an empty net. Alan Hansen was covering and the ball seemed to strike his had as he cleared the ball. Everton claims for a penalty were ignored by the referee and linesman. Replays showed that the ball had bounced onto Hansen’s hand from his knee but then he controlled the ball with his left hand. It was a clear penalty that would have been given today under VAR. At the other end Ian Rush went close after a scramble in the box, but Everton continued to make chances. Graeme Sharp’s shot was saved and they should have taken the lead when former Liverpool player Kevin Sheedy burst through but fired straight at Grobbelaar. The game was goal less at half time.

In the second half Souness and Peter Reid battled for control of the midfield and Liverpool began to push forward. Alan Kennedy went close after a long run and only a great save by Southall denied Kenny Dalglish from opening the scoring. Liverpool almost took the lead from a quick corner but Rush fired over from point blank range. Everton were content to sit back and the game finished 0-0. At the start of extra time Michael Robinson replaced Craig Johnston and Liverpool should have gone in front but Southall made an excellent save from Ian Rush’s volley. Ronnie Whelan had a goal disallowed for offside but at the end of extra time neither team could find a breakthrough and the game finished 0-0. After both teams went up to the Royal Box to meet the Queen Mother the players lined up together as the fans sang: “Merseyside, Merseyside”. The Final had been a great occasion that had brought the whole city of Liverpool together. Both teams would have to face each other again in the Replay at Maine Road a few days later.

LONDON – MARCH 28, 1984: The Liverpool and Everton teams pose together for a photograph after the Milk Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on March 28, 1984 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Hale/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The teams met at Maine Road home of Manchester City for the Replay the following Wednesday, in front of 52,000 fans. The teams lined up as follows:

Everton: Southall, Stevens, Bailey, Ratcliffe (C), Mountfield, Reid, Irvine (King), Heath, Sharp, Richardson, Harper

Liverpool; Grobbelaar, Neal, Kennedy, Lawrenson, Whelan, Hansen, Dalglish, Lee, Rush, Johnston, Souness (C) substitute: Robinson

Everton began the game brightly and Peter Reid’s shot was well saved by Grobbelaar. Then in the 21st minute Liverpool took the lead. Graeme Souness turned onto Phil Neal’s pass and fired past Southall from 20 yards.

1984 Graeme Souness celebrates scoring in the Milk Cup Final Replay at Maine Road

Liverpool almost doubled their lead but Rush fired over after a Dalglish corner. Everton forced a series of corners and Kevin Richardson’s shot was cleared off the line by Mark Lawrenson. However Liverpool held onto their lead and were 1-0 up at half time. Everton continued to press at the start of the second half with Graeme Sharp a constant threat in the air. Peter Reid went close when he fired across the face of goal but Liverpool defended stubbornly. They almost put the game to bed when Ian Rush ran clear on the break but he was denied by the legs of Southall. Craig Johnston was denied by another fine save by Southall as Everton began to tire. Liverpool used all of their experience to see the game out and held for a 1-0 victory. It was the fourth year in a row they had won the League/Milk Cup and Joe Fagan’s first trophy as Liverpool manager. They would go on to seal their third successive First Division Championship and cap it all by winning the European Cup in Rome, to complete a glorious Treble, the first ever by an English club.

Everton would shrug off their disappointment to win the FA Cup in May beating Watford 2-0 in the Final. The two teams would meet at Wembley again in August for the Charity Shield and this time Everton won 1-0 after a Bruce Grobbelaar own goal.

1984: The Liverpool team pose with the trophy after the Milk Cup Final Replay against Everton at Maine Road Manchester. They won the match 1-0 \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Scotland 1990

1990 Stewart McKimmie scores against Argentina at Hampden

At the start of 1990 Scotland manager Andy Roxburgh started to plan for the World Cup in Italy that Summer. Scotland would face Brazil one of the favourites, Sweden and outsiders Costa Rica in Group C. In February 1990 Roxburgh had organised a short training camp in Italy, with Scotland playing two games in Genoa it was a chance to train at the Sampdoria stadium and for the manager to look over his players. Scotland had enjoyed a strong start to their qualifying campaign as Mo Johnston’s six goals had made them favourites to join Yugoslavia at Italia 1990, but in their last three games they collapsed to heavy defeats in Zagreb and Paris. In November 1989 a 1-1 draw with Norway at Hampden was enough for Scotland to qualify for their fifth World Cup in a row, one point ahead of Michel Platini’s France.

In March 1990 World Champions Argentina arrived at Hampden for a glamorous friendly. Even without Diego Maradona they would provide a formidable test. Stuart McCall and Norwich striker Robert Fleck made their debuts and in a tight game Stuart McKimmie fired home a famous winner. Roxburgh had played a 3-5-2 formation with Craig Levein slotting in alongside Richard Gough and Captain Alex McLeish. In April East Germany faced Scotland in another friendly at Hampden. Andy Goram replaced Jim Leighton in goal, with many in the press calling for him to be the first choice in the World Cup, after the Manchester United keeper’s poor form in a struggling team. John Collins and Gary McAllister also came in the team. Scotland played quite well but were unable to break their opponents down, and lost 1-0 to a Thomas Doll penalty.

1990 Scotland line up to face up to face East Germany at Hampden

In May Scotland faced Egypt at Pittodrie in another friendly. The Egyptians were in England’s World Cup group and were anxious to face British opposition in preparation. Bryan Gunn the Norwich goalkeeper made his debut at his former ground but had a poor game. He was at fault for two of the of the goals as Egypt ran out 3-1 winners. Ally McCoist scored for Scotland and Davie Cooper returned to the team. Roxburgh played down the result and claimed he was trying different players and systems with the goal of being successful in the World Cup. A few days later Scotland faced Poland at Hampden in another friendly, the Scots last home game before the World Cup. Mo Johnston headed the opening goal but another own goal but Gary Gillespie meant the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Scotland had conceded two own goals in Yugoslavia and defensively they looked vulnerable. On the 28th May 1990 Scotland played Malta in Valetta and two headers by Alan McInally gave Scotland a 2-1 victory.

When Andy Roxburgh named his squad for the World Cup there were few surprises. Davie Cooper pulled out through injury and Robert Fleck replaced him. Roy Aitken who had joined Newcastle in January would captain the team and with Gough and McLeish the experienced defenders. In midfield Paul McStay and Jim Bett were expected to provide the quality to supply Rangers pair Mo Johnston and Ally McCoist up front.

