Archie’s amaz­ing strike

vs Nether­lands, World Cup, 1978

FourFourTwo - - CONTENTS -

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.

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