The big interview: Alan Rough - "We knew what they could do, and hoped they didn’t do it against us. But they did!"
What was the masterplan?
Jock Stein’s plan was to take Brazil out of the equation and concentrate on New Zealand and Russia. Unfortunately, although we beat New Zealand comfortably, we lost a couple of bad goals and in the end they were the goals that made us come unstuck.
The 4-1 defeat against Brazil is legendary. When Narey’s ‘toepoke’ went in, did you think “God, now we’re in trouble…”?
It did seem like the Brazilians thought, “Och, we’d better get a couple of goals, then!” They were playing at walking pace. That’s one of my lasting memories. Even before the game started, we were soaked in sweat and they were standing there fresh as daisies, not a bead on them. They had so much class it was unbelievable.
Do you wince when you see film of Zico’s free-kick sailing over your head?
It was a bad goal from my point of view, but you’re on a hiding to nothing because these guys could put it wherever they wanted. Even Eder’s goal – the chip: how many people would try that in a World Cup? We knew what they could do, and hoped they didn’t do it against us. But they did! It was a wonderful performance.
The game didn’t exactly enhance the reputation of Scottish goalkeepers…
Well, Scottish goalkeepers have always had that stigma. There was Frank Haffey, who let in nine against England, and Stewart Kennedy had a bad game at Wembley in the 5-1 defeat in '75. You have to go out and prove yourself each time.
Scotland needed to beat Russia in the last game to qualify. At 1-1 Alan Hansen and Willie Miller crashed into each other and allowed Russia to score…
At 1-1, we had the upper hand, but that accident knocked us off our stride. We were pressing and pressing, which is why they were at the halfway line; there was a clearance and they never communicated. Shengelia was clear, and I could either come out or wait until he got nearer and see what he did. He had the time and composure to sidestep me and put it in. I’ve often thought what would have happened if I had come out.
What was the mood like afterwards?
Very subdued. To be knocked out on goal difference was galling; so near, yet so far.