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My favourite Scottish Cup memories. And yours?

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Jim Spence | 10:07 UK time, Saturday, 10 April 2010

The magic of the cup, you can't beat it.

My best-ever Scottish Cup final was 1994. Dundee United's 1-0 triumph over Rangers was achieved with the charismatic Ivan Golac as manager and he had the tangerine half of the city full of expectation weeks ahead of the final.

Ivan allowed BBC Scotland to report live from the team bus as it drove to Hampden from the team hotel. I was the reporter and it quickly became obvious that the players were bubbling with confidence.

At one stage, Billy McKinlay, who was sitting the game out, wanted the bus driver to stop at the bookies to get a bet on, such was the overwhelming feeling among the players that United could lift the trophy.

Craig Brewster's close-range tap-in was no goal of the season, it was goal of the century for United fans who had endured countless heartbreaking close things at Hampden.

I was the pitch-side radio reporter and the emotions of the day were overwhelming as United took the Cup for the first time in their history.

Next day, the Lord Provost of Dundee asked me to welcome the Cup-winning side as they entered the city square in Dundee to a packed 20,000 crowd after an open-topped bus procession through the thronged streets of the city.

The crucial goal that day was a neat combination between Christian Dailly and Brewster, both Dundee boys.

That local element made the day extra special. Who among the masses that followed United to Hampden that day hadn't dreamed of pulling on the tangerine. I still do every night at bedtime. So the day will live forever in my memory.

Forgive me too for featuring United in the "best-ever" Scottish Cup final: one that they didn't win but lost narrowly in a stunning end-to-end game of football to a magnificent Motherwell side.

Three years before their first-ever Scottish Cup success, in 1991, United were bested by Well in a game that proved that two non-Old Firm teams could serve up a thrilling spectacle and before a full house of 57,319 fans.

Motherwell led 1-0 at half time through an Iain Ferguson header, but the second half and extra time provided a barnstorming game testing every human emotion.

Well goalkeeper Ally Maxwell's heroic performance, despite suffering broken ribs in a clash with John Clark, and a game that seesawed dramatically, provided the very best that the Scottish Cup final had to offer.


Motherwell went two ahead through an Ian Angus goal, with United pulling one back through Dave Bowman.

Phil O'Donnell, at the tender age of 18, drove through the United defence with a magnificently brave header to make it 3-1 and seemingly wrap up the old Cup for Motherwell.

But United fired back with goals from John O'Neil and, with seconds left, Darren Jackson, who raced on to a long punt from keeper Alan Main to beat Maxwell, by then in agony with his injuries.

In a rousing extra-time finish, it was the steelmen who stole the show with a goal from super sub Stevie Kirk, whose header ensured him of legend status at Fir Park.

On the way back to the bus, United fans were gutted at yet another Hampden failure, but the camaraderie and good-natured banter with the Motherwell fans outside Hampden was a fitting finale to, in my view, the greatest-ever Scottish Cup final.

I've seen some cracking goals in finals at Hampden, but right up there with the best of them is Nacho Novo's phenomenal strike against Falkirk in 2009.

Just after the restart, the wee Rangers striker hit a beauty on the turn with the ball coming over his shoulder from a throw in. It dipped wickedly as it flew over the keeper and into the net. Simply unstoppable.

The Scottish Cup doesn't provide many shocks at the final stage, but Hearts versus Gretna in 2006 came very close in my book.

I'd enjoyed a great day filming a piece for Cup Final Sportscene that season with the Hearts supporters from Penicuick. A memorable bus trip with the Jambos to Hampden for their semi-final versus Hibs resulted in every form of legal indignity that could be heaped upon their favourite Arab being heaped upon him.

But it was a stunning afternoon, providing a well-deserved 4-0 win for Hearts, that led me to the conclusion that the final versus Rowan Alexander's Borderers would see cup success for the Tynecastle side.

So it proved, but not in the manner I thought likely. A terrific performance from Gretna provided gripping drama in a 1-1 full-time finish before Hearts lifted the trophy with a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory.

When Rudi Skacel cracked in the opener from close in six minutes before half time, I wondered if the floodgates would open. But Gretna stormed back and levelled with a Ryan McGuffie rebound after his penalty kick was saved.

Penalty misses by Derek Townsley and Gavin Skelton ensured that Gorgie would witness a street carnival for the triumphant Hearts, but it was oh so close.

Those are some of my favourite Scottish Cup final memories. I'd like to hear some of yours.


  • Comment number 1.

    Is that Alan Partridge lifting the cup aloft? EAT MY GOAAAAAAAL!

  • Comment number 2.

