Men's Team

World Cup A-Z: D for Donachie

BIGGEST STAGE: Willie Donachie travelled to two World Cup finals as part of the Scotland squad
As Russia 2018 finally gets underway, we continue with our own A-Z of the World Cup – where the focus is firmly trained on City.

Today's spotlight is on Willie Donachie who, between 1968 and 1980, proved an unflappable, ever-reliable presence in the City first team.

The left-back first experienced the glitz and glamour of the World Cup finals in 1974. Donachie was a part of the Scotland squad which travelled to the 1974 finals, staged in the then West Germany, where the Scots agonisingly went out in the group stages on goal difference despite being unbeaten.

Donachie was an unused substitute as Scotland beat Zaire 2-0. Willie Ormond’s side then held Brazil to a goalless draw before ending their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Yugoslavia with Willie once more an unused substitute.

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Fast forward four years to Argentina 1978 and Scotland were again Great Britain’s sole representatives on football’s biggest stage.

The Scots had been tipped by many to prove a force to be reckoned with in Argentina and before they flew out for South America more than 30,000 turned up at Hampden Park to bid manager Ally MacLeod and the squad a spectacular farewell.

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But instead Scotland’s campaign in 1978 suffered the worst possible start from which Ally MacLeod’s team never really recovered.

Donachie was again on the substitute’s bench as Scotland went down to a shock 3-1 defeat against Peru in their tournament opener.

The left-back was then finally handed his long-awaited World Cup bow in Scotland’s second group assignment against rank outsiders Iran.

However, he and his colleagues suffered yet more frustration as the Iranian minnows somehow secured a 1-1 draw.

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That result left Donachie and his Scotland team-mates needing to beat the mighty Holland by three clear goals if they were to progress through to the knockout stages.

At last the world was given a glimpse of the real Scotland with Kenny Dalglish levelling after Holland had taken the lead before Archie Gemmill’s penalty gave the Tartan Army renewed hope with the Scots also having two goals disallowed.

Those dreams were only bolstered when Gemmill then scored one of the all-time great World Cup goals, weaving his way past three bamboozled Dutch defenders before he then dinked a delicious chip over the keeper to make it 3-1.

Sadly, Johnny Rep lashed home a stunning 30-yard strike to extinguish Scotland’s hopes and leave Donachie to reflect on what might have been. 

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