From the archive: Scotland roar back in Euros

Scotland's Gordon McQueen, right, beats goalkeeper Tom Jacobsen to score with a close-range header. Picture: SNS
Scotland's Gordon McQueen, right, beats goalkeeper Tom Jacobsen to score with a close-range header. Picture: SNS
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THE Scotland lion roared back into the European Championship arena with a spirited, skilfull win against the attractive but vulnerable Norwegians in Oslo.

Norway 0-4 Scotland

The Scotsman, 7 June, 1979

Jock Stein’s men survived a distincly shaky opening spell to destroy the Norwegians with a glut of goals that provided a winning margin surely beyond the the wildest dreams of any Scot before the match.

Jordan, Dalglish and Robertson were the first-half scorers while McQueen nodded one in just after the interval to underscore heavily the difference between the full-time professionals from Britain and the part-time amateurs of Norway.

The Scottish attack took their chances beautifully and were more of a force in front of goal than many a Scots side have been for long enough.

Dalglish was immense, reproducing his club form at last and leading the amateur defenders of Norway a merry dance. His goal was a joy, made out of precious little and finished with admirable precision.

Gemmill was the supreme influence in midfield, while Munro once again looked a true international full-back. McQueen and Burns held firm when Norway were threatening early on.

Of course it could all have been so difficult if a shot by Aas in the 30th minute had got an even break off the crossbar, but Scotland have had enough ill luck in the past to put any such thoughts on the misfortune of the Norwegians to the back of the mind.

At the end of the day the result was the thing. The eventual manner of the performance was not half bad either and Scotland can now look forward to three crucial home games at Hampden Park next season against Austria, Portugal and Belgium which are full of significance.

The olg guard served Scotland supremely well here after the youthful experimenting of the Home Internationals and perhaps looked forward to rather further than the immediate task of reaching the European championship finals in Rome next summer.

The influence of the three Nottingham Forest players was felt throughout the team and Scotland manager Jock Stein was delighted to get the result that finished the season for Scottish football with a bit of sunshine. Seeking only their third European Championship victory in 21 years, Norway fielded a side weakened by the absence of players missing because of injury. But coach Tor Fossen, looking for his first meaningful win in charge of the Norwegian national side, was able to call on a team full of notably talented individuals like Thorensen, Albertsen (both with Dutch clubs) and Mathisen, who had a spell with Hibs earlier this season.

On a sultry evening at the end of a scorching day, Scotland were led out on to the tide Ulleval Stadium by a solitary piper. There was a surprise for the hundreds of Scots in the five-figure crowd as Jock Stein’s men, captained by Archie Gemmill, were in their white strips presumably in order to make viewing easier for television watchers in black and white.

Importantly with the difficult visual conditions, Norway won the toss and Scotland were forced to play into the strong sun in the first half. Appropriately, there was a bright early piece of play down the left flank when a ball from Munro sent Jordan running hard until he was peremptorily broght down by Kordahl. Hartford took the free kick and Jordan got in a header of sorts which Jacobsen held easily.

There was a moment of genuine panic for Scotland in the fifth minute when a Mathisen corner was neatly passed on by Grondalen to Aas, who scorned the most clear-cut of chances with a careless shot wide of the mark.

In the tenth minute Scotland almost took advantage of a defensive mishap when Dalglish struck a ball that brought a challenge from Jordan and Graham on the goalkeeper. This resulted in the ball running free in the area, though eventually to no reral advantage.

Scotland found life difficult in the opening phase, against the quick-witted part-timers of Norway who were rather better organised in the midfield area. Gemmill, however, sent a beautiful ball to Dalglish moving into the box in the 15th minute, but the Liverpool player hesitated and did not make contact early enough.

With Okland and Mathisen running threateninly Norway were catching Scotland more than little aquare at times. Burns, mind you, had settled to his task of shutting the door with suitable enthusiasm and it was as well that the shooting of Fossen’s men from outside the box left a fair bit to be desired.

The turning point of the whole match arrived in the 30th minute when Norway were extremely unlucky not to score. A searing move involving Thoresen and Mathisen carved an opening for Aas whose ferocious shot cannoned off the underside of the bar and remarkably was cleared with the Scottish goal still intact. After that Scotland seemed to realise that it was their night and struck magnificently three times in 12 minutes. The first goal came in the 32nd minute and was made by a probing pass from Archie gemmill who found Dalglish sprinting into the 18-yard area. The Liverpool striker swept over a cross where Joe Jordan prodded the ball home frompoint-blank range.

Goal No 2 arrived seven minutes later and entirely justified Dalglish’s presence in the team in spite of an indifferent run of late. After Graham had provided the cross, Dalglish gathered the ball on the edge of the area, feinted one way, leaned the other way and side-footed anexquisite shot past Jacobsen.

Scotland’s third goal came a minute from half-time, from a splendid Ian Munro cross which was helped on its way by the challenge of Jordan and Graham, leaving John Robertson at the far post to score cheekily from the sort of position that Argentina’s Maradona had managed at Hampden on Saturday.

After the interval Gordon McQueen scored Scotland’s fourth goal with a header thaty went in off a post from a Robertson corner.

Norway: Jacobsen, Grondalen, Pedersen, Karlsen, Aas, Kordahl, Thorberg, Mathisen, Thoresen, Albertsen, Okland.

Scotland: Rough, McQueen, Burley, Burns, Robertson, Hartford, Gemmill, Graham, Munro, Dalglish, Jordan.