2 BRAZIL 1 SCOTLAND
June 10, 1998 World Cup, Group A
“To choose a favourite ticket stub from the 50-plus Scotland away games I’ve seen since 1994 is difficult, but the one I treasure most is my Brazil vs Scotland ticket from France 98.
Memories of a match I went to with my grandfather will stay with me for the rest of my life. The Scots were on the global stage, participating in the opening game of a World Cup with the spotlight on us – even with Ronaldo playing at his peak for the defending champions.
It was electric. Our seats were up in the Stade de France gods – Brazil supporters were doing the samba to our left and the Tartan Army were to our right.
I’ll never forget the atmosphere before kick-off, and the rendition of All You Need Is Love by The Beatles. The song’s first few bars are the intro to La Marseillaise, and beside us this old French guy – complete with beret – gets up, hand on heart and about to go full blast, when suddenly the voices of Lennon and Mccartney kick in! This bloke just stood there with a look of complete confusion on his face.
After going behind to Cesar Sampaio’s early header we were fearing the worst, but then came the John Collins penalty. I was so nervous, the wounds from Gary Mcallister’s miss at Wembley two years before still fresh. It took a lifetime for the ball to find the net – then a split-second’s disbelief to realise that we’d just levelled against the holders.
A Tom Boyd own goal consigned us to defeat, but very little since has matched that afternoon for Scotland.
After the game we made our way back into Paris. All day the weather had been beautiful, but once we’d left the stadium the heavens opened. Mid-monsoon, we darted into a hotdog tent, where a vendor placed a bottle of beer in my 17-year-old hand and said, ‘Unlucky my friend.’”