1990 Scotland line up to face Costa Rica in their opening World Cup game

Scotland would face rank outsiders Costa Rica in their opening game. Mo Johnston had overcome a stomach muscle injury to take his place upfront. Andy Roxburgh pointed out that the Costa Ricans would be a decent side and Scotland would rather not have faced them in their first game. Serbian coach Bora Milultinovic had taken hosts Mexico to the Quarter Finals in 1986 and he had been appointed just 90 days before by the Central Americans. Costa Rica would be very well organised and tricky opponents. It would be a game in which the first goal would be crucial.

Richard Gough won his 50th cap but Roxburgh had opted for Alan McInally upfront instead of Ally McCoist. He felt that the Costa Ricans were vulnerable in the air, especially their goalkeeper Luis Conejo. Scotland wearing their away kit of white shirts with yellow and black stripes controlled the first half, but too often knocked long balls up to McInally instead of playing their normal passing game. Mo Johnston was denied by a brilliant save by Conejo after Gough had knocked the ball down to him. At half time the game was goal less but Leighton did not have a save to make. At half time Richard Gough was replaced by Stewart McKimmie. The Rangers defender would later fly home for surgery and play no further part in the World Cup. In the 49th minute after a fine passing move Costa Rica took the lead. Juan Cayasso chipping Jim Leighton. Scotland still had plenty of time to come back and they continued to press. However Jim Bett and Paul McStay never got going and the Celtic man wasted several free kicks. On 73 minutes Ally McCoist replaced Alan McInally but he was starved of service. Conejo made another great save from Mo Johnston and McStay had a shot cleared off the line but Costa Rica held on for a famous 1-0 victory. It was probably the most humiliating defeat in Scotland’s history. A shocked Andy Roxburgh claimed Scotland had been caught by a sucker punch and that Conejo had been the man of the match. However many questioned why Ally McCoist did not start the game and why Roxburgh had asked the team to play so directly up to Alan McInally. Jim Bett had a poor game and Scotland did not create enough chances. With dark horses Sweden and favourites Brazil still to come, it looked like Scotland’s World Cup dreams were already over.

1990 Scotland line up to face Sweden in Genoa

Five days later on the 16th of June 1990 Scotland faced Sweden in the same stadium in Genoa. The Swedes had won their qualifying group ahead of England and lost narrowly 2-1 to Brazil in their opening game. Andy Roxburgh shuffled his pack. Craig Levein came into the defence and Murdo MacLeod and Gordon Durie replaced Bett and McStay in midfield. Robert Fleck replaced McInally upfront. Scotland began confidently and soon had the Swedes on the back foot. After 10 minutes they took the lead after Stuart McCall stabbed home a corner kick. The Scots were full of running with Durie and MacLeod providing a good balance in midfield. The Swedes still looked dangerous on the break with Thomas Brolin their main threat. Scotland made more chances themselves but at half time they lead 1-0.

1990 World Cup Stuart McCall scores against Sweden in Genoa

In the second half Scotland continued to dominate the game with Robert Fleck giving Sweden Captain Glenn Hysen a torrid time. Mo Johnston was denied by Ravelli and in the 81st minute Robert Fleck played Alex McLeish’s fine pass to Roy Aitken, who burst into the box, his first shot was saved and he was tripped before he could fire home the rebound. It looked a clear penalty but the Swedes claimed he dived. Mo Johnston confidently stepped up to send Ravelli the wrong way from the spot to give Scotland a 2-0 lead. However there was a nervous ending after Glen Stromberg pulled a goal back for Sweden in the 85 minute. Scotland held on for a memorable 2-1 victory, their last win in the World Cup Finals. Andy Roxburgh proudly waved a tartan scarf at full time as the team celebrated in front of the Tartan Army. It was a superb performance against a strong team, especially after all the criticism following the Costa Rica defeat.

1990 World Cup Mo Johnston scores a penalty against Sweden in Genoa

1990 World Cup Scotland line up to face Brazil in Turin

Scotland then travelled to Turin to play Brazil in their final game on the 20th of June. The Brazilians had already qualified for the second round after beating Costa Rica 1-0. Andy Roxburgh lost Levein through injury and brought McStay back with Ally McCoist starting his first game up front alongside his Rangers team mate Mo Johnston. With Scotland needing one point to make the next round they were content to sit back and soak up the pressure. In a downpour both teams created little in the first half. Murdo MacLeod was knocked out after Branco blasted a free kick into the Scottish wall and he was replaced by Gary Gillespie in the 38th minute. At the start of the second half Brazil pushed forward and Jim Leighton made a fine save at the feet of the dangerous Romario. At the other end Roy Aitken’s header was cleared off the line. As the game entered the last 10 minutes it looked like Scotland would hold on for the draw thy needed. Then Paul McStay gave the ball away in midfield, Alemao’s shot was fumbled by Leighton, he saved the follow up after a scramble with Gillespie and Careca but the ball drifted to Muller who forced the ball home as Alex McLeish stood and watched. Leighton kicked the post in frustration and Scotland knew they had to score or they were out. Robert Fleck had replaced McCoist in the 77 minute and as the game drifted into injury time Scotland had a great chance to equalise. Stuart McCall knocked the ball back to Mo Johnston who smashed it from point blank range. Somehow Brazilian keeper Taffarel got his fingers to the ball to push it over the bar. Johnston beat the ground in frustration and Scotland lost 1-0. They had defended bravely but had created little and were out of the World Cup. There remained a very slim chance they could go through as one of the best third placed teams but results went against them and they were eliminated.

20 Jun 1990: Mo Johnson (second right) of Scotland is tackled as he narrowly misses scoring in the closing stages during the World Cup match against Brazil in Turin, Italy. Brazil won the match 1-0. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon/Allsport

Scotland had played well in patches against both Costa Rica and Brazil and could have got a draw in either game. In retrospect a draw against Costa Rica would have been a decent result. They proved that they were a very good team by beating Sweden 2-1 to finish behind Brazil and reach the last 16, where they were beaten by Czechoslovakia. Italia 1990 would be memorable for the 2-1 victory over Sweden, a game in which Scotland regained their pride and showed that they belonged on the world stage.

Alan Hansen: A Class Act

Sport, Football, pic: 1982, Alan Hansen, Liverpool (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Alan Hansen was an accomplished sportsman. He represented his county at golf, volleyball and squash at junior level. His brother John Hansen had won the 1971 League Cup after Partick Thistle’s shock 4-1 win over Celtic at Hampden Park. Alan would play over one hundred games for the ‘Jags’ who were managed by Celtic legend Bertie Auld. In 1977 Liverpool snapped up the defender for £100,000. He was joined by his fellow Scot Kenny Dalglish that summer a record £440,000 signing.

