May 18, 1960
IF everyone who has said: “I was there”, actually was, the crowd for the European Cup final at Hampden Park would have been 10 times the official attendance of 127,621.
Those who were lucky enough to be there paid five shillings to stand, a bit more for a seat.
Everyone else gathered round expensive black-and-white TVs to watch the first European match beamed live into Scottish homes.
No-one was short-changed.
Now, 55 years on, Real Madrid’s 7-3 with over Eintracht Frankfurt is still regarded as the greatest game of football ever played in Scotland.
The Germans had been in Glasgow a few weeks earlier to complete their semi-final humiliation of Scottish champions Rangers, 12-4 on aggregate.
That sparked a popular way to wind up Bluenoses – telling them the club’s new phone number was Ibrox 6163!
But local hostilities were forgotten as fans from across the country settled down for a feast of football. In a pre-match Sunday Post poll, 75% said they expected Real to win – but that they hoped it would be underdogs Eintracht.
So Scots hopes were high when Kress opened the scoring for the Germans. But by the time they found the net again, Real had rattled in six.
Ferenc Puskas – the Galloping Major – and Alfredo di Stefano – the Blond Arrow – had gone on the rampage, scoring all of Real’s goals as they wrapped up the Spanish club’s fifth successive European Cup.
The men in white were given a rapturous ovation on their lap of honour, and admitted later that, like the fans, they’d never known anything quite like it.
Three days after Gento, Santamaria, Canario and Del Sol had lit up Hampden, Romeo Borella was doing the same. An ice-cream vendor from Crail, he scored twice as St Andrews United beat Greenock to win the Scottish Junior Cup.
But the call from the Bernabeu never came!