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The Green Green Grass of Home



Scottish Cup Final
The Green Green Grass of Home

On the eve of the 74th Scottish League Cup Final; the events of 1974 resonate.

Then, as now, Hibernian present as underdogs, to odds-on favourites Celtic. Then, as now, indifferent league form is (temporarily), cast aside. And then, as now, respective fan-bases fine-tune travel plans.

Be it planes, trains or automobiles, they will journey in their droves – consumed by the prospect of early-season silverware.

With expansive football embedded in their DNA ; this years finalists offer the prospect of a much-needed christmas booster.

The sides have met at this ‘showpiece’ stage, on three previous occasions – 1968/69, 1971/72, and 1974/75, with Celtic currently holding a 2 – 1 advantage.

At the time of their most recent encounter – anticipation was all-encompassing, for the-then 11 year-old, and his fellow Stella Maris Youth Club Members.

As the big-day approached, our band-of-brothers were duly summoned.

As the meeting was called to-order, it was standing-room only. Atop the brightly-lit green-baize table, a colour co-ordinated route-map was clinically unfurled. Corners secured; the itinerary (incorporating a strict code-of-conduct), was audibly and visually remonstrated. And after the obligatory Q&A, it was next stop Hampden.

The 1974 Scottish League Cup Final exceeded (most),expectations. For starters – a record 9 goals were witnessed. Furthermore, Hibs’ front-man Joe Harper, and Celtic striker ‘Dixie’ Deans, both bagged hat-tricks. And perhaps the cherry on top arrived courtesy of a flying-header fashioned from the mercurial Jimmy Johnstone.

Preparing to return home; a final head-count was ordered. To everyone’s dismay one absentee was registered – extra-time would indeed be required.

Steps were meticulously retraced (to no avail), before the authorities were alerted. After an elongated timespan it was reluctantly determined that our party head eastwards.

Thankfully; the errant youngster was suitably street-smart to negotiate a train-trip home (arriving at the designated drop-off point fully versed in apologetic scripture).

Expletives were masked by universal relief – silverware somewhat secondary.

Therefore to this weekend’s attendees: goals and glory may be the objective, but role-models remain few and far between.

Alex Scotland made a lasting impression on his young charges in ‘74, – Thank you from us all.


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Born in 1963, Peter attended St Mary's Leith High School. Peter worked within the plumbing industry before studying a degree in journalism within the University of Stirling. Peter has been a lifelong sports fan and has volunteered within the Edinburgh Soccer School's programme on numerous occasions.


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