England 2-3 Scotland 15 April 1967
European Championships qualifier, Wembley Stadium, London
Scorers: J Charlton, Hurst (England) Law, Lennox, McCalliog (Scotland)
This was the match that cemented the idea of an unofficial championship in the minds of many Scottish football fans. 30,000 members of the Tartan Army travelled to Wembley to see their side take on World Cup Champions and UFWC holders England. To say that England were clear favourites would be an understatement. The Auld Enemy had not lost a match since 1965, and were being referred to as ‘The Invincibles’. Scotland had failed to even qualify for the 1966 tournament that England won so memorably. ‘On the surface at least, we had no reason to feel confident,’ said Scottish captain John Greig, ‘but we had considered ourselves unfortunate not to qualify for the 1966 finals and we were desperate to make a point.’
New Scottish manager Bobby Brown could not have chosen a more daunting match for first game in charge. As he delivered his pre-match team-talk, Brown was surprised to see cheeky midfielder Jim Baxter (pictured above) engrossed in the Daily Telegraph. Nonplussed, Brown asked, ‘Anything to add, Jim?’ ‘Aye,’ replied Baxter. ‘See this English lot, they can play nane.’ Baxter’s words summed up his side’s confident team spirit.
Indeed, Scotland outplayed England by a greater margin than the score might suggest. Denis Law scored Scotland’s first goal within half an hour, but it was Baxter who was running the game. ‘Slim Jim’ at one point played ‘keepy-uppy’ near the corner flag, such was the Scottish dominance. On 78 minutes, Bobby Lennox added a second goal. But perhaps the Scots were overplaying. Jack Charlton pulled one back for the English with six minutes left to play. Then, with three minutes left, James McCalliog scored a third for Scotland. England went straight back up the field for Geoff Hurst to score, but Scotland held on to win 3-2. The Tartan Army invaded the Wembley pitch and scooped up handfuls of turf to take home as souvenirs.
‘The English players were far too cocky!’ explained John Greig. Crucially, in claiming at the time to be unofficial champions on account of beating the World Cup winners, Scottish football fans sowed the statistical seed that grew to become what is now the UFWC. Scotland were now the Unofficial Football World Champions.