With the announcement of Scotland’s friendly against the Czech Republic made last week, for #ThrowBackThursday we look at one of Scotland’s most significant victories, against Czechoslovakia at Hampden Park in 1977.
Scotland were in a three-team group in their FIFA World Cup 1978 qualifiers, paired with Czechoslovakia, at the time European Championship holders, and Wales. The campaign hadn’t started well; a 2-0 defeat in Prague, including a first international for Antonin Panenka since “that” penalty in the 1976 European Championships.
A 1-0 victory over Wales at Hampden, twinned with a 3-0 victory for Wales over the Czechs, let Group 7 delicately poised. For Ally McLeod’s side to progress a repeat of the performance from four years earlier, when Scotland defeated Czechoslovakia 2-1 to reach the 1974 World Cup, was required.
Fortune (or misfortune rather for the visitors), was on Scotland’s side, however, as Czechoslovakia’s travel plans for Glasgow were heavily disrupted by an air strike. They instead had to travel by rail, with the final leg of the journey - the overnight train from London to Glasgow without sleeping facilities - being particularly arduous.
Scotland took full advantage of this, racing into a 2-0 lead in the first half. The first goal, a thunderous header from Joe Jordan, was followed with a tap-in from Asa Hartford following a fumble from Pavol Michelin.
The advantage was stretched further in the second half through a Kenny Dalglish header following some head tennis from Gordon McQueen and Sandy Jardine. Miroslav Gajdusek scored a beauty of a consolation for the visitors, but Scotland held on to win 3-1 and a month later all but booked their place in Argentina with a 2-0 victory over Wales at Anfield.