Saturday, June 11, 2011

25 Years Ago: Mexico '86


When men were men. When shorts were short. And when a grocer's daughter from Grantham was lord and master of all she surveyed.

Younger readers might also need some reminding that back then Scotland played in World Cup finals. All the ruddy time.

A simple but surprisingly effective formula of having decent players in a smaller footballing world won us a regular seat at football's grand jamboree.

Once there we would mix incompetence with bravery before falling agonisingly short. But we damned well got there.

25 years ago we were in Mexico under the guidance of Aberdeen manager Alex Ferguson OBE. We were but 48 hours away from a clash with Uruguay that would decide our fate.

A predictably cruel fate.

More on the 1986 World Cup campaign here.

And below some snippets from a pre-tournament magazine.

Seriously, take a look at some of those shorts. Minimal.


  1. Sort of unfortunate you guys had to face Uruguay after their 6-1 drubbing against Denmark.  Uruguay really closed up shop after that.

    I still remember what Ferguson said after the match with Uruguay though: “It’s notjust a part of football, it's the whole bloody attitude of the nation. You can see that attitude there.They have no respect for other people's dignity. It's a disgrace what they did. Their behaviourturns the game into a complete farce.”Shame those words were said given that Uruguay were once champions and dazzlers in football, albeit many years ago (1920s and 30s).  But their history of being the first champions of football only increased their antagonism. In 86', they played their matches holding the prize of winning above all other costs as not qualifying for the '78 and '82 World Cups had been unpalatable for the public, and that cynical play culminated in the dire 0-0 draw against Scotland.

  2. Thanks for the comment Guarav. Nice to have a bit of context. It was a game that caused a lot of ill feeling in Scotland. On the other hand in our own World Cup history we never quite got the hang of going out and getting the result we needed.
    Let's hope Scotland and Uruguay can have a rematch at a World Cup soon.