Four Great Gubbings

Our series “Just Look at the Way” tells the stories behind key Scottish moments in European competition, whether important, trivial, aesthetically pleasing or simply funny. The name comes from a favourite phrase of the commentator Jock Brown during his analysis of action replays.

1. DUNFERMLINE 6-2 Valencia, 1962/63 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup second round, second leg

Jock Stein’s instructions were clear ahead of the Spaniards’ visit to East End Park in December 1962. “Get them down in the frost as quickly as possible,” then-Dunfermline player Bert Paton told Hugh McIlvanney in The Football Men. “Let them taste it.”

Basic the tactic may have been, but the Dunfermline manager’s genius lay in his ability to communicate simply and clearly to his team the location of an opponent’s Achilles’ heel.

Before Celtic beat Leeds United 2-1 at Hampden in the second leg of the 1970 European Cup semi-final, Stein – by now Celtic manager – had typically straightforward instructions for midfielder Bobby Murdoch.

“The boss told us: ‘There’s one man that’s gonnae win the game for you,’” Murdoch said. “He just stuck the number seven up on the board and he says: ‘Jimmy Johnstone… Wee man, just leave him alone with [Leeds left-back] Terry Cooper and we’ll get something out of that game.”

Similarly, Stein’s assurance that Valencia wouldn’t fancy Fife gave his callow players the belief that there could only be one outcome – even after they had been thumped 4-0 in the first leg in Spain.

“They all came oot wi the gloves on,” Harry Melrose, among the scorers on the night, told McIlvanney. “Psychologically they were beat before they started.”

Amid a cacophony created by almost 15,000 fans – “I could not hear myself in my headphones,” commentator Bob Crampsey said – Dunfermline’s players carried out Stein’s plan with gusto, making sure their sun-kissed opponents had a regular mouthful of Fife mud. Allying considerable skill to their brawn, the Pars dismantled Valencia.

“No British side had previously beaten Valencia,” John Rafferty wrote in The Scotsman, “and those they have played are Rangers, Celtic, Wolves, Manchester United, Blackpool and Birmingham. This great night for Dunfermline had merit in it.”

With no away-goals rule the 6-6 aggregate score meant a play-off in Lisbon, which Dunfermline lost 1-0. Valencia beat Hibs in the next round on their way to winning the tournament but the 6-2 win at East End Park was Stein’s first warning to Europe that something was stirring in the north.

2. HIBERNIAN 6-1 Sporting Lisbon, 1972/73 Cup Winners’ Cup first round, second leg

Ironically enough, Hibernian qualified for that season’s Cup Winners’ Cup after losing the 1972 Scottish Cup final 6-1 to Celtic. There should have been two Scottish sides in the competition but Cup Winners’ Cup holders Rangers were banned after – you’ll never believe it – their fans rioted during the final against Dynamo Moscow in Barcelona.

Despite that heavy defeat to Celtic, Eddie Turnbull’s Hibs side had built up a fearsome reputation for attacking football. “Turnbull’s Tornadoes,” as they were known, would avenge their cup-final drubbing by beating Celtic 2-1 in December’s League Cup final.

Pat Stanton and Jimmy O’Rourke – two of Hibs’ finest-ever players – were on the scoresheet at Hampden that day, and it was the latter who ran riot when Sporting came to town in late September.

Hibs had left Lisbon with a useful away goal after a 2-1 defeat and, when Alan Gordon opened the scoring on 28 minutes, they were through. But Héctor Yazalde equalised to make it 1-1 at half-time and Sporting would have been forgiven for thinking they’d done enough to make the next round.

But they still had to contend with the fervour of 26,041 Hibs fans and with the infamous Easter Road slope, down which Hibs would be kicking in the second half. “They won’t know what hits them when we get them down that hill at Easter Road,” centre-half John Brownlie said after the first leg in Lisbon.

It was no idle warning. O’Rourke smashed in a hat-trick, with Gordon adding another. An own goal from Manaca completed a rout inspired by the second-half wing play of Arthur Duncan and Alex Edwards amid what The Scotsman called “a tremendous din”.

The result was an early nail in the coffin of Sporting’s English manager Ronnie Allen – he was sacked later that season – and one that signalled Hibs’ credentials as tournament dark horses. 

They eventually bowed out at the quarter-final stage, losing 3-0 away to Hajduk Split after a 4-2 win in Edinburgh had put them on the brink of the last four. The loss meant that they missed out on a tie against Don Revie’s Leeds in the semi-finals, when Hibs surely would have fancied their chances of sending another English manager home tae think again.

3. Monaco 2-5 DUNDEE UTD, 1981/82 UEFA Cup first round, first leg

The story of Dundee United’s mauling of Monaco in the millionaires’ playground is appropriately sprinkled with stardust.

The second leg saw Hollywood legend Grace Kelly – by then Princess Grace of Monaco – eh, grace Tannadice Park. In doing so she became the second-most-famous Kelly, after Lorraine, to pass its hallowed threshold.

But in the principality it was United who were the main attraction. In 1982 Monaco had nothing like the pedigree in European football that they would accrue, having never made it beyond the second round of any major UEFA competition. 

But, for a United team with little European experience, this was a scalp indeed. The Glasgow Herald called it “their finest hour in Europe”, singling out the “outstanding” Eamonn Bannon as the catalyst for the win.

Bannon scored twice, with a brace from Davie Dodds and a Billy Kirkwood header completing the scoring. A blunder by United keeper Hamish McAlpine allowed Monaco to score a second late on, but the garrulous glove-man reckons his blunder ensured the presence at the second leg of Princess Grace and her husband, Prince Rainier III.

“The boys were slagging me off but I said: ‘Look, we had to let them score or they wouldn’t turn up for the second game,’” McAlpine told the Dundee Courier.

United had Ralph Milne to thank for sparing their blushes as Kelly looked on. The substitute’s late strike ended Monaco’s hopes of a comeback after they had gone 2-0 up. Had Monaco managed to turn around the first-leg deficit, United manager Jim McLean would no doubt have used his trademark phone to dial M for murder.

4. DUNDEE UTD 5-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach, 1981/82 UEFA Cup second round, second leg

If United’s result against Monaco could be dismissed due to their opponents’ status as relative minnows in Europe, no one could deny their quality after they rattled another five past bona-fide Billy Big Basses Borussia Mönchengladbach.

The German side, who had won the UEFA Cup three seasons before and lost the final a season later, ran out predictable 2-0 winners in the first leg at the Bökelsbergstadion.

Perceived slights, real or imagined, from Gladbach manager Jupp Heynckes in regard to United’s ability to turn around the tie had the United players and 16,000 fans riled.

With Lothar Matthäus, Frank Mill and Wolfram Wuttke in their ranks, the Germans could afford to be confident. But, sensationally, they were overrun.

“They just could not handle us pressurising them like we did,” United attacker Paul Sturrock said. “By the end of the game half of them were wanting the whistle to blow as quickly as possible.”

Sturrock himself played like a man possessed, scoring the third and having a hand in the other four. Eamonn Bannon’s solo effort crowned a magnificent performance that set the tone for United’s European exploits of the ‘80s.

“I think that was really the turning point in as far as us establishing ourselves in Europe as a team that other clubs had to look out for,” McLean said, “because that was one of the most exciting nights here at Tannadice.”

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