Liverpool had won the European Cup for the first time and were reigning champions. All the talk before the 1977/78 season was how could the Reds replace Kevin Keegan who had joined Hamburg for £500,000 after a successful six year spell at Anfield. Hansen did not expect to go straight into the first team. As was the custom at the time, new players would have a long run in the reserves, to learn how to be Liverpool players. Phil Thompson, Emlyn Hughes and the veteran Tommy Smith were the established centre backs. It took a while for Alan to get used to the pace and physical nature of the English First Division. In his first season he played in nearly half of the league games and several in the cups. Newly promoted Nottingham Forest were their formidable rivals and under the extrovert Brian Clough they won the League title seven points ahead of Liverpool. In the European Cup Liverpool had battled through to another final where they would face Brugge at Wembley. The Belgians had beaten Italian giants Juventus in the semi final and would be stubborn opponents. An injury to Tommy Smith gave Hansen his opportunity to line up alongside Phil Thompson with Emlyn Hughes moving to left back. In a poor game Liverpool failed to take their chances before Kenny Dalglish chipped the winning goal. In a nervous display it was only a goal line clearance by Phil Thompson that kept Liverpool in front after Alan Hansen had mishit a back pass. Emlyn Hughes proudly lifted the European Cup and Liverpool were the Kings of Europe once again.

1978 Alan Hansen lifts the European Cup at Wembley

At the start of the 1978/79 Emlyn Hughes had joined Wolves and Hansen became the first choice centre back alongside Phil Thompson. Neither of them were blessed with great pace but Hansen was good in the air and read the game so well, his positioning always meant he could predict where the ball was going to go and he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Liverpool swept all before them that season winning the Championship with a record points tally under two points for a win. They scored 85 goals and conceded just 16 league goals. That was in no small part to the signing of another Scot Graeme Souness in January 1978. Along with Jimmy Case he provided the power and protection in front of the back four. Many supporters regard the 1978/79 team as Liverpool’s greatest ever. Alan Hansen had his first Championship medal and he would earn his first Scotland cap in May 1979.

Liverpool retained the title in 1979/80 and Hansen played almost every game. His playing the ball out from the back became a feature of the team’s play an he chipped in with the odd goal too. In 1981 Liverpool reached the League Cup Final for the second time where they faced FA Cup holders West Ham. A late penalty earned the Hammers a Replay at Villa Park and they took the lead midway through the first half. Kenny Dalglish equalised and Liverpool took the lead when Hansen headed home a corner. Ian Rush was outstanding as Liverpool won the League Cup for the first time after a 2-1 victory in their best performance of the season.

1981 Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish lift the League Cup at Villa Park

In Europe Liverpool won a famous semi final against Bayern Munich after Ray Kennedy’s away goal fired Liverpool into the Final against Real Madrid in Paris. In a physical game both teams cancelled each other out until Alan Kennedy fired home the winner from a narrow angle to give Liverpool their third European Cup.

1981 Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen lift the European Cup in Paris

At the start of the 1981/82 Mark Lawrenson joined Liverpool from Brighton for a club record £900,000. The versatile Irishman could play in midfield or defence and he would provide competition for Phil Thompson at centre back. Liverpool reached the 1982 League/Milk Cup Final against Tottenham but Hansen was injured and missed the game at Wembley. Ronnie Whelan was the two goal hero as Liverpool won 3-1 after extra time. In the First Division Liverpool lay in 12th place at the turn of the year after a miserable start to the season. Bob Paisley stripped Phil Thomson of the captaincy and Graeme Souness led his team to the Championship on the last day of the season after another win over Spurs. A new young team had evolved as Clemence, McDermott and Ray Kennedy were replaced by Grobbelaar, Whelan and Craig Johnston. Hansen featured in all three games for Scotland in the 1982 World Cup in Spain but a disastrous mix up, when he ran into Willie Miller meant the Scots went out on goal difference once again.

Sport, Football, pic: 15th May 1982, Division 1, Liverpool 3, v Tottenham Hotspur 1, Liverpool’s Alan Hansen shows the League Championship trophy to the Liverpool crowd (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Mark Lawrenson became Hansen’s regular partner in 1983/84. The Irishman had great pace and his last ditch tackles complemented the Scot’s positional play. Joe Fagan had replaced the retired Bob Paisley but it was business as usual at Anfield. Liverpool won their fourth League/Milk Cup in a row beating Everton in a Replay thanks to a Souness goal at Maine Road. Liverpool won their third Championship in a row and had also reached the European Cup Final. They faced hosts Roma and Liverpool struck first in the lions den. Phil Neal scoring for the second time in a European Cup Final. The Italians equalised before half time and with Souness dictating the pace of the game from midfield the game became a tense stalemate. With the score 1-1 at full time the Final would be decided with a penalty shoot out for the first time. Steve Nicol blazed over the first spot kick but the Roma players lost their nerve after Bruce Grobbelaar’s ‘wobbly legs’ and Alan Kennedy fired home the decisive kick. Liverpool became the first English team to win a Treble in Joe Fagan’s season as manager.

At the start of the 1984/85 Phil Neal took the captain’s armband after Graeme Souness left to join Sampdoria. Without his inspirational leadership Liverpool struggled and across Stanley Park Everton under Howard Kendall stormed to the First Division finishing a huge thirteen points clear of the Reds. After early exits in both domestic cup competitions Liverpool reached the European Cup Final again. On a night of shame and tragedy 39 Juventus fans were killed after rioting before the game at a crumbling Heysel stadium in Brussels. UEFA insisted the game went ahead and Juventus won the European Cup for the first time thanks to Michel Platini’s penalty. Joe Fagan resigned and Liverpool and all English clubs were banned from Europe.

Kenny Dalglish became Liverpool player/manager and his first act was to name Alan Hansen as captain. He was not a natural leader, he lead by example rather than being vocal in the dressing room. Hansen also suffered from pre match nerves but his consistency would inspire his team mates after the team had a difficult start to the 1985/86 season. Manchester United had made a flying start and Ian Rush was going through an uncharacteristic drought in front of goal. Steve McMahon became Kenny’s first signing from Aston Villa and the former Everton man formed a formidable partnership with Jan Molby in midfield. However after a 2-0 defeat to the Toffee’s at Anfield Liverpool were eight points behind their rivals at the end of February 1986. Dalglish brought himself back into the team for the run in and Liverpool reclaimed the title on the last day of the season. It was Kenny’s goal that beat Chelsea to give Liverpool their 16th League Championship. At Wembley Liverpool completed the Double coming from behind to beat Everton 3-1 in the FA Cup Final, thanks to Ian Rush’s two goals.

