Archie’s amazing strike
vs Netherlands, World Cup, 1978
He’d just scored one of the greatest World Cup goals, but there was no shirt over the head or Elvis dancing for Archie Gemmill. Instead, he simply raised his arm and then ran back to the centre circle.
It was an amazing show of restraint, considering he’d just slalomed past Wim Jansen, turned Ruud Krol into a mannequin and put Jan Poortvliet on his backside with a nutmeg, before rocketing a strike beyond Jan Jongbloed.
“The only thought in my mind was if we could get one more goal, there was a chance we were going to qualify,” Gemmill tells FFT. Scotland had to win by three goals to make it out of their group – Ally Macleod’s team were unable to avoid elimination, however Gemmill’s sublime strike lives on.
“I was most definitely not thinking goal,” explains the 71-year-old of the moment he received the ball near the touchline. “I was just thinking, ‘There’s a man in front of me, can I get past him? And then can I get past the next one?’ In the space of a few seconds, I was there on my own with the goalkeeper.” The stunner later featured in box-office smash Trainspotting as Renton – the character played by Ewan Mcgregor – enjoys some highly-charged sex while Archie’s iconic goal plays in the background. Renton roars: “I haven’t felt that good since Archie Gemmill scored against Holland in 1978!” “Being in Trainspotting, and the number of times you watch it on TV when the World Cup comes round, I wish I had 10 per cent of the takings,” smiles Gemmill, who now lives in Derby. “When I go back to Scotland, quite a lot of people will come over to talk about it and get a photograph taken with me. It’s much different in England – I just get on with my life.” Despite scoring the Scot’s greatest ever goal, Gemmill says he never sneaks a look at it in admiration. “No, I’m not that way inclined,” he says. “At that moment in time it’s a job, simple as that.” That particular day’s work is still celebrated, 40 years on.