Brian Scott, The Daily Mail
Wembley-bound, we were – some 60,000 Scots including me and my mate, Andy Stevenson. This was in 1967, with our national side about to face England who had won the World Cup at the self-same venue the previous year.
I was already involved in sports journalism but hadn’t achieved sufficient rank to be sent on the biennial trip south in a working capacity. So, Andy and I made the 400-mile trek as fans, in a wee A40.
Setting off from Kirkintilloch, circa 7pm on the Thurday night before the Saturday afternoon game, our first stop was in the village of Blackwood (a bit beyond Hamilton) for a tank-full of petrol.
Funny the things that stick in your mind. There was but one pump at this wee garage and it must have been among the last in the country still to be cranked by hand; in this case, by a wee man in a cloth cap.
‘Where are youse aff tae?’ he enquired.
‘Wembley, if there’s enough life left in this car to get us there’, we replied.
There was, and it did. But Andy and I felt pretty wrung out as we wheeled through the northern outskirts of London going on 12 hours later, just as the sun had begun to rise.
A bite of breakfast was called for, then a bit of shut-eye in the car after we’d parked in some lot in the vicinity of Hyde Park. No fancy hotel for us. We probably couldn’t have afforded even a humble billet.
But, come that (Friday) afternoon, we headed for the hotel in which Andy’s father – also Andy, and the trainer of Dunfermline – was staying with a contingent from East End Park.
Andy Snr duly handed over the match tickets he’d stashed away for us. Then we headed off to see a few sights; followed by some carousing in Soho where every other fan, and more than a few, well-kent faces from Scottish football, seemed to have congregated.
Among them was this one supporter who, rocking back and forth as he stood next to yours truly in a public loo, began to intone: ‘Give us a go-o-o-al, give us a go-o-o-al, Denis La-a-w, Denis La-a-w’.
Well, at least somebody appeared not to be full of foreboding about the next day’s outcome…
Andy and I duly took refuge in the hotel where Clyde FC were staying; sleeping on the floor of the room occupied by one of their players, Henry Quinn, who was a pal of mine.
And so to the game itself: a wondrous occasion in which Denis La-a-w gave Scotland the lead and Bobby Lennox followed up to put them 2-0 in front. Who could believe it?
Jim Baxter, his confidence bordering on arrogance, proceeded to do his famous ‘keepy-uppy’ turn – directly in front of where Andy and I were standing, as well.
Jim McCalliog claimed a third goal for Scotland and, while Jack Charlton and Geoff Hurst scored for England, our guys were in no way flattered by their 3-2 win.
They’d toyed with the world champions, setting themselves up for a triumph which lingers on in the collective memory of all who were there.
Andy and I still faced the prospect of the long haul home overnight but, with so much to exult about, we were at Scotch Corner (nearly home!) in no time.