Football, 1986 FA Cup Final, Wembley, 10th May, 1986, Liverpool 3 v Everton 1, Liverpool captain Alan Hansen proudly holds aloft the trophy (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Liverpool would carry on where they left off at the start of the 1986/87 season holding a nine point lead over Everton at the start of 1987 but the Reds had a poor run in, losing five of their last ten games as Howard Kendall’s men were Champions again, nine points ahead of their great rivals. An injury to Mark Lawrenson proved to be decisive as Gary Gillespie would prove injury prone as his replacement. Liverpool did reach the Littlewoods/League Cup Final but they lost 2-1 to Arsenal at Wembley, the first time the Reds had lost a game when Ian Rush scored. Hansen lead his team up to collect their losers medals in an unfamiliar white away kit.

At the start of the 1987/88 season Liverpool would be without deadly marksman Ian Rush after the Welshman joined Juventus for £3.2M. How would Dalglish replace him? With three players it turned out. Peter Beardsley joined from Newcastle for a record £1.9M to replace Kenny and exciting winger John Barnes joined John Aldridge who had signed from Oxford at the end of the previous season. The front three were a revelation as Liverpool swept all before them. In October 1987 they beat QPR 4-0 at Anfield in front of Ian Rush to go top of the table. John Barnes scored a memorable goal after a run from the halfway line and Liverpool never relinquished top spot for the rest of the season. They went on a 29 game unbeaten run from the start of the season and Peter Beardsley’s goal against Tottenham gave the Reds the Championship again in April 1988. With Ray Houghton signed from Oxford, Liverpool reached the FA Cup Final. John Aldridge’s ‘Goal of the Season’ beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 in the semi final and the Reds were hot favourites to beat Wimbledon to claim another Double. However it was not to be. Liverpool lost 1-0 in the Wembley sunshine after Peter Beardsley had a goal disallowed and John Aldridge’s penalty was saved. The first time a penalty had been missed in an FA Cup Final at Wembley.

A few days later over 31,000 fans turned up for Alan Hansen’s Testimonial. Liverpool beat an England X1 3-2 at Anfield with England manager Bobby Robson presenting the league medals to the men in red. The 1987/88 Liverpool team were arguably Liverpool’s greatest ever, their pace, power and skill proved too much for any other team to handle.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 16: Alan Hansen, captain of Liverpool acknowledges the appreciation of the Anfield crowd and his team-mates as he steps out for his testimonial game in advance of the Alan Hansen testimonial match between Liverpool and an England XI held on May 16, 1988 at Anfield, in Liverpool, England. Liverpool won the match 3-2. (Photo by Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Alan suffered a bad knee injury in pre season missing much of the 1988/89 season. Ronnie Whelan became captain in a season overshadowed by the Hillsborough tragedy. Hansen returned in time to face Everton in the FA Cup Final. On an emotional afternoon Liverpool beat 3-2 Everton at a sun-baked Wembley. They were just moments away from their second Double when a last minute Michael Thomas goal snatched the Championship for Arsenal on goal difference, after a 2-0 victory at Anfield.

Glenn Hysen had joined from Fiorentina at the start of the 1989/90 season and was man of the match as Liverpool beat Arsenal 1-0 at Wembley in the Charity Shield, thanks to a Beardsley goal. Hansen was now 34 and despite knee problems he rarely missed a game that season. Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 9-0 at Anfield in September 1989. Aston Villa proved to be a tough rival for the First Division and Kenny Dalglish provided a masterstroke signing Israeli striker Ronnie Rosenthal on loan from Standard Liege for the run in. He fired seven goals including a hat trick against Charlton as Liverpool were Champions for the 18th time. Liverpool had only lost one league game from November until the end of the season.

As Alan Hansen lifted the famous old trophy nobody realised at the time that it was the end of an era and it would take Liverpool another 30 years to be Champions of England again. It would prove to be Hansen’s final season as a Liverpool player as knee problems prevented him for appearing in 1990/91 and he retired a few days after Kenny Dalglish resigned in 1991. Alan Hansen was arguably Liverpool’s greatest ever defender and the most decorated, as he won 21 medals. He went on to be a successful pundit and his analysis would prove as calm and incisive as his defending.

Sport, Football, League Division One, 1st May 1990, Liverpool 1 v Derby County 0, Liverpool captain Alan Hansen holds the League Championship trophy aloft (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Scotland: Five In a Row

1988 Paul McStay scores against Norway in Oslo

September 1988. Andy Roxburgh had been Scotland manager for two years. Solid and unspectacular would describe his team. Drawn in a tough group Scotland had failed to qualify for Euro 1988, finishing behind the Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria and Belgium. The Scots had kept five clean sheets in eight games but had only scored seven goals. Roxburgh had experimented bringing players like Gillespie, Durrant and Gallacher into the team, in a bid to find the right blend. They were some encouraging signs. Scotland went on an eight game unbeaten run from September 1987 to May 1988 which included wins over Hungary, Belgium and Bulgaria and a draw in Spain. However once again the Scots had struggled against minnows drawing with Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia and Malta.

Scotland embarked on their quest to qualify for the 1990 World Cup for a record fifth time in a row in September 1988. They were drawn in Group 5 alongside France who had finished third in 1986 World Cup, Yugoslavia always powerful and skilful, a solid Norway team and Cyprus who would prove to be tricky opponents. Leighton was the established goalkeeper, Gough and McLeish in defence, Captain Roy Aitken and Paul McStay in midfield with Mo Johnston and Ally McCoist the preferred strike force. Norway would be Scotland’s first opponents in Oslo. They started in a 3-5-2 with Gary Gillespie, Willie Miller and Alex McLeish in defence. The Scots made a confident start and took the lead when Paul McStay fired home from the edge of the box. Norway fought back and equalised just before half time. Scotland took the lead again when Mo Johnston fired home after a scramble in the box. Ian Durrant replaced Roy Aitken in the last twenty minutes and despite a few late scares, Scotland held on for a 2-1 victory and a priceless two points. In October Yugoslavia game to Hampden. Andy Goram replaced the injured Leighton in goal and Mo Johnston gave Scotland the lead but Yugoslavia equalised from a corner before half time. In the second half both teams cancelled each other out and a fine double save denied the Scots victory. Andy Roxburgh claimed the 1-1 draw was a vital point and predicted the Yugoslavs would take away points from all the other teams in a tight group. In December Scotland unveiled a new away kit, white with yellow and black stripes but lost 2-0 to World Cup hosts Italy in Perugia.

