'It is actually almost like a dream' - After 40 years, Pat Nevin uncovers footage of Scotland's historic European Under-18 Championships final win

Former Motherwell player and chief executive Pat Nevin has broadcast the heartwarming tale about how – after an exhaustive hunt – he found TV footage of the final of Scotland under-18s’ European Championship triumph of 40 years ago.

Pat Nevin now works at football matches as a broadcaster for BBC Radio (Pic by by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Pat Nevin now works at football matches as a broadcaster for BBC Radio (Pic by by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Nevin, now 58, was then an 18-year-old winger with Clyde when part of the Andy Roxburgh-led team which triumphed at the tournament in Finland in 1982, which remains the only time a Scotland national football team has won a major professional honour.

Despite the high significance of the win in the overall history of Scottish sport, media coverage of it 40 years ago was scant as most football headlines were being devoted to the senior Scotland team’s participation in that summer’s World Cup finals in Spain.

This lack of information inspired Nevin to undertake an extensive research project to try and uncover footage of the young Scots’ 3-1 final win over Czechoslovakia under-18s – in which he scored a stunner to put Scotland 2-0 up – which he had never seen before on video.

And Nevin’s campaign was chronicled superbly in 45-minute documentary ‘The Lost Final’ which was screened on the BBC Scotland channel last Sunday.

When presenting the show, Nevin told how his quest to find TV coverage of the 1982 had been littered with disappointments, as visits to the BBC video archive studio and emails to Finnish television had been unsuccessful in trying to find the coveted footage in which Scotland’s other two final goals were scored by John Philliben – another ex-Motherwell player – and future Hearts legend Gary Mackay.

During the programme he was filmed interviewing several ‘well kent’ Scottish football figures including team boss Roxburgh, journalist Chick Young – who covered the 1982 European Under-18 Championships as a newspaper journalist – and several Scotland youth team-mates like captain Paul McStay and future Dundee United legends Dave Bowman and Jim McInally.

Comfortable Group D wins over Albania (3-0) and Turkey (2-0) were followed by a 1-1 draw against a Holland team containing future all-time great Marco van Basten.

This was enough for Scotland to top the group from the Dutch on goal difference and qualify for a semi-final against Poland which they won 2-0.

There then followed the fantastic final victory over Czechoslovakia, which received nowhere near the publicity it deserved in the Scottish press.

Nevin, who was voted Player of the Tournament 40 years ago, was seen to be visibly moved at the end of the show when an email to Czech television resulted in an immediate reply saying that they DID have footage of the final.

Watching a 40-second TV news item – including all the final goals – left Nevin visibly moved.

He said: “It is actually almost like a dream. It's something I kind of half remembered, it’s actually loads better.”

The show ended with an emotional Hampden reunion as the 1982 team watched the final goals.