IT was great being part of and watching ‘Scotland 78 – A Love Story’ and it brought back a lot of memories about the World Cup in Argentina. It certainly doesn’t seem like 40 years ago.

That was a really terrific Scotland team – just look at the individuals with the likes of Souness and Dalglish – and how we never managed to qualify is something that I still think about every now and then, especially when World Cups come around.

It was a disappointment and we should have done something. People back home looked at Iran and Peru and felt we would take full points there, although we might not beat Holland.

That should have been enough to get us second but exactly the opposite happened and we failed against them and then beat the Dutch. That is typical Scotland.

There were high hopes, but not because Ally said we were going to win it. What a load of nonsense that was.

But we felt for the first time that we could get by that group stage and then take it from there, but it just never happened.

There was belief in the support because Ally kept ramming in down their throats that we were going to win the World Cup and come back with the gold medal.

The players just looked at each other in disbelief. We couldn’t come out and say we had no chance. All we said was that we would try our best and see what happens, which any normal player would do.

But Ally had people believing we would win it. Not everyone is daft, but because it was Ally MacLeod, they believed him.

You felt as though the whole country was at Hampden to see us off, which I was embarrassed about. To see us on a bus going round the park before going to Prestwick, that was embarrassing.

There was a lot of pressure put on the players because of what the manager said but we realised ourselves we wouldn’t be anywhere near winning the World Cup.

Ally admitted what was his biggest mistake in that he never went to see the opposition. I remember Roughie said to me he asked him ‘at free-kicks in and around the box, have they got anyone that is special?’

The answer was ‘no, nothing that I have seen’. Then, of course, Cubillas sticks it in the top corner with the outside of his boot. We never recovered.

There was a lot going on off the park and there was a lot written and that is still fresh in my mind. In the end, we were delighted to get home.

When we realised we never made it against Holland, we just wanted home. You should feel disappointed that you didn’t qualify, but there was that much rubbish spoken and written about us we just wanted the whole thing to be over.

I hadn’t seen some of the things about Willie Johnston. At the time, we had no idea that Wee Bud had gone because he was just taken away.

They came to his room, knocked his door and he was off with the policemen beside him to take him to the airport.

It wasn’t handled well at all. The off-field stuff was terrible and I don’t think Ernie Walker did himself any favours.

He blamed Willie and said if we were in competitions we wanted to win fairly, as if he was guilty already.

There were six other players that took the same thing, but not one of them came forward and said ‘look, we actually took that as well’. He took the fall for everybody.

After that, I think the attitude changed. On the bus to the third game against Holland, we parked outside the ground and Ally got all the directors off and kept the players on.

He ran through the team and said ‘you know what to do, just go out and play’. We ended up winning the game.

Everyone went out and gave their all but we knew ourselves it would be the last game and we would be home soon.

It was all the more disappointing for me because I never got a game. It was my best season and I didn’t get a look in.

I won six trophies that season. I won the Treble with Rangers, the Player of the Year, the Writers’ Player of the Year and the Shoot Magazine Player of the Year.

Getting a game for Scotland at the World Cup would have topped my season off, but it never happened, for whatever reason. That was a huge disappointment for me.

Ally never explained that to me. I remember speaking to him before we left and I said ‘Ally, I have got 41 goals this season, but if anything happens to a defender I can play centre-half as well’.

He took the huff at that and said ‘I will decide where you are playing, not you’. I was just saying that it wouldn’t be a problem and I would play anywhere I was needed.

I said to myself I maybe shouldn’t have said that to him. Maybe I should have known then that I wouldn’t get a game.

Wee Joe Harper, who is my pal, wasn’t involved in the first game. He was doing co-commentary with Arthur Montford.

He comes in for the second game rather than me and that was a real kick in the teeth for me. I knew that I had no chance of playing.

Sometimes managers like you and sometimes they don’t. Ally obviously didn’t like me.

The manager just seemed lost. Whenever changes had to be made, he didn’t do it at the right time and he seemed to freeze.

You see some of the pictures of him when the game is going on and it is as if he didn’t want to be there, like he was in another world.

He was eccentric, we all know that, but by the end he didn’t want to be there either. I think he had had enough.

One story that wasn’t in the programme was when Ally was having his press conference before the Holland game and he said with the results and the way the fans had been, he didn’t have a friend in the world.

There was a wee dog sitting beside him. He said that was the only friend he had in Argentina. He put his hand down to clap it, and it bit him.

It wasn’t funny, but it was funny. That probably summed up his time out there.

The whole thing was just a huge disappointment. Never mind me individually, that’s life, but for the team and the country it was a huge anti-climax.

It was the way it panned out for a very good squad and it just never transpired for us unfortunately.

All these years on, Scotland still haven’t been out of the groups. Right now, we would just love the chance to get caught up in the World Cup hype once again.