1989 Richard Gough heads his second goal in Cyprus

On the 8th February 1989 Scotland faced Cyprus in Limassol. It would be a tough test, as France could only draw 1-1 there the previous October. Andy Roxburgh went with a bold selection with Brian McClair, David Speedie and Mo Johnston expected to get the goals and David Narey and Steve Nicol providing a solid defensive base. On an awful pitch Mo Johnston gave Scotland an early lead. It didn’t last long and the Cypriots soon drew level after Leighton flapped at a corner. At the start of the second half a mistake by David Narey allowed Cyprus to take the lead. Richard Gough fired the equaliser and Scotland had over half an hour to find the winner. As the game dragged on they became more and more desperate. Roxburgh threw on Aston Villa striker Alan McInally for Speedie but the Scots could find no way through. Then on 96 minutes Richard Gough rose to head home Roy Aitken’s freekick to give Scotland a vital 3-2 win. The East German referee had to have a police escort after the game and the Scots coach was attacked but Roxburgh’s men had another priceless two points.

1989 Mo Johnston scores his second goal against France at Hampden

On the 8th March 1989 Scotland faced their acid test. France led by Michel Platini arrived in Glasgow. They had lost a friendly 2-0 to Arsenal a few weeks before but with Jean Pierre Papin up front they expected to get a result. There was drama before the game as the Scots coach was caught in traffic and it was only a police escort that got the team to Hampden less than an hour before kick off. In front of 65,000 rain soaked fans Scotland produced one of their best performances for years. Mo Johnston was the inside man, the flame haired striker was enjoying a fine season at Nantes and despite some rough treatment he fired the Scots ahead in the first half. Driven on by Paul McStay he added a second from a Steve Nicol cross. Jim Leighton produced two great saves and Scotland won a famous 2-0 victory. Roxburgh was delighted and hailed the game as one of Hampden’s greatest nights.

1989 Mo Johnston’s overhead kick gives Scotland the lead against Cyprus at Hampden

In April 1989 Scotland faced Cyprus at Hampden knowing that a victory would put them within touching distance of Italia 1990. Pat Nevin came into the team and his cross was spectacularly fired home by Mo Johnston’s overhead kick. Scotland dominated the game but could not add another goal. Midway through the second half they were caught with a sucker punch and the Cypriots drew level. However Scotland took the lead immediately after Ally McCoist fired home Paul McStay’s cross to give the Scots a 2-1 win. In May Scotland could not overcome a powerful defence of Terry Butcher and Des Walker as England beat them 2-0 at Hampden. The Scots didn’t take their chances and the game was notable for Peter Shilton wearing a Scotland shirt after a kit mix up. Scotland ended the season with a 2-0 Rous Cup win over Chile in front of just 9,000 fans at Hampden. Alan McInally scored on his home debut and Murdo MacLeod added a second.

6 Sep 1989: Gordon Durie of Scotland scores during a World Cup qualifying match against Yugoslavia in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia won the match 3-1. \ Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford /Allsport

In September Scotland knew that one more point would see them qualify for the World Cup. They travelled to Zagreb to face Yugoslavia. Gordon Durie headed them ahead in the first half and the Scots lead at halftime. They played well for an hour but then collapsed. The Yugoslavs lead by the outstanding Dragan Stojkovic were rampant and equalised after Leighton failed to reach a cross. Two comical own goals in two minutes by Steve Nicol and Gary Gillespie condemned Scotland to a 3-1 defeat as the hosts qualified for the World Cup. They were now in a straight fight with France for the second place. In October the Scots travelled to Paris to face France. Gordon Strachan enjoying a fine season with Leeds was recalled after a two year absence and Roxburgh packed the midfield with Nicol and MacLeod. The Scots created little and went down to a 3-0 defeat that flattered France. Goals by Deschamps, Cantona and another Steve Nicol own goal meant that Scotland’s qualification hopes would go down to the last game.

1989 Ally McCoist scores against Norway at Hampden

On 15th November 1989 Scotland faced Norway in a do or die clash at Hampden Park. Andy Roxburgh turned back the clock bringing back veteran winger Davie Cooper, having a renaissance at Motherwell, for his first cap in over two years. Willie Miller returned alongside Alex McLeish and Jim Bett provided quality in the midfield. On a tense night Scotland took the game to the Norwegians and created several chances. Just before half time Rangers striker Ally McCoist ran onto a long ball to lob the ball home. Captain Roy Aitken winning his 50th cap tried to slow the game down in the second half as the Scots held onto their lead. Then in the last minute a shot from Erland Johnson from near the halfway line somehow squirmed through Leighton’s fingers to silence the Hampden crowd. The final whistle soon blew and Scotland had drawn 1-1 and qualified for the 1990 World Cup in Italy. The Scots finished one point ahead of France and Andy Roxburgh had lead his country to the World Cup Finals for a record fifth time in a row. Scotland had limped over the line conceding seven goals in their last three games including three own goals. They had finished four points behind Yugoslavia and their final Group 5 record was:

P8 W4 D2 L2 F12 A12 PTS 10

Mo Johnston’s six goals were the main reason Scotland had qualified and Richard Gough’s two goals in Cyprus were decisive. Scotland had a decent squad with some very good players but problems remained in defence and midfield and in goal Jim Leighton had lost his confidence. Andy Roxburgh would have his work cut out trying to guide Scotland into the second round of the 1990 World Cup.

Liverpool: A Captain’s Tale

1977 Emlyn Hughes lifts Liverpool’s first European Cup in Rome

Emlyn Hughes 1973-1979

Emlyn Hughes was signed from Blackpool in 1967 for £65,000. Bill Shankly had tried to sign him for over a year and he slotted in at left back. His all action style earned him the nickname ‘Crazy Horse’ and his versatility meant he became a strong running midfield player in a Liverpool team that was struggling in the late 1960s. A shock FA Cup defeat by Watford in 1970 meant Shankly had to rebuild the team and let go of the old guard. Players like Ron Yeats, Roger Hunt and Ian St John were moved on. In 1970/71 Liverpool reached the FA Cup Final but lost in extra time to an Arsenal team that won the Double. However Shankly had built a team of exciting young players. Kevin Keegan had joined from Scunthorpe, John Toshack a powerful striker had arrived from Cardiff and winger Steve Heighway provided a constant supply of crosses for the strike duo. Liverpool won their first Championship in seven years in 1973 and Shankly’s men also won their first European trophy, after beating Borussia Monchengladbach in the Uefa Cup.