    As an Englishman and a Queen of the South supporter my Scottish Cup Final memory comes from 2008. We had beaten Aberdeen 4-3 in one of the greatest ever semi-finals but found ourselves 2-0 down at half-time against Rangers. We started the second half like men possessed and Stevie Tosh got us back in the game as he put in Sean O'Connor's cross with his groin. Us Queens supporters were still celebrating when straight from the re-start we won a free kick out on the right hand side. It was crossed in and our 38 year old captain Jim Thomson powered in the equaliser! A sensational few minutes that I will never ever forget and still gives me goosebumps. Sadly we lost 3-2 but they did us proud that day.

  • Comment number 3.

    Ross County 6 Raith Rovers 5 after extra time in the 2010 final has to go down as the greatest ever.

  • Comment number 4.

    When I saw the headline I was all ready to jump in with the 1994 final, but you beat me to the punch!
    A Dundee United "fan" since the age of 10 (and only because a United Captain happened to be in a football magazine my father bought for me, oh how football allegiances are formed!), relocated to Sydney, out drinking with the gf (now wife), bad night all round, gf is upset (long story), snap shot, ball rebounds off post, goal, ouch my neck, er, yay, oh, you don't understand, oh, I hate you.
    Was worth it, but!

  • Comment number 5.

    I have had a few, but folowing that magnifiocent result this afternoon, my best moment will come next month when we win the cup for the second time. Fully confident of beating Raith tomorrow. well done to Ross County, but you will find the Arabs a much tougher prospect than celtic or Hibs

  • Comment number 6.

    Ross v Dross

  • Comment number 7.

    Rangers 3 - 2 Celtic (2002) epic game.

  • Comment number 8.

    The "Family Final" between Dundee Utd and Motherwell was the best. So many great players came out of that game as well, O'Donnel and Boyd, Maxwell etc moving on to better things in probably the last year that Scottish players moved to premiership 1st teams and Davie Cooper playing one of his best. I came up from London that day so that my Daughter could be Christened in Scotland on the Sunday but got a last minute ticket in the Tangerine end to see the game. It didn't matter that I was an alien fan in the wrong end, the atmosphere was fantastic....especially as we moved into extra time. I would like to thank all the United fans for that day as Hampden was full of true football supporters. I like to think they got a match they deserved. Not to forget both teams excellent performances on the way to the final...a fact oft forgot.

  • Comment number 9.

    1964 - Rangers 3 Dundee 1. The best Rangers side I have ever seen beat a wonderful Dundee side who had been champions and European Cup semi-finalists the previous year. The first time I saw Rangers win the treble. But I will never forget Bert Slater's performance in goal for Dundee. He was fantastic and kept Dundee in the game at 0-0 until very late on.

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh, come on, what's wrong with you people? Especially the Utd fans. Shame on you!

    Clearly, the best moment of the Scottish cup ever, was Stuart Beedie's volley in the semi final replay in 1985 against Aberdeen. Ralph Milne crossed from the right wing to the edge of the area, and Beedie came charging in and spanked it(think Beckham's attempt for Milan against Man U a few weeks ago) - I don't recall Leighton even moving for it. To a nine year old boy, that was the greatest thing ever seen, and to a 34 year old man, it still is!

  • Comment number 11.

    rangers v celtic 1973 when tom forsyth's toe poke

  • Comment number 12.

    at the moment, without a doubt it's the '94 final against the Gers......been to 3 previous finals with my Arabs without a win and rode heartbroken back to Dundee....not this time!! I wasn't even gonna go, my dad decided he'd been thru the mill too many times to again, but at the last minute I got a ticket and got a seat in my mates Dad's car and off we went. My mates dad even took my swapped my ticket, on its ownsome, with his (next to my mates)....cheers Big Mike!! Then the actual!! I was cheering already when Dailly rolled it across the line, only to cheer louder when Brewster made sure!!! Can't describe the euphoria that coursed through my veins....what a day!! BUT providing tomorrow goes to plan, a 12hr plane journey, bus thru to Hampden and cheering on the Arabs.....this final could top everything!!!!

    We love UNI----TED, we do!! we love United, WE--- do! we love United, we do-----!! U-------NITED we love you!!

  • Comment number 13.

    I have been a long time motherwell supporter all my life and have engured all the heroics and many downsides to this. But watching the 91 cup final brings a tear to my just because of how heroic the performance was by the men in claret and amber. From maxwell to kirk the team was brillant throughout the whole cup. Beaten the regining champions aberdeen in the 1st round should of showed what was to come in the following rounds. The final itself was and still is the greatest scottish cup final ever even if you were a netural fan that day.
    the 1991 scottish cup final gets my vote.

