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  • Writer's pictureScott Johnston

Super Ally v Switzerland

Back in March, John McGinn scored a wonderful goal to help secure Scotland a point against Austria in our World Cup qualifier.

McGinn’s superbly taken strike had me reminiscing about an Ally McCoist overhead kick that he scored against Hibs to win the Skol Cup in 1993. The striker had just came back from breaking his leg to grab that emotional winner.

That got me thinking about my favourite Scotland goal and my mind was again drawn to Super Ally.

I don’t think The Tartan Army realised just how lucky we were during the nineties.

We had a manager who knew international football inside out. Craig Brown might have got a bit overexcited to win more throw-ins than the opposition but he also had that knack of getting his squad believing in him and in each other. We were hard to beat and it did feel like Brown had created a club like atmosphere within that pool of players.

During that decade Scotland qualified for two World Cups and two European Championships.

The Scotland goal I adore the most came during one of those illustrious competitions.

It was at Euro 96 in England and that clearly narrows it down to just one as that’s all we scored during that championship.

Although we only scored once in those three group games, we actually had a very decent outing in 96.

The team battled bravely to a 0-0 draw against The Netherlands, with Andy Goram and John

Collins both making big saves to keep the Dutch out.

Then against the Auld Enemy and hosts England, Scotland were the better team for large periods. Yet we fell behind to due to an Alan Shearer header. Then there was a chance to tie it up from the penalty spot with about thirteen minutes to go. Unfortunately the ball moved (Nothing to do with Uri Gellar) and Gary McAllister watched as David Seaman saved his resulting penalty. Ninety seconds later the ball is played into our half, Paul Gascoigne then lifted over a despairing Colin Hendry before drilling it beyond Rangers teammate Goram.

Going into that final group game and every side still had a chance of reaching the knock-out stage.

Scotland were up against Switzerland at a Villa Park that seemed more like Hamdpen given the amount of Scottish supporters displaying ‘See you Jimmy’ hats and saltire flags, with the rendition of Flower of Scotland raising the roof and creating goosebumps all over the world.

The goal scored by McCoist in the thirty-sixth minute epitomes everything associated with our national team.

We live on hope and that goal gave us hope. Us Scots never do anything easy and McCoist had actually missed a few easier chances before finding the net. We also don’t give up and there was the veteran marksman still getting in the right positions and willing to hit another shot at goal.

Even in his celebration Ally showed the world what Scotland is all about. We are a passionate nation and one that celebrates together. McCoist was on the verge of tears as he raced over to his manager and was followed by his teammates.

The goal itself was actually sublime.

McCoist was had come deep inside Switzerland’s lefthand side and nodded it forward to McAllister. The Scottish captain collected the ball and was given time and space to turn. Super Ally had followed the direction of the ball and then ran beyond it. Our captain then laid it into the hitman’s path. As a Swiss opponent started to arrive from McCoist’s right, the forward struck it sweetly from outside of the penalty area. The shot was hit true and swerved slightly as it flew past a diving, helpless Marco Pascolo.

I yelled as it hit the back of the net. My hero had once again scored and Scotland were now in with a huge chance of qualifying.

But alas the goal became even more typically Scottish as it became part of another glorious failure.

We missed out on reaching the next stage by one goal. England had pumped the Dutch that day and were four goals up. Then just as Scotland had started to believe in miracles, with twelve minutes to go Patrick Kluivert grabbed a vital consolation goal. Scotland needed to score another but alas we couldn’t and we departed with our heads raised but thinking about what might have been.

Who knew that we would have to wait another twenty-five years before seeing Scotland reach another Euros? Yet that’s exactly what happened. That wait ends this week and I am hoping someone like John McGinn can score a goal that can eclipse that of Alistair Murdoch McCoist.

Maybe that goal will become my favourite ever Scotland goal and maybe it’ll take us one stage further!


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