Top 10 Scottish Club Nights in Europe
Scotland's clubs have had many glory nights in European football history. To mark Rangers reaching the quarter final of the UEFA Cup in 2008 we've put together a Top 10 of the best of them. The dates perhaps reflect the waning influence, not just of Scottish clubs in Europe, but of all small nations. The behemoth that is the Champions League has seen to that. All the notable, recent achievements by Scottish sides have been completed by the Big 2 in Glasgow. Indeed, Celtic's 2003 UEFA Cup campaign, knocking Barcelona and Liverpool out en route, came very close to inclusion.
No.1 1967 - Celtic 2:1 Inter Milan - Estadio Nacional (Lisbon, Portugal)
To reach the Lisbon final Celtic, under the inspired leadership of Jock Stein, had beaten the Champions of Switzerland, France, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. All sound victories but nothing like the challenge their final opponents posed. Inter Milan were the masters of catenaccio defence and grimly determined to win their third European Cup in four years. The Italians were missing their Spanish playmaker Suarez which would render them even more negative. The game looked up as early as the seventh minute when Mazzola scored from the spot. But Celtic simply poured forward, playing with width and invention. Shortly after the hour mark Tommy Gemmell levelled the match and five minutes from time Steve Chalmers scored the most famous goal in the clubs illustrious history.
Attack had defeated defence and the Latin hold on the European Cup had finally been broken at the twelfth attempt. At the final whistle many of the thousands of Celtic supporters who had begged and borrowed their way to Portugal swarmed onto the field in celebration. It was a victory for the ethos of the team. As the Guardian's correspondent described it they won "by sheer determination when all seemed stacked against them, when frustration and defeat stared them straight in the eye". In the midst of the post match delirium another great west coast football man hugged Stein and exclaimed "John, you're immortal". Bill Shankly, not for the first or last time, eloquently and efficiently summed things up.
Match Highlights Celtic vs Inter
No.2 1983 - Aberdeen 2:1 Real Madrid - Nya Ullevi Stadium (Gothenburg, Sweden)
16 years before he exclaimed "Football. Bloody Hell!" after his Manchester United side won the European Cup; Alex Ferguson masterminded an even more amazing European story with Aberdeen. The Dons were in the middle of the greatest era in the clubs long history, dominating the domestic game and in 1983, the European stage. The Cup Winner Cup was the trophy taken back to north east Scotland. They defeated Sion, Dinamo Tirana and Lech Poznan to set up a clash with Bayern Munich. A famous 3-2 victory at Pittodrie set up a semi final stroll against Waterschei of Belgium.
The final, against Spanish giants Real Madrid was to be played in Gothenburg. With torrential downpours and a passionate support of 14,000 (far outnumbering Spanish fans) to aid them, the Dons got off to a dream start with a goal from Eric Black after 7 minutes. Within another 7, Real were level. Juanito converting the penalty after Leighton had brought Santillana down. But Aberdeen refused to yield and continued to take the game to Real. Extra time was required and with penalties just eight minutes away, John Hewitt superbly headed in McGhee's cross to secure a wonderful victory. Ferguson had his first European trophy and there was a classic early piece of his psychological trickery. Before the match Fergie enthusiastically presented Real's coach, the great Alfredo di Stefano, with a bottle of malt whiskey. It was done at the suggestion of another Scottish master of the dark arts, Jock Stein. The point? To present Aberdeen as simply being delighted to be there, to encourage Spanish arrogance. It worked.
Match Highlights Aberdeen vs Real Madrid
No.3 1972 - Rangers 2:0 Bayern Munich - Ibrox (Glasgow, Scotland)
West German football was starting to dominate the European game. The national side would go on to win that year's European Championship in great style and within two years, Bayern would lift the first of a hat trick of European Cups. En route to the last four Rennes, Sporting Lisbon and Torino were conquered. The latter was a first ever triumph over Italian opposition. This was the Bayern of Beckenbauer, Maier, Hoeness, Breitner and the goal machine that was Gerd Muller.
In Bavaria Rangers produced a tactically adept game, orchestrated by boss Willie Waddell, and came away with a 1-1 draw. In front of a near hysterical crowd of 80,000 at Ibrox, the team that would soon be the greatest in world football were swept away by Rangers thanks to goals from Sandy Jardine (after 45 seconds) and youngster Derek Parlane. Parlane was only in as a replacement for the inspirational captain John Greig, making the victory even more notable. This was sweet revenge for the defeat against Bayern in the 1967 Cup Winners Cup final and winning the cup brought some much needed respite from the dominance of those deadly foes from across town.
Match Highlights Rangers vs Bayern Munich
No.4 1987 - Barcelona 1:2 Dundee Utd - Camp Nou (Barcelona, Spain)
After disposing of Lens, University Craiova and Hadjuk Split, the Arabs lined up against a team they had completed a double over in the 1966 Fairs Cup. Barca were managed by Englishman Terry Venables who had brought in two English stars, Gary Linker and Mark Hughes the previous summer. Barca were also blessed with an array of Spanish internationals and had reached the previous years European Cup final. However United had excellent European credentials themselves, having lost the 1984 European Cup semi final in Rome only with the help of a bent referee.
