‘Uri Geller made the ball move’: Gary McAllister looks back at one of the worst days of his life when Scotland lost 2-0 at Wembley during Euro 96

Gary McAllister Euro 96 Uri Geller
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Gary McAllister stepped up late in the second half to take a penalty for Scotland at Euro 96 against England, the midfielder had the opportunity to level the scores in the game.

Just moments later and it was England and Paul Gascoigne celebrating scoring themselves, though, David Seaman having saved McAllister's spot kick before the ball quickly travelled up the other end, where Gazza flicked the ball over Colin Hendry's head before volleying it into Andy Goram's goal. 

Of course, the game has become infamous for Israeli illusionist Uri Geller claiming credit for England's 2-0 win, insisting his powers in the helicopter hovering above Wembley that day helped move the ball just before McAllister struck his penalty.

McAllister reflects on that group game as something that could have been, arguing Scotland would have nicked a late winner had he scored from 12 yards. 

“The first time I captained my country, against Switzerland in qualifying for the 1994 World Cup, was amazing," McAllister explains to FourFourTwo. "But as much as it turned out to be one of the worst days of my life, leading Scotland out at Wembley to take on England at a major tournament felt unbelievable. 

"During the pandemic, all of the games from that summer were shown on TV. I’d never watched the England match back because of the penalty I missed – when Uri Gellar made the ball move! 

"It was such a long time ago but, seeing it recently, I realised just how much we dominated the game. There’s no doubt in my mind that the result would have been different had I netted the penalty. England took the initiative after David Seaman saved it. Had I scored, I think we’d probably have won that match.”

That loss meant Scotland were knocked out of Euro 96 on goal difference, with England haunting the Auld Enemy once again by conceding a 78th minute goal to the Netherlands in the final group match. Had the score stayed 4-0, Scotland would have progressed to the quarter-finals instead of the Netherlands. 

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