Hampden Park has been the venue for an array of major European finals throughout the years. The National Stadium has witnessed penalty drama in the 2007 UEFA Cup Final, a ten-goal thriller in 1960 and that goal from Zinedine Zidane in 2002.

There’s one European final at Hampden Park, however, that has achieved cult status for many in France that often fails to gain a mention when the stadium’s most memorable moments are discussed.

The 1976 European Cup Final between Saint-Etienne and Bayern Munich – which took place 40 years ago today - is not typically regarded as a classic. The German giants won the famous trophy for a third consecutive time on a dreich evening in Glasgow thanks to a goal from Franz Roth.

Saint-Etienne missed out on silverware in their only major European final to date, but for many supporters of Les Verts it is the goalposts, and not Roth, that is responsible.

A quirk of the National Stadium at that time was the use of “square” goalposts rather than the modern rounded frameworks. St Etienne hit the woodwork twice that evening through a strike from Dominique Bathenay and a Jacques Santini header. Had the goalposts been curved, many French fans believe, St Etienne would have scored and gone on to win the game. With that, the legend of “Les Poteaux Carrés” – the “square posts” – was born.

The match among supporters of Les Verts has achieved cult status and Richard McBrearty, curator of the Scottish Football Musuem, can understand why.

Speaking to the Scottish FA website, McBrearty said: “The match is a famous one for Saint-Etienne supporters regardless of the ‘square posts’ aspect. It was their first European final, and they were up against a brilliant Bayern Munich team, who had legendary players such as Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“Bayern were the favourites having won the European Cup the previous two seasons, but it was the French fans that really made the occasion. Despite the typically Scottish weather, they brought colour and athmosphere to the match. Their vivid green scarves and shirts, along with their incredible noise, made the game a great spectacle.”

In 2013, with the help of the Scottish Football Museum, the French club purchased the goalposts to display in their club museum. According to Roland Romeyer, the club’s President, "these square goalposts were in part a symbol of this 1976 final, which created an emotional tie between the French people and AS Saint-Etienne.” 

It may be regarded by some as a rather unusual inclusion to an exhibition, but McBrearty believes their affection for “Les Poteaux Carrés” is relatable for all football fans.

He explained: “Although Saint-Etienne lost that evening, the goalposts serve as a reminder of the great memories many fans have of that final, along with the bittersweet thought of ‘what could have been’.

“Scotland supporters went through a similar journey of emotions two years later with the World Cup campaign in Argentina. Archie Gemmill’s goal is engrained onto the conscious of all Scotland fans and it’s remembered fondly despite the disappointment of that tournament. Regardless of who you support, being a football fan is all about those bittersweet moments.

“Saint-Etienne – and French football in general – have an affection for what the ‘square posts’ represent which I think is something that all football supporters can relate to.”