Martin Buchan: international career memories


I played for Scotland 34 times during my career, having the honour of captaining the side twice. One of the first times I was involved with the squad, I didn’t actually play, instead I sat in the stands at Hampden Park and I watched George Best play Scotland on his own. He was simply unbelievable, he was in the right back position tackling, he was just all over the pitch.

I also recall playing at Hampden against the ‘Welsh Airforce’ - Ron Davies, Wyn Davies and John Toshack, it was our keeper at Aberdeen who coined the phrase, he took one look at the team sheets and said I see we are playing the Airforce today!

We reached the World Cup finals in 1974 in West Germany and 1978 in Argentina. During my time in the side, I actually faced Brazil three times, playing them in Rio at the Maracanã Stadium on one occasion. As Scotland were not a particularly big draw, the crowd was ‘only’ 120,000!

When we played them in the World Cup in West Germany, I was given the task of marking Jairzinho, who had been their leading scorer at the previous World Cup. Although I say it myself, I had him in my pocket the whole game, which we drew 0-0. It was only through us recording a low scoring win against Zaire that we lost out on goal difference in the group stages.

The stand out moment for any Scotland fan from the 1978 finals was of course THAT goal scored by Archie Gemmill, I was on the pitch when that one went in.

Whilst we played them three times during my career, I was never fortunate enough to play against Pele, however, I did get to play against my own hero, when we played a friendly against West Germany in Frankfurt. Franz Beckenbauer played in the back four at the time, so he was the opposite end of the pitch to me, but it was a special memory

Martin Buchan


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Memory added on August 6, 2013

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Martin Buchan featured in Replay Football reminiscence cardsMartin Buchan featured in Replay Football reminiscence cards