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17 October 2014

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Wembley Wizards 1967

The Scotland team walk out at Wembley


In 1967, Scotland travelled to their strongest opponents in their European Championship qualifying group and came away with a very credible victory against the team who were then current world championships.

However, the 3-2 win was not enough for Scotland to finish top of the group and it would be another seven years before Scotland would qualify for a major tournament, despite having what many would regard as the finest collection of Scotland players ever.

Put in this perspective, Scotland's victory against England at Wembley, the first game England had lost since becoming World Champions, fits within Scotland's canon of glorious failures, such as the win over Holland in 1978 and 2003, rather than the famous victory it is generally considered to be.

The Scotland team who ran onto the Wembley pitch on 11 April 1967, included four players who would go on to win European Cup medals in Lisbon one month later, and two Rangers players who would lose to Bayern Munich in the European Cup-Winners' Cup final the same week. Added to this base were three players who walk into any all-time greatest Scotland 11; Baxter, Law and Bremner.

Despite the quality within Scotland's ranks, they were considered underdogs going into the match, as the opposition was virtually the same England 11 who won the World Cup only nine months previously and had gone 19 games undefeated.

Before the match new manager Bobby Brown upset sections of the press by giving 36-year-old Celtic keeper Ronnie Simpson his first Scotland cap ahead of Kilmarnock's Bobby Ferguson. The Glasgow Herald noted that the last Celtic goalie to play at Wembley was Frank Haffey, who let in nine goals only six years previously, and hoped it wouldn't be a bad omen.

However, the agile veteran made an excellent debut for his country and couldn't be faulted for England's two goals from Jack Charlton and Geoff Hurst.

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