  • Comment number 14.

    I missed out on 94 as I was in Bangkok as a 16 Year old boy. This time round, Ive got a bus booked from Dundee and will fly home from Spain for the final..if we get there. This is the best chance United will ever have to win the cup again. I hope we take it.

    Best ever cup memory? 1994 without a doubt. Thai TV had it live.

  • Comment number 15.

    The Celtic v United final in 1988 was memorable for a number of reasons, although ultimately a great disappointment for United fans. Kevin Gallagher's brilliant opener and MacAvennie's late winner culminated a terrific match that United could have wrapped up before Celtic scored.

    But the most memorable bit was when United and Celtic fans in unison showed the guest of (dis)honour, Maggie Thatcher, the red card as part of the anti-Poll Tax protest. I seem to remember Archie McPherson commented that a few in the crowd were not showing the Prime Minister respect. No Archie, it wasn't a few, it was the whole crowd.

  • Comment number 16.

    Can't pick a final, but best Cup moment was surely Inverness Caley Thistle's 3-1 over John Barnes' Celtic at Parkhead. A combination of Celtic being apalling and Caley being brilliant and will always go down as one of, if not THE greatest moment in the Scottish Cup.

    Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious

  • Comment number 17.

    The two best finals of the last thirty years by a long way, are United V Motherwell in '91 and Lovenkrands' sealing an injury time Old Firm win in '02 with a diving header. Both were cracking end-to-end thrillers.

    '94 was a great day for United, but I've never heard anyone claim it was a great match tbefore! Jim Spence also claims the goal was "a neat combination between Christian Dailly and Brewster". As I recall, it was more like a neat combination between Dave McPherson and Ally Maxwell!

  • Comment number 18.

    Having been to 5 of United's previous 6 cup-final defeats, the 1994 final will always be so memorable to and to any Arab that was there. To the neutral it won't be up there as the greatest, but having been on the losing end of several 'great' finals, to see Maurice Malpas lift the famous old trophy at last, complete with tangerine & black ribbons that day will always be sweet.

  • Comment number 19.

    The 2002 Scottish Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic would be my favourite.

    I'll give you a brief picture, Martin O'Neill's Celtic had ran away with the league in 2001 and the league was over by Christmas this time round. Dick Advocaat stepped down and Alex McLeish took over as manager. For 18 months I'd suffered watching Celtic run riot; I'd sat in the house as the only Rangers fan as Celtic put 6 past us in August 2000. So to put it nicely, I enjoyed this one.

    Celtic took the lead with a John Hartson header, and this would probably be one of the last times that the team who took the lead lost an Old Firm match. Two minutes later, Peter Lovenkrands equalised after a long ball up the park, turned the defender and stuck the ball inside Douglas' near post.

    Five minutes into the 2nd half, Celtic took the lead again, this time through a Bobo Balde header. Again, Rangers battled back, and with an equaliser 20 minutes from time. Barry Ferguson, 25 yards from goal, with arguably the coolest finish in such a pressure match.

    With the match heading into extra-time, and myself, 12 years old keeping my cool despite the Celtic minded family around me, I braced myself for the usual Celtic last minute goal, crossing my fingers and toes, praying to a God I don't believe in, just don't let them score.

    Then, with the last kick of the ball almost, Neil McCann whipped in the most beautiful cross I've ever seen, into the back post, you'd think the defence would deal with it?

    But no, Peter Lovenkrands pops up, yet again, to score the sweetest goal I've ever witnessed in an Old Firm game, or at least the sweetest for some time.

    To say I celebrated would be an understatement.

  • Comment number 20.

    After watching so many finals where United fell at 'The Final Hurdle' I knew 1994 would be our year - 7th time lucky and Ivan Golac in charge. So confident was I that I called Tannadice and asked them for tickets - they agreed because I was flying for 10 hours to reach Hampden. Well worth it and the parade and presentation in City Square the next day will live in my memory for ever.

    The Family Final v. Motherwell was bittersweet inasmuch as we lost but it was my Dad's birthday (18th May) and I took him since he was a 'Well fan. It was his first Final since 'Well beat Dundee some time in the 1950's, also on his birthday. We stood in the Tangerine end. He cheered 'Well and the Arabs didn't bat an eye - it was the family final!

    I won't be in Scotland for the Final this year but I trust United will triumph.

  • Comment number 21.

    Has to be the 1991 final for me. A fantastic day to be a 'Well fan. Such a tragedy that Davie Cooper and Phil O'Donnell who both played, and Jamie Dolan and Paul McGrillen who were both part of the MFC squad at the time are all no longer with us.

  • Comment number 22.

