The Greatest Nights In Scottish Football

With few exceptions, success in football is difficult to sustain, and even the most prestigious clubs and national teams in history have their down periods.

And even though it might feel like Scotland has always been a second-tier (or lower, depending on who you ask) footballing nation, it’s important to remember that things haven’t always been that way. With the current amount of Scottish talent playing in the EPL and other top leagues around the world, it’s only a matter of time before the Scottish national team makes itself known on the national stage again (and hopefully the club level, too).

Thus, there’s no better time to start taking part in what so many Scots have enjoyed over the years, which is betting on your favorite Scottish clubs and the national team. Seeing your country represented well at the highest level of footy is already exciting, and winning a wager at the same time makes it all that much sweeter. If you want to bet on your favorite Scottish club or the national team but aren’t sure how it all works, have a read of this sports betting guide which will give you all the information that is needed.

Below are five of our greatest nights in Scottish football that no doubt made many proud Scot punters even prouder to be a Tartan.

25 May, 1967 – Celtic 2, Inter Milan 1

Celtic has had many great squads in their long and storied history, but their 1967 side that lifted the European Cup in Portugal–remembered now as the Lisbon Lions–might be their best ever. Despite being responsible for inventing the sport and spreading it worldwide, no British side had ever won Europe’s most prestigious club competition before these Lions came along.

With a squad born within a 30-mile radius of Glasgow, Celtic captured their fifth trophy of the season when they beat Inter in the 1967 European Cup Final. (Source:

After defeating the champions of Switzerland, France, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, Celtic found themselves in the Cup Final against an Internazionale side that had won two of the last three European cups. But Celtic, who had won every competition they entered that season roared back after surrendering an early PK goal, roared back with two second half goals to complete one of the only Quintuples in the history of the sport.

11 June, 1978 – Scotland 3, Netherlands 2

A game so famous it made it into the movie Trainspotting. Riding a wave of World Cup optimism that crashed hard and early after Scotland lost to Peru and to lowly Iran, spirits and expectations were low heading into their final group match against 1974 World Cup runner-ups Holland. Although they were still technically alive, things looked grim for the Scots who would to win by three goals if they wanted to advance to the next round.

Archie Gemmil weaving past five Dutch defenders en route to a 3-2 win lives on as one of the greatest Scottish World Cup memories. (Source:

A massive underdog, Scotland was soon brimming with hope after Archie Gemmill weaved through the Dutch defense to give Scotland an improbable 3-1 lead in the 68th. Alas, Holland would go on to get a goal back and effectively knock the Tartans out of the competition, but the match is still remembered as one of the National Team’s greatest victories (and a painful reminder of just what could have been with that squad).

11 May, 1983 – Aberdeen 2, Real Madrid 1

The match that introduced the world to Alex Ferguson. By their standards, the early 80s were a down era for Real Madrid, however they still cruised through to the final of the 1982-83 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final with relative ease. Aberdeen on the other hand, while in the midst of a dominating era in Scottish football, were still considered to be underdogs for the Cup Final in Gothenburg.

Sir Alex Ferguson made his (and Aberdeen’s) name known to the world when he guided his side to the 1982-83 European Cup Winners’ Cup. (Source:


On a muddy pitch, Aberdeen found themselves up early when one Alex McLeish headed in a corner in the 7th minute. Less than ten minutes later, Real Madrid converted on a penalty to equalize. The pitch would continue to get worse and the match would stay at 1-1 until late in extra time, when Aberdeen sub John Hewitt would glance in a header to help Aberdeen become just the third Scottish team in history to win a major European trophy.

22 May, 2005 – Helicopter Sunday

For most of Scotland football’s top flight history, the league has been won by either Celtic or Rangers. However, who will be the champions of Scotland often isn’t determined until the final matchday of the season. Amongst all those dramatic, last match-day finishes there few more as memorable as the final day of the 2004-05 season. Heading into their final matches, Rangers was two points down behind league-leading Celtic. For the Bhoys to lift the trophy, they would need to beat Motherwell, or simply match Rangers’ result (who were playing at Hibs that day).

A matter of minutes cost Celtic the 2004-05 SPL title (and one helicopter pilot some extra fuel). (Source:


Less than 30 minutes into their match, it looked like Celtic was on their way to doing just what they needed thanks to a 1-0 lead. And despite a 1-0 lead of their own in the 60th, things looked meek for ‘Gers supporters, and a helicopter with the league trophy was headed toward Motherwell’s Fir Park and the Celtic squad. But on what is now known as Helicopter Sunday, that chopper had to make an abrupt turnaround when Celtic unbelievably surrendered two goals–and the title–in two minutes in one of the craziest finishes to a season ever.

12 September, 2007 – France 0, Scotland 1

In 2007, it had been over over 10 years since Scotland had played in a European Championship football match and nearly the same amount of time since playing in a World Cup. Even though Scotland would just miss out on qualifying for the 2008 Euros, their Group B victory against the defending World Cup runner-ups at the time was a signpost that Scottish football was on its way back, and to this day remains one of their more improbable national team victories ever.

An improbable goal from James McFadden led to an improbable Scottish win one memorable night in Paris. (Source:


Except for a loss to Scotland in Glasgow the previous fall, France had been perfect in qualifying. This was expected considering their lineup boasted the likes of Franck Ribery, Patrick Vieira, David Trezeguet, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda, and other French superstars of the time. But in front of a boisterous Parisian crowd, France was stifled all match long, and then baffled by a 30-yard screamer from James McFadden in the 64th that put the Tartans at the top of Group B–and headlines around the world–for at least a brief moment.

S Douglas

Football writer amongst other things.