The first leg was played at Tannadice and ended in a narrow 1-0 win thanks to a lobbed effort from Kevin Gallacher. It wasn't expected to be enough in Catalonia and this was emphasised when Ramon Caldere levelled the tie five minutes before half time. But inspired by quality players such as David Narey, Maurice Malpas and particularly United legend, Paul Sturrock, they equalised on the night in the 85th minute with a header from John Clark. Sturrock, who had tortured the Barcelona defence all night, then set up Iain Ferguson to head home a winner on the night and maintain the Tangerines 100% record against the Spanish giants. The Barcelona crowd produced the traditional surrender sign of the white handkerchiefs to the team, but this was a thoroughly deserved victory for United. Probably the greatest night in the clubs history.
The Tayside team, enjoying the greatest period in the clubs history went onto the final only to lose to Gothenburg, 2-1 on aggregate.
Match Highlights Barcelona vs Dundee Utd
No.5 1962 - Dundee 8:1 Cologne - Dens Park (Dundee, Scotland)
In the opening leg Dundee, led by the great Alan Gilzean, gave the Germans the mother of all whippings, 8-1. In the Rhineland it was a different story. The German keeper had been injured in the 1st leg and Dundee keeper Bert Slater was kicked in the head in the 2nd. He was stretchered off but on recovering his senses he returned to the pitch and played on the wing. With Cologne pegging goals back Slater decided to go back between the sticks and helped the Tayside club hold the score to 4-0, meaning a barely credible 8-5 aggregate victory. Dundee left the field with the police holding the crowd back with dogs. In disgust they refused to attend the post-match banquet.
The victory wasn't a fluke. Shankly's men went on to beat Sporting Lisbon and Anderlect before an awesome AC Milan side finally ended hopes of an unlikely first ever British winner of the European Cup, with a final at Wembley only a tie away.
No.6 1970 - Celtic 2:1 Leeds Utd - Hampden Park (Glasgow, Scotland)
At Elland Road a George Connelly goal gave Celtic a huge advantage. The second leg was played at Hampden Park in front of astonishing crowd of 136,505 - a European Cup record. Billy Bremner levelled matters with a 30 yarder before John Hughes and Bobby Murdoch restored Celtic's dominance in the 2nd half. The late Jimmy Johnstone took the man of the match plaudits in what was possibly his greatest night. He simply tormented the Leeds defence. Celtic fell at the final hurdle to Feyenoord, but they still dine out on the famous semi-final. For the Yorkshire club defeat came amid a terrifying backlog of fixtures. On the night of the 1st leg Everton took their League title and they were subsequently to lose the cup final to Chelsea after another brace of epic matches.
No.7 1961 - Hibernian 3:2 Barcelona - Easter Road (Edinburgh, Scotland)
The opening match at Easter Road was postponed due to fog, meaning the first leg took place in Catalonia. An astonishing game ensued. Hibernian, inspired by England international Joe Baker, led 2-0 and 4-2 before Barca managed to fight back and level at four each.
The 2nd leg did not take place until the 22nd February. 50,000 were packed into the Leith ground and they were to witness one of the greatest nights in the clubs history. Barca, with world class players such as Luis Suarez and the great Hungarian, Kocsis, led 2-1 at half-time, despite falling behind to another Baker strike, his third of the tie.
In the 2nd half the Hibees piled on the pressure and Preston levelled to make it 2-2. But the fun still wasn't over. On 84 minutes McLeod was chopped down and the German referee blew for a penalty. Truly chaotic scenes followed. The ref was manhandled by a posse of enraged Spaniards and Suarez actually managed to floor the official with a kick. After a ten minute delay the kick was duly despatched by Kinloch. However, the violence wasn't over. Herr Plalka tried to leave the field but disappeared under a mass of angry players. A number of Hibs supporters tried to intervene as did the police. Eventually, order was restored and the ref didn't abandon the match. Hibs had won an incredible tie 7-6 on aggregate and went on to lose to Roma in a semi final play-off.
No.8 1962 - Dunfermline 6:2 Valencia - East End Park (Dunfermline, Scotland)
In those days play-offs were required to settle ties with no outright winner. The game was played in early February 1963. While the country shivered in a terrible winter, the Pars went off to sunny Lisbon, where the dream died. One goal was enough to knock them out after a glorious effort.
This clip is of Harry Melrose's winner against Everton (YouTube).
No.9 1995 - Bayern Munich 2:1 Raith Rovers - Olympic Stadium (Munich, Germany)
Match highlights of Raith's famous victory over Celtic at Ibrox (YouTube).
No.10 1992 - Leeds United 1:2 Rangers - Elland Road (Leeds, England)
Before the start of the second leg at Elland Road Leeds were still favourites to advance but a stunning half volley from Mark Hateley changed the dynamics completely. A magnificent sweeping counter attack saw Hateley turn provider with McCoist depositing a sublime header into Lukic's net and the tie was over. A late Cantona consolation was irrelevant. Rangers went incredibly close to reaching the final, missing out narrowly to Marseille, who were subsequently disgraced by a French match fixing scandal.
Match highlights Leeds Utd v Rangers (YouTube).
Other matches that nearly made our list...
1967-68 Fairs Cup Hibernian %:0 Napoli One of the most famous matches ever played at Easter Road saw Hibs overturn a 4-1 deficit from the first leg by scoring five goals past Italy legend Dino Zoff in the 2nd round of the Fairs Cup.