In 1973 Emlyn was made Liverpool captain replacing Tommy Smith. He moved to centre back alongside young local lad Phil Thompson. Hughes scored two memorable goals at Goodison at the start of the 1973/74 season but Leeds United won the First Division Championship after a record breaking 29 game unbeaten run from the start of the season. Liverpool did reach the FA Cup Final. All of the pre game talk had come from Newcastle striker Malcom MacDonald boasting about home many goals he would score against a poor Liverpool defence. In one of the most one sided Finals Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners and MacDonald had a nightmare game missing several chances. Hughes proudly lifted the FA Cup after Kevin Keegan’s two goals gave the Reds the Cup for the second time.

After Bill Shankly’s shock resignation Bob Paisley took over but Liverpool finished 1974/75 empty handed. The following season Liverpool won the Title on the last day of the season after a 3-1 victory at Wolves meant they finished one point ahead of QPR. In the Uefa Cup Liverpool came from 2-0 down to beat Brugge 3-2 in the Final first leg. Kevin Keegan’s freekick earned a 1-1 draw in the 2nd leg and Liverpool won the Uefa Cup 4-3 on agg. In 1976/77 Liverpool retained the Championship after a close race with Manchester City and reached the FA Cup Final after a controversial Replay victory over Everton. Referee Clive Thomas had disallowed a late winner for the Toffees in the first game which finished 2-2 at Maine Road. Liverpool won the replay 3-0 to reach the Final. However their Double dreams were shattered by Manchester United who beat them 2-1 at Wembley, despite Jimmy Case’s memorable goal in a game Liverpool had dominated. Emlyn had a fine season and was named 1977 Football Writer’s Player of the Year.

As Liverpool waited to take the train back to London, goalkeeper Ray Clemence began a silly song and dance on the platform and the other players joined in lightening the mood before the biggest game in Liverpool’s history. On the 25th May Liverpool arrived in Rome to face German Champions Borussia Monchengladbach in the European Cup Final. Thousands of fans had made the epic journey and the stadium was a sea of red. Bob Paisley commented that the last time he was in Rome was in a tank at the end of the Second World War. Any nerves were not evident as Liverpool produced their best performance of the season to win 3-1 thanks to goals from Terry McDermott, Tommy Smith and a late Phil Neal penalty. As Emlyn lifted the huge trophy his smile was as wide as the River Mersey. Liverpool were now the best team in Europe and they wasted no time in adding to their squad in Summer 1977. Kenny Dalglish was signed from Celtic for a British record £440,000 to replace Kevin Keegan who had joined Hamburg for £500,000. Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest won the title in 1977/78 a season after they were promoted to the First Division. They also denied Liverpool from winning the League Cup for the first time after a controversial Replay win. The Reds had the consolation of reaching the European Cup Final at Wembley. They outplayed a defensive Brugge team who had beaten Juventus in the Semi Final. It was a deft chip by Kenny Dalglish that won the game and Emlyn Hughes lifted the European Cup again.

In that Final Hughes played at left back with classy Scottish defender Alan Hansen taking his place alongside Phil Thompson at centre back. Emlyn only made 16 appearances in 1978/79 his last game was an FA Cup Semi Final Replay defeat to Manchester United at Goodison Park. After a total of 655 appearances and 49 goals in August 1979 Hughes joined Wolves for £90,000 and led them to a League Cup win in 1980. Emlyn had a fine international career for England winning 62 caps and captaining his country several times. He went to the 1970 World Cup but did not play and Emlyn Hughes remains the only man to play for England in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He died in 2004 aged just 57 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. He will always be regarded as a Liverpool legend and his energy, passion and enthusiasm always shone through every time he pulled on the red shirt. Liverpool unveiled a statue of Emlyn being lifted by Bob Paisley in January 2020 a fitting tribute to a great captain.

1981 Phil Thompson lifts Liverpool’s third European Cup in Paris

Phil Thompson 1979-1982

Phil Thompson was a local lad made good. He joined his hometown club in 1971 and made his debut the following year. In his first season 1972/73 he featured mainly in midfield as Liverpool became Champions after a seven year gap and won the Uefa Cup for the first time. He then established himself alongside Emlyn Hughes at the centre of defence and won the FA Cup in 1974 after Liverpool thrashed Newcastle 3-0 at Wembley aged just 20. Further success would come in 1976 as Liverpool won the title and Uefa Cup again, with Phil scoring the winner against Barcelona in the Semi Final. Liverpool retained the First Division in 1977 but Thompson missed the European Cup Final in Rome due to a cartilage operation. However Phil made the Final in 1978 and it was his goal line clearance after a mistake by Alan Hansen that ensured Liverpool retained the European Cup after beating Brugge in a dull game at Wembley.

In 1978/79 Liverpool swept all before them. Many people regard that as the greatest ever Liverpool team as they won the Championship with a record breaking 68 points (under two points for a win). Their record was: P42 W30 D8 L4 F85 A16 PTS 68. In April 1979 Thompson captained the Reds for the first time and he took over the armband from Emlyn Hughes at the start of the 1979/80 season. His first trophy was the 1979 Charity Shield as Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 at Wembley. Phil would be an ever present that season and he led Liverpool to the title again in 1980. Alan Hansen and Thompson formed a formidable defensive partnership and Bob Paisley commented:

“I regard Phil as one of the best possible examples of a true professional. His greatest asset as a player is his ability to read the game, he showed that gift even as a teenager. He is not the biggest man physically for his role in defence but his football brain is outstanding.”

Thompson became an England regular earning 42 caps, captaining the team and playing in the 1982 World Cup. In 1980/81 Liverpool had a poor league season finishing 5th behind Champions Aston Villa. They had more success in the Cups, Phil became the first captain to lift the League Cup in 1981 after a 2-1 Replay win over West Ham at Villa Park. In May came the pinnacle of Phil’s career as his lifted Liverpool’s third European Cup after victory over Real Madrid in Paris. Mark Lawrenson a record £900,000 signing from Brighton eventually became Hansen’s regular partner at centre back and after a poor run Bob Paisley replaced Phil with Graeme Souness as Liverpool captain in early 1982. Thompson would win further Championship medals in 1982 and 1983 to become one of the most decorated players in English football history. Phil left for Sheffield United in 1984 initially on loan then permanently after making a total of 477 appearances and scoring 13 goals. He would later return to Anfield as reserve coach and assistant manager under Gerard Houllier. Thompson would step in after Houllier underwent heart surgery in October 2001 and when Houllier returned in March 2002 he led them to second place in the Premier League, the club’s highest ever finish.