    My first Scottish Cup Final in 1985, Dundee Utd 1 Celtic 2. Davie Provan scored a cracking free kick and then Frank McGarvey got a great header. Celtic came from 1 - 0 down I believe with both of their goals coming in the last 15 minutes. Changed days indeed - this lot are a shambles.

  • Comment number 23.

    Guys! C'mon.....

    How can you forget 1996 - Rangers 5 Hearts 1. Brian Laudrup - probably the most complete footballing performance on Scottish soil ever by an individual. Gordon Durie actually scored a hatrick that day - but no-one remembers that!

  • Comment number 24.

    Firstly, i would like to congratulate Ross County & Dundee United for respective wins in the semi finals of the scottish cup....especially Utd :)

    I am a staunch arab and hope we go all the way this year....that would be the best cup win for me out of all the finals and sucess/despair we have encountered. Unlike Celtic, United have a grafting attitude...not one of our players are so called "Stars" and for me thats the formula for our success! We have tackled every game in the league and cups with true grit and the will to win this season. We have also shown respect to all teams we have played and knew we had to turn up to win, there are no gimmies any more in the scottish game as Aberdeen have found out to there expense, you have to have 11 players running onto the field with the desire to compete and earn the points you get. This current United team have the chance to make history for themselves as well as becoming LEGENDS at Tannadice Park....its not the team of the 80`s and imo player for player, the current United team cannot compete with the Bannon`s Sturrock`s, Narey`s etc etc but they can achieve something that crop of players could not do....WIN the Scottish Cup.

    Good Luck United.

    ps. it was really strange was the first time in all my visits to Hampden that i knew how a Celtic/Rangers fans feel normally when playing semi`s or a final...WE ARE GOING TO WIN! and we did!

    The best final apart from 94 was a game of football goes, i dont think i have been to a more complete game of footbal than that. pity we lost :)

  • Comment number 25.

    Super Calley Go Ballistic Celtic were atrocious - I don't watch much football but talking about this headline whilst drunk is hilarious!

  • Comment number 26.

    I vote Motherwell vs Dundee United, 1991.

  • Comment number 27.

    It's 1998 for me..."Amoruso's lost it...Adaaaam!!!!". Wonderful day. Wonderful weekend.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm an Aberdeen fan...explain what a cup final is.

  • Comment number 29.

    Jim Bett's Perm - as an Arab living and working in Aberdeen your comment made me chuckle ! The amount of counselling I have to provide for the Dons at work... mind you, I told them at the time that getting rid of Tango Man was the worst move.
    Cup Finals - definitely 1994, drive up from Leeds in a one litre Mini, wouldn't start at 9am, panic, got it going, made it in plenty time. last 30 mins were horrendous, Mikhailicenko's chance etc etc - torture ! FANTASTIC to see Mo lift the cup. Great day out in 91, though, what a big sway behing the goal when Jacko equalised, hugging veryone in sight !
    This year's final will be good, I reckon, some good football to be played. C'mon United !

  • Comment number 30.

    '94 for the result but no doubting that the '91 final was the best final ever as a footballing specticle.
    2010 set to be another cracker with the shimmy coming out winners.

  • Comment number 31.

    1998 - Bye bye Coisty, Goughie, the Goalie and 42 years of waiting (we don't consider the wee cup a proper cup). And to start with a penalty against the old firm - you just knew it was going to be our day.

    Was at the 1991 final as a neutral and it was a cracking game, but you can't really appreciate a cup final without the emotion - lord knows I've endured enough in 76, 86 and 96!!

  • Comment number 32.

    My worse Scottish Cup moment was Dundee Utd winning in 1994 and heres hoping 2010 is not a good one for them either. Come on you Dees.

  • Comment number 33.

    My first scottish cup memory is of kevin gallagher running away fron the celtic defence at breakneck speed in 1988 and celtic getting there standard late goals to steal it from utd. I still have in my head the picture of Tommy Burns not wanting to give anyone the trophy!!

    91 was my first scottish cup final and it was a great day and game. My dad was keen to take me to a final that didnt have either rangers or celtic there.

    He was positive that Iain Ferguson would get a goal that day as he was the man for the big games, think barca and bayern. I just remember thinking that am glad John Robertson was back at hearts as he always seeemed lazy to me. Right enough he scored a great header but almost every player had a great game. Tom Boyd in particular was amazing, up and down the left wing for 120 minutes. A extraordinary game with a lot of drama.

    Nothing beats 98 for drama though(granted i am biased) the last 10 minutes after McCoist scored felt like 4 hours. I ve never been in a stadium where the supporters around me were screaming, not at players, the officals or managers but just screaming hysterically for the final whistle. By the end i was so tired it was as if i had played myself!!

