Sometimes we (and I’m probably culpable in this) are happy to talk down the Scottish game, particularly in relation to the wider world game. However, sitting in one of the executive boxes in Hampden surrounded by photos like one of Ferenc Puskas embracing Alfredo di Stefano after their Real Madrid side had defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the European Cup final at Hampden, you really had to ponder the place that a bit of Glasgow’s Southside must have forever held in the hearts of two of the world’s most iconic players.

It also made me think about Hampden matches in my own lifetime that have struck a particular chord. One of them has some resonance with this season’s Scottish Cup. Falkirk and Caley Thistle will meet in this year’s Scottish Cup final; it’s one of those finals without either of the Old Firm present that, almost by default, becomes known as The Family Final.

Again, there can be a kneejerk desire for people to talk it down, to point out the reduced pulling power of the clubs and so on. In fact though, one of the Hampden matches most strongly burned into my mind from childhood was another Family Final. A title it received for more than one reason.

In 1991, Dundee United met Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final. The reason for that FF tag wasn’t just because it was a game that would definitely be free of any songbooks transported across the Irish Sea but also because the men in the opposing dugouts were brothers: Jim McLan was manager of Dundee United, while his younger brother, Tommy, was the ’Well boss.

To add extra spice, Jim McLean was already recognised as being one of the greatest managers Scotland has ever produced. However, somewhat like a Scottish Brian Clough, the trophy which had evaded him was the national cup.

That being the set-up for the game gave it a high degree of interest to begin with but I’m sure that most people who watched that final would immediately be able to tell you what the score was and also make some reference to it becoming Scotland’s own version of the Trautmann Final.

Early in the second half, the Motherwell goalie, Ally Maxwell, was in a collision with John Clark. Bearing in mind that the aftershocks of Clark’s time on the pitch at East End Park can still occasionally be felt across Fife, you can guess that this would have created a level of discomfort for the man in the gloves.

In fact, in a time before substitute goalies, it resulted in him suffering broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and intermittent double vision. Incredibly, he played on, in obvious agony for the rest of the match. A match that included 30 minutes of extra-time before Motherwell finally clinched a 4-3 victory.

While the Bairns may not win much love in these parts, I’m still looking forward to the cup final and hoping for a match that can make the same impact on me as that one did, 24 years ago.

Though I should point out, without the serious injury to any of the players!

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