ROME, ITALY – MAY 30: Liverpool captain Graeme Souness lifts the trophy after Liverpool had beaten AS Roma to win the 1984 European Cup Final on penalties at the Olympic Stadium on May 30, 1984 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images)

Graeme Souness 1982-84

Edinburgh born Graeme Souness made his name at Middlesbrough helping Jack Charlton’s team gain promotion to the First Division. He caught the eye of Bob Paisley and in January 1978 he became a Liverpool player after his record £352,000 transfer. Souness made a flying start scoring the ‘Goal of the Season’ on his debut in a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield. In May 1978 it was Souness who set up fellow Scot Kenny Dalglish who scored the only goal in the European Cup victory over Brugge at Wembley. It was the following season 1978/79 that Graeme established himself at the heart of midfield alongside Jimmy Case, Terry McDermott and Ray Kennedy. Souness would be a driving force for Liverpool often taking the initiative, his strength and passing ability a key feature of a dominant Liverpool team. He collected his first Championship medal in 1979 and another in 1980. In 1981 Souness fired a hat trick in the European Cup Quarter Final against CSK Sofia at Anfield. Liverpool won a famous Semi Final against Bayern Munich on away goals and Graeme won his second European Cup medal after a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in Paris.

In 1981/82 Liverpool were a team in transition. They had finished fifth the previous season and Bob Paisley was trying in incorporate new young players like Bruce Grobbelaar who had replaced Ray Clemence in goal. Mark Lawrenson and Ronnie Whelan also came into the team but Liverpool were in twelfth place at Christmas 1981. Changes were needed and Souness was made captain in early 1982. Bob Paisley had produced another masterstroke and Liverpool charged back to win the Championship on the final day of the season. The image of Souness throwing the trophy to Ronnie Whelan before a lap of honour at Anfield became iconic. In Summer 1982 Bob Paisley announced that 1982/83 would be his last season as Liverpool manager. Souness desperately wanted to win the FA Cup the only trophy Paisley had not won as Reds boss but they lost to Brighton at Anfield after ex Liverpool player Jimmy Case fired the winner. They reached the Final under former player Jimmy Melia but lost in a Replay to Manchester United. In the First Division Liverpool cantered to the title eleven points ahead of newly promoted Watford. On Paisley’s last visit to Wembley he became the first manager to lift the League/Milk Cup after Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-1 at Wembley in March 1983. It was the Reds third League Cup win in a row.

Liverpool continued their policy of promoting from within and Joe Fagan moved from the boot room to replace Paisley at the start of the 1983/84 season. Liverpool were still the dominant team in England and Fagan led them to their third Championship in a row. In the League/Milk Cup Final it was a fine drive from Souness that was enough to beat Everton in a Replay at Maine Road. It was a record breaking fourth League Cup victory in a row for Liverpool.

In the European Cup Liverpool fought their way past Romanian Champions Dinamo Bucharest in the Semi Final. Quite literally as Souness broke the jaw of Molvia unseen by the referee at Anfield. He was a marked man in the return in Romania but the rough treatment did not seem to bother him as he lead Liverpool to a 2-1 victory and a place in another European Cup Final. Liverpool faced hosts Roma in Rome but an end of season trip to Israel with plenty of ‘refreshments’ relaxed the players. Souness led the team out into the lions den but he relished such occasions. In arguably his best game in a Liverpool shirt he dominated midfield and controlled the pace of the game. In a tense game Souness led by example scoring in a penalty shoot out following a 1-1 draw. Alan Kennedy was the hero as Liverpool won the European Cup for the fourth time in four Finals. It would be Graeme Souness’s last game in a red shirt. He joined Sampdoria in the Summer and enjoyed two years in Serie A.

Souness captained Scotland in both the 1982 and 1986 World Cups winning 54 caps and scoring 4 goals. He made a total of 359 appearances and scored 55 goals for Liverpool. He returned to Scotland in 1986 leading Rangers to three League Championships as player/manager. In 1991 Graeme Souness made an ill fated return to Anfield leading Liverpool to the FA Cup in 1992 before resigning in 1994. It is for his achievements as a player that he should be remembered for. His will to win and determination made him arguably Liverpool’s greatest ever captain. His critics would point out that he was dirty but Souness claimed he was hard but fair and was only sent off once for the Reds, though he played in an era where referees were far more lenient. Graeme Souness would make any Liverpool Greatest Team and was a born winner.

Joe Jordan: The man for the big occasion

1974 Joe Jordan celebrates scoring against England at Hampden Park

Joe Jordan was a throwback. An all action centre forward known for his power in the air and his hold up play. However he was a lot more than that. From 1973 to 1982 Jordan led the line for Scotland and is still the only Scot to score in three World Cups, a record that will never be beaten.

Joe Jordan began his career at Morton in 1968, where he played part time before joining Leeds United in 1970. There was little prospect of him making the first team, as the partnership of Allan Clarke and Mick Jones was well established. In 1973 Jordan made 16 appearances and scored 9 goals but he was left out of the team as Leeds lost the FA Cup Final to Sunderland. He started the 1973 European Cup Winners Cup Final where Leeds lost 1-0 at AC Milan in a game marred by match fixing allegations against the Greek referee Christos Michas who was later banned for life by UEFA.

However his form had caught the eye of Scotland manager Willie Ormond and he made his debut in a narrow 1-0 defeat to England at Wembley in May, in a game remembered for Peter Shilton’s save from Kenny Dalglish. Jordan played further games against Switzerland and a 1-0 defeat by Brazil at Hampden but he was on the bench for the vital World Cup Qualifier against Czechoslovakia at Hampden on the 26th September 1973. A win would send Scotland to the 1974 World Cup. A huge crowd of 95,000 packed into the old stadium and the Scots made a nervous start. On 33 minutes the Czechs took the lead as Ally Hunter allowed a shot from Nehoda to slip through his fingers. However Scotland soon drew level after a towering header by Jim Holton from a corner just before half time. Willie Ormond threw on Jordan as his last roll of the dice in the 64th minute to replace Kenny Dalglish. The Czechs defended stubbornly but on 74 minutes came the decisive moment. Captain Billy Bremner hit the post but Willie Morgan centered and Joe Jordan threw himself at his cross to head Scotland into the lead. Denis Law missed a late chance to increase the lead but Scotland held on for a famous 2-1 victory which sealed their place at the 1974 World Cup.

1973 Joe Jordan heads home the winner against the Czechs at Hampden Park

At club level Jordan had won a championship medal with Leeds in 1973/74 and was now a regular in the Scotland side. In May 1974 he scored in a 2-0 victory over England at Hampden after his shot was deflected into the net. Jordan also netted in a 2-1 victory against Norway in Oslo in the Scots last warm up game before the World Cup Finals. Scotland faced the unknown African Champions Zaire in their opening game in Dortmund. Peter Lorimer fired Scotland ahead and Jordan headed a second goal before half time. Scotland hit the bar in the second half and despite some scares held on for a 2-0 victory. There was a feeling after the game that the Scots should have scored more goals but Willie Ormond was pleased with a win and a clean sheet.