  • Comment number 34.

    This is off the point but an important one to make.
    I am disgusted that yet again the BBC, paid for by all of the licence payers in scotland, have yet again agreed a deal to cover the SPL and no mention of the lower leagues which correct me if I am wrong have 30 clubs.
    It;s bad enough that the BBC in Scotland is poor at best but to have this deal again with no coverage of the lower leagues other than a couple of rich tea biscuits from ALBA is a disgrace. The sooner the BBC is privatised the better, then we might get a decent broadcaster. Sorry for the rant Jim but you have to admit, other than yourself, who actually covers the lower leagues for the BBC? Maybe folk should remember that without the other 30 teams football in this country would not be worth the bother.

  • Comment number 35.

    The most memorable Scottish Cup final was in 1980. The better team lost on the day, but the Rangers fans put aside their disappointment and joined the Celtic fans on the pitch to get the post match celebration started with a swing!(or should that be a hook). That game showed the true passion of the scottish fans.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why is the bbc's writing staff so incompetent? I am a celtic fan, and I want a blog on celtic crashing out of the cup semi final to first division ross county, and i want to know about the favourites for the managerial position, and about the board and how they plan to deal with this? For me, this is big news this season, and nothing on it. The premier league writing staff is first class, in particular Phil McNulty I think. But the spl writing staff, nothing. I want to know where rangers will sntad post season because of their financial difficulties, how dundee utd aim to break the old firm if they don't do so this season, but no.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am a United fan and was left devastated by Celtic twice, St Mirren once and Motherwell. The 94 final was the best for two reasons, 1 we stopped Rangers winning back to back trebles and also it was our first time winning the trophy. The Motherwell game was unbelievable and has to be the best final ever! I am hoping 2010 is going to be a final that I can look back on with pride.

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi Jim,
    Spoke to you before last weeks semi last week(when we talked about how badly Dundee fc treat youth players)....Sorry to see that your son is injured but could be worse,.......he could be playing for the deceased across the road

    Anyway, back to your blogg!


    I had watched Utd lose so many finals and it actually got to the point where I said to my best mate long before we had reached the final......

    "Can you imagine what it would feel like to ACTUALLY win the SCOTTISH CUP!

    The day started with both of us necking half a bottle of Smirnoff each then 4 bottles of bud were consumed on the spare grass close to Aikenhead RD....Feeling good by now, but nervous!

    Believe it or not, bit I actually was coming back from the toilets when we scored!
    The first roar was when Christian hit the post and the second was when Brew became a legend!

    I was wearing an ORIGINAL GOTHINBURG TOP FROM HEGGIES TESTIMONIAL THAT DAY and actually started crying at full time..albeit the alchohol and emotion had kicked in!


  • Comment number 39.

    I don't get paid to watch football but I type football - it's so glamorous that I get the chance to sit in cold, draughty press boxes, wearing mittens in summer and dying to show off the girly clothes! Summer football please ;)

    Well I've not had the chance to see my team lift the Scottish Cup however have spoken to older fans who saw it in 1968 and their faces just light up, talking about the atmosphere, the sights and sounds and the elation in beating Heart of Midlothian and the whole town out for the return of their mighty heroes.

    As a Pars fan I've been lucky enough to be at a few finals in the past few years for the Scottish Cup and 2004 was fantastic...just from the scoreline when Andrius Skerla put us 1-0 up on Celtic. The final score wasn't fantastic of course but the whole day and the build up and of course the cup run up to that point was truly amazing and I would never forget it; and again in 2007 when we trooped past Rangers, Hearts and THAT penalty in the replayed semi-final v hibs...stuff dreams are made of; as well as the quarter final v Aberdeen last year and a penalty shoot out which lifted me off my seat several times despite being in the PB and surrounded by the big guns of radio and SkyTV and a few thousand Aberdeen fans.... Ye cannae whack it. :)

    Good luck to Ross County - gaun yersels!

  • Comment number 40.

    1991 Well v Utd...

    Was indeed a classic, I was a young boy of 16 at the time. Was a great cup overall for Motherwell with Stevie Kirk proving the hero through-out the campaign (including an early round win over Aberdeen) and 'psycho' scoring a stunning goal in the semi final replay against Celtic. Was amazing to see the thousands turn out for the street parade the next day as well, it's just a shame we didn't see many of them returning to Fir Park the following seasons - not to worry though!!

  • Comment number 41.

    1980 - first old firm game i attended , extra time winner , bathed in sunshine and a friendly "discussion" after the match.

    Who could ask for more ?


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