I was 9 years old at the time and it made quite an impression on me. That 3-1 defeat by Peru when we were taken apart by Cubillas, the dismal 1-1 draw with Iran, one of our star players Willie Johnston caught using performance enhancing drugs, only one game to go against 1974 runners-up Holland, who we had to beat by 3 clear goals, and it looked like the dream was well and truly over. But wee Archie Gemmill had other ideas. Having put us 2-1 up from the penalty spot Gemmill picked up the ball just outside the penalty box, jinxed past 3 flying Dutchmen and with his left foot, chipped the ball over the goalie to score one of the greatest world cup goals in history. It wasn't enough to save Scotlands world cup hopes though, and the team were on the next plane home.
The Gemmill goal was re-enacted all over the country by various 9 year olds often wearing wellies (the Brazilian kids used to learn to play football on the beaches in their bare feet, the Scottish kids played on the road in wellies) and the lesson that we might be down but we've all got some Archie Gemmill magic was learnt.
So, if you happen to be passing the 24 hour race in Fitz park in Keswick as part of the Commonwealth Championships on Thursday/Friday this week and you see a wee man in a Scotland shirt (no wellies), extracting the last ounces of magic from his legs, jinking past a few Englishmen, maybe to snatch some last minute glory, then you'll know it's the Archie Gemmill magic at work.