Hey everyone 40 years ago last night Scotland almost caused a sensation as our footballers played the game of their lives and almost beat the then defending World Champions Brazil. Yes folks I kid you not, the 18th of June 1974 will always have a place in the annals of Scottish sporting folklore as it was on that day or should I say night when we came within inches of defeating the best footballing nation on earth and achieving a result which would have sent shock waves around the world.
Having started our campaign four days earlier with a 2-0 win against the lions of African champions Zaire, we were optimistic that we would give Brazil a good game but the realistic part of us which lurks within the heart of every Scot believed they would probably still be too strong for us and we would still need to beat Yugoslavia to qualify for the second round for the first time in our history.
As the game kicked off it was Brazil who dominated the first 15 to 20 minutes with midfield maestro Roberto Rivelino giving our lot a midfield master-class and their gorgeous blonde haired left back Francisco Marinho looking both menacing and sexy as he strode down the flanks with consummate ease not to mention his killer thighs which were as well tanned as they were toned. Trust me that was the night I learned what sexy football really meant as I watched this tall hunky blonde defender who looked like he had been stolen from a boy band to show off his athletic physique.
However it has to be said the longer the game went on the more we grew in confidence and with our captain Billy Bremner, the tough tackling and highly skilled Davie Hay and the gifted enigma that was George Connolly controlling the midfield we were dominating the game and setting up plenty of chances for our main attackers Kenny Dalglish and Joe Jordan. Indeed it was Scotland who were now carving out the better chances in a game I believe to this day we could and should have won.
So why didn’t we get the victory which would have rocked the world? Some will say it was due to bad luck and they may well have a point as Davie Hay cracked the crossbar with the Brazilian goalkeeper Leao completely stranded. Others will point to the fact that just on the hour mark the ball hit Billy Bremner on the knee when if it had landed at his feet or that of Dalglish or Jordan it would have been a certain goal and Scotland would have achieved what we were told was unachievable. Nobody however wants to mention the one thing which I believe was what really stopped us that night in Frankfurt namely a lack of self belief.
I make this point for a very important reason. You see tonight marks the final lap of our country’s referendum campaign and I for one hope that unlike the class of 74 this is the game we do actually win. Do I believe we can do it? Yes I do and I’ll tell you why. You see I believe we have at last began to believe in ourselves and when we do that we can do what better together don’t want us to we can win a better future for our country and our people.
The difference between and 40 years is a simple one and it’s this. In 1974 we celebrated a draw against the best team in the world, which though a brilliant achievement wasn’t quite good enough to get the result we deserved. This time we know only a victory will do in a game played for the highest of stakes the very future of our nation.
Make no mistake the better together camp have played a highly defensive game relying on Scotland’s traditional inferiority complex to see them through to what would surely an undeserved victory using tactics which with a more impartial referee would have seen many of their team sent off for persistent fouling.
However this Scotland team has the players and the talent to obliterate inferior opposition but still some would have us cast doubt on our ability to compete on the global stage or even question our right to be there.
Others also have doubts and don’t like who they see as our star player. I have news for them however, and they may not like it. You see what they fail to realise is the choice of our team has nothing to do with them. It is I think fair to say that they should more far more concerned about their own weaknesses because believe me the Westminster Loyal as I call them has plenty of them in every single position. Indeed I would go as far as to say there is not one member of their team of good enough quality to get a place on our substitutes bench. The question is are we content to be represented by a team who turn up only for appearance money or we a top class team who will always play with pride passion and power. We will find out the answer to this at sometime during the 19th of September.
Having said that, I feel it is time for me to by express my hopes for the future. Obviously having spent all my life supporting and advocating the cause of independence I hope and believe we will get the result we need and an independent Scotland . I do however offer my opponents and those who are as yet undecided a few words of advice which I hope they will consider before voting. Remember, this is not just about Alex Salmond or the SNP, nor is about how much you like the Queen. This is far more important decision than you have ever taken or may ever take in the history of your lifetime. This is not about the short term gains. you or I may make it is about the long term future of our country.
So whilst certain career politicians may claim we will suffer if we become independent make no mistake when they speak they we mean we in a very personal context. Believe me they are not talking about Scotland they are referring only to themselves and their bank balances. You see I believe those scaremongers like the vast majority of unionist politicians will be by far the biggest losers should we decide to vote yes.
On the 19th of June 1974 most of the nation celebrated a draw against Brazil my dad however though proud of our players bemoaned our bad luck and said we could and should have won I only hope we don’t live to regret it. Prophetic words indeed as four days we bowed out of the tournament on goal difference though after drawing 1-1 with Yugoslavia. We were undefeated though, in fact we were the only undefeated team in the tournament that year and the first team ever to get knocked out undefeated at the first round stage. This would not quite be so disturbing had it not been for the fact we are also the only country in history to discover oil and get poorer.
This some unionists would tell you is just Scotland’s fate, to be that unlucky wee country which never quite makes it. Now that may be acceptable to them but it certainly isn’t to me. I have higher standards for my country and I don’t want today’s children and teenagers to be condemned to thinking about we almost won as they bitterly regret the wreckless actions of parents and grandparents who put their own vanity and self interest before the future of our people. Maybe those as yet undecided as how to vote in three months time should remember the quote of the greatest American president of all time and a man who had boots neither Bill or Hillary Clinton, or Barak Obama will ever be fit to lace. I refer of course to John Fitzgerald Kennedy who said ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’. Inspirational words from an inspirational president and words which only one side in this debate is living up to. This my friends, is why in the biggest game we will ever play, I am voting Yes.
Love And Best Wishes