1974 World Cup Joe Jordan heads Scotland’s second goal against Zaire

Scotland then faced holders Brazil in their next game but the South Americans were a shadow of the brilliant 1970 team and were violent and cynical. Scotland made a nervous start and David Harvey made some fine saves to deny the Brazilians in the first half. In the second half driven on by the outstanding Billy Bremner Scotland went close several times through David Hay and Peter Lorimer before came the moment still talked about today. Jordan headed down a late corner, Leao fumbled and Bremner following in prodded agonisingly just past the post. In truth the ball hit him but the image of him holding his head became one of the most famous in Scotland’s World Cup history. The 0-0 draw with Brazil meant Scotland had to beat a skilful Yugoslavia team in their final game to go through to the second round. In a tight game Jordan went close early on but on 81 minutes the Yugoslavs took the lead against the run of play. In the final minutes substitute Tommy Hutchison went down the wing and Jordan fired home the equaliser. It remains a mystery why Ormond did not send on Jimmy Johnstone in the second half as he had destroyed Red Star Belgrade in the European Cup for Celtic. At the final whistle Scotland knew that a 1-1 draw would not be enough if Brazil beat Zaire 3-0 or more and a late fumble by the Zaire goalkeeper had gifted Brazil the result they needed. Scotland became the first team ever to be eliminated from the World Cup Finals without losing a game. They had enhanced their reputation on the world stage and Jordan’s two goals meant he was one of the stars of the first round.

Leeds United reached the 1975 European Cup Final but Jordan was unable to prevent a 2-0 defeat against Bayern Munich in a controversial game in Paris. Joe had formed a formidable pairing with Kenny Dalglish for Scotland over the next few years. Jordan scored in a 1-1 draw in Spain in 1975 and Jordan’s strong run and cross set up Kenny Dalglish to score the winner through Ray Clemence’s legs to give Scotland a 2-1 win over England at Hampden and the 1976 British Championship. Scotland retained the British Championship in 1977 as new manager Ally McLeod led his team to a famous 2-1 win at Wembley. After a successful tour of South America in the summer Scotland faced the Czechs again in a vital World Cup Qualifier at Hampden Park. They were the reigning European Champions but Scotland overpowered them with Jordan scoring in a fine 3-1 win in front of 85,000 fans at Hampden. In October faced Wales at Anfield which was packed full of Scots despite it being an away game. In a tight game both teams had their chances but late in the second half Jordan was involved in one of the most infamous moments of his career. He jumped with Welsh defender David Jones as the referee awarded Scotland a penalty for handball. Replays showed that the ball appeared to strike Jordan’s hand but Don Masson converted the spot kick. Kenny Dalglish headed another late on and Scotland had a famous 2-0 victory and a place in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Jordan still denies that he handled the ball to this day and pointed out that Scotland were the better team and deserved to win.

In the build up to the 1978 World Cup Jordan faced competition for his place from Aston Villa’s Andy Gray and Rangers striker Derek Johnstone. The Rangers man scored against Northern Ireland and Wales in the 1978 British Championship but Scotland drew both games 1-1. Jordan returned to face England at Hampden but despite an excellent performance Scotland lost 1-0 after Alan Rough dropped the ball and Steve Coppell scored the winner. Scotland faced South American Champions Peru in their opening game in the 1978 World Cup. They started brightly and Joe Jordan fired Scotland ahead after Rioch’s shot was saved. However Peru came back into the game and equalised before half time. The game turned early in the second half. Scotland were awarded a penalty after Rioch was fouled in the box but Don Masson’s penalty was saved by Ramon Quiroga. Then Peru took charge and Cubillas scored from long range as Rough stood and watched before he was also beaten by the same man from a late freekick. Peru won the game 3-1 in a shock result but they were an excellent team, and Scotland played well for the first hour before fading.

1978 World Cup Joe Jordan scores against Peru

Things would go from bad to worse for Scotland. Willie Johnston failed a drug test after taking a hay fever medicine and was sent home in disgrace. Scotland then faced rank outsiders Iran in their next game with a chance to get back on track. John Robertson came into the team but he had a poor game as Jordan was starved of service. Iran scored an own goal after Jordan had jumped with their goalkeeper but equalised after Alan Rough was beaten on his near post in the second half. Needing a goal Ally McLeod sent on Joe Harper and not Derek Johnstone, a strange decision and Scotland slumped to a 1-1 draw. The World Cup was a nightmare and the press and the Tartan Army turned on the players. Scotland faced Holland in their last game needing to win by three clear goals to qualify for the next round. Kenny Dalglish fired home after Jordan’s knock back and Archie Gemmill fired Scotland ahead from the spot before scoring a brilliant individual goal to give the Scots hope but Holland fired back. Scotland salvaged much pride with a 3-2 win over the Dutch who went all the way to the Final before losing to hosts Argentina.

Jock Stein took over in October 1978 and his task was to restore confidence and try to guide Scotland to Euro 1980. In a tough group with Austria, Portugal and Belgium Scotland failed to qualify. Jordan scored in a 4-0 win over Norway in Oslo but the goals had dried up for him in dark blue. In January 1978 Jordan joined Manchester United for a record £350,000. He reached the 1979 FA Cup Final but Arsenal won 3-2 in a thrilling last five minutes when Man. Utd came back from 2-0 down only to lose in the last minute.

Jordan still had an important part to play in qualifying for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. He headed home in a 2-0 win over Sweden at Hampden as Scotland qualified for the World Cup ahead of Northern Ireland.

1981 Joe Jordan celebrates scoring against Sweden at Hampden Park

In 1981 Jordan joined AC Milan and would later join Verona before returning to England and playing for Southampton in 1984. Scotland faced New Zealand, Brazil and the Soviet Union in the 1982 World Cup. Jordan was not involved in the 5-2 win over New Zealand or the 4-1 defeat to Brazil. Stein brought him back for the vital game against the USSR. Jordan scored his last goal for Scotland to give them the lead but a terrible mix up by Alan Hansen and Willie Miller meant Scotland drew 2-2 and went out of the World Cup on goal difference again.

1982 World Cup Joe Jordan scores against the Soviet Union.

Joe Jordan scored 11 goals in 52 games for Scotland, but he brought far more to the team than just goals. He was a focal point for the attack, was great in the air, held the ball up well and scored vital goals in qualifiers for three World Cups. Joe Jordan remains the only Scot to score for Scotland in three World Cup a record that will never be beaten. He was inducted into the Scotland Hall of Fame in 2005.