Retroscarf - September Triple Header
The euphoria of being at the Euros, our first major tournament for the Men’s National Team in 23 years, is over.
Now, it’s time to make sure that there isn’t so big a wait for the next one as Scotland prepare for the crucial September triple-header in our bid to reach the World Cup in Qatar.
First up is, unquestionably, our toughest opponents in Denmark. Fresh from a fine Euros performance that took them into the Semi Final, the Danes have started this campaign in ruthless fashion, scoring 14 goals without reply in their three victories out of three, justifying their top seed status. It’s fair to say that Scotland have their work cut out if they’re going to come away from Copenhagen with at least a draw.
Next on the list is a home match with Moldova, which is more eagerly awaited as this will be the first time Hampden has the opportunity for a full crowd since the pandemic. As sixth seeds, the Moldovans are living up to their billing with just a solitary point at the bottom of the group, but that should not be taken for granted as we’ve had issues with them in the past.
Last of all, but by no means least, is a trip to Austria to recall memories of how Doe a Deer became a regular chant for the Tartan Army. Having drawn with the Austrians at Hampden, getting a positive result in Vienna is even more crucial if we are to finish in, at worst, the playoff position.
Here’s a look back on some of our memorable moments against each side that Steve Clarke can draw some inspiration from ahead of a period that could determine our World Cup destiny.
18/10/1972: Denmark 1-4 Scotland
The opening game of the 1974 World Cup Qualifying campaign saw Tommy Docherty’s Scotland side breeze past a Denmark side who were still developing in International Football.
Lou Macari headed home from a Peter Lorimer cross to open the scoring, which was then followed up by Jimmy Bone netting a second from close range after the Danish goalkeeper fumbled a George Graham volley. Finn Laudrup’s excellent free kick brought the Danes back into it before half time but Scotland restored the two goal advantage when Macari set up Joe Harper to lash home from close range.
The scoring was completed when Lorimer picked up a rebound from Harper’s shot off the post, then chipped the ball to the back post for Willie Morgan to head in the fourth. It was the start of a positive campaign that led to the Finals in West Germany.
4/6/2005: Scotland 2-0 Moldova
Having failed to win in Moldova in a game that cost Berti Vogts his job, the pressure was on the Scots to get the victory they needed to keep their slim hopes of World Cup 2006 alive.
After a goalless first half, the Scots got off to the perfect start after half time when Lee McCulloch’s cross was not well dealt with by the Moldovan goalkeeper, and Christian Dailly pounced to give Scotland the lead.
With just two minutes to go, the game was put to bed when James McFadden picked up a loose ball inside the penalty area and fired low into the net to give Walter Smith his first win as Scotland manager.
Although we didn’t reach Germany, this result was the start of an exciting period for the Men’s National Team that very nearly saw us topple the World Cup finalists in our bid for Euro 2008.
20/4/1994: Austria 1-2 Scotland
This may only have been a friendly international, but it was a crucial step into the Craig Brown era in the build up to the Euro ’96 qualifiers.
Austria took an early lead through a wonder strike by Hútter, but Scotland rallied and found an equaliser when Gary McAllister set up John McGinlay to finish from close range.
On the hour mark, the Scots took the lead through a wonder strike of their own as Billy McKinlay curled home from just outside the penalty area, which proved to be the winning strike. It was the start of a journey that would end with qualification to Euro ’96.