The first in a new series where we ask Hopeless Football Romantics alike, their top 10 favourite goals. What makes these moments special? It’s the personal meaning each goal has to you, the goals that shaped you, architects of your memory.
We caught up with Angus Gibson of The Lower Depths to find out his favourite goals.
As a serial list maker, this is a big deal for me. Compiling a list of my ten favourite goals of all time is second only to deciding on my Desert Island Discs selections as a way to pass the time on long away day train journeys. I’m not for a minute suggesting that these are the greatest goals of all time – one of them went wide and at least two were tap-ins. Instead, they are my favourite goals. The ones that have given me the most joy from the often miserable past time of watching football.
I’m a lifelong Celtic fan and not choosing ten Henrik Larsson goals was very hard for me. As was not choosing every goal Paddy McCourt has scored. Seriously, look him up on YouTube. He’s like the lovechild of Messi and Maradona with a penchant for Silk Cut and Blue Nun. Anyway, here are my ten favourite goals of all time. Now I await a phone call from Kirsty Young…
Zidane v youth keeper, 2011
In my student days I used to work night shifts at Hampden cleaning seats and picking up Bovril cups with a litter picker and a hi-vis jacket. Sometimes I’d walk down by the pitch and I’d look at the patch of grass where Zidane scored that volley in 2002.
Everybody’s seen that goal a hundred times, so instead we’re going to watch Zizou bully a child at an Adidas youth training session in 2011. The bald Frenchman sells the teenage goalie two exquisite dummies before nonchalantly chipping it over his head.
Bergkamp v Newcastle, 2002
When compiling this list, I was deliberately trying to avoid obvious goals. Maradona 1986, Carlos Alberto 1970, Van Basten 1988 are in every list – who wants to read ‘The 10 Greatest Albums of all Time’ to find out that Sgt Pepper’s has won yet again?
There was one I wasn’t going to miss out though – Bergkamp’s insane turn and deft finish against Newcastle in 2002. This is partly because the editors of HFR are Geordies and it will annoy them, and partly because I’ve recently become a little obsessed with the genius Dutchman. The great thing about this goal is how premeditated it is. Bergkamp is always so calm amid chaos. He sees space and movement with such clarity. For me, he’s the greatest player to ever play in the Premier League.
McFadden v Holland, 2003
Another clichéd goal is Archie Gemmill’s sublime dribble against Holland in 1978. Immortalised in Trainspotting, it’s almost as Scottish as tartan and bore draws with the Faroe Islands. In fact, as a Scotsman I feel almost traitorous overlooking it. Another very Scottish goal I’m overlooking is McFadden’s long-range volley against France in the Parc Des Princes in 2007. I prefer McFadden’s near-exact remake of Archie Gemmill’s goal against Holland in 2003. McFadden was only 20 years old, having just broken into the Motherwell team. Watch him live the dream.
Rivaldo v Valencia, 2001
No Cristiano, this is an overhead kick.
Bobby Lennox v Real Madrid, 1967
When Alfredo Di Stefano finally retired in 1967, he chose reigning European Champions Celtic as opponents for his farewell testimonial. Lesser players would have allowed the great Di Stefano the reverence he deserved in his send-off– Di Stefano’s Real Madrid side had dominated Europe for the last decade, wowing 130,000 Glaswegians in the 1960 European Cup Final.
However, Di Stefano didn’t meet lesser players; he met Jimmy Johnstone in his pomp, fresh from Lisbon, who saw a game against the famous Madrid as the perfect stage to showcase his talents. In the only goal of the game, Jinky taunts and mocks the Real defence. Weaving and bobbing, the Spanish giants are made to look like schoolboys, helplessly sliding in, trying the get within a yard of Johnstone who then slips the perfect through-ball for Lennox to glide into the net.
Rivera v West Germany, 1970
This is the winning goal of the greatest game of all time. The opening 90 minutes had been a cagey affair, with Karl-Heinz Schnellinger equalizing in the 90th minute to put the game into extra time at 1-1. What followed was an orgy of pure football. Remember when you’d have that one perfect summer day as a kid playing football in the park with your mates? This was like that, except it was the World Cup semi- final and it wasn’t your mates, it was Franz Beckenbauer,
Gerd Muller and Gianni Rivera. Beckenbauer had broken his arm earlier and was playing on in a sling, still strolling around the park. All notions of tactics had broken down and it was pure end-to-end free football; the kind of socks-rolled-down stuff that you’d find in a school playground. The clip below begins with the Germans pulling the game back to 3-3 with 5 minutes to go. The Italians kick off and immediately go up the other end and bag the winner. It’s not the prettiest or most difficult goal ever, but for sheer passion it’s hard to beat.
Pele v Uruguay, 1970
Sticking with the 1970 World Cup, we have my favourite ever miss. It’s so good I think it should count as a goal (Pele did count pretty much anything when it came to his goal tally).
Every time I watch it I still think it’s going to creep in. Everyone’s favourite Brazilian Viagra salesman receives an exquisite ball from Tostao and attempts the most audacious dummy you’ve ever seen to wrong foot the bewildered goalkeeper. Given that it was against Brazil’s great rivals Uruguay, it’s something like a combination of Souness planting the Galatasaray flag in the centre circle at Fenerbahce crossed with the Bolshoi Ballet. Sylvester Stallone’s Escape to Victory co-star then drifts wide and slots the ball past the diving Uruguayan defender on the line. No matter how many times I re-watch it, the ball always inextricably trickles wide.
Brignoli v AC Milan, 2018
This list was always going to include a goal scored by a goalkeeper.
Initially, this was a question of which Jorge Campos goal to include, but after a solid 45 minutes of YouTube highlights, luminous jerseys and terrible perms, I concluded that they were all too mental to choose between. If you haven’t seen Campos maraud through defences while still wearing his goalie gloves, like someone trying to deliberately lose a game of Fifa, then you have some catching up to do. In the meantime, here’s a recent classic of the genre. Alberto Brignoli earns underdogs Benevento their first point of the season with a last minute equaliser at the San Siro. A rare example of a keeper getting up for a last minute corner and actually doing something useful.
Albert Kidd v Hearts, 1986
I have never seen this goal. I don’t actually know anyone who has. It’s still one of the most famous goals in Scottish football, and is often referenced in everyday conversation north of the border.
Hearts led Celtic by two points on the final day of the 1985/86 season. This meant that Celtic had to beat St Mirren and hope Hearts slipped up to Dundee to win the league. A rampant Celtic side led by Brian McClair, Mo Johnstone, Danny McGrain and Paul McStay fired five goals past St Mirren, but still needed Dundee to beat Hearts. Midway through the second half at Den’s Park, Archie Knox brought on Albert Kidd who proceeded to score one, then two goals, to swing the title to Celtic.
I’ve always loved watching fans in the terraces in televised games as much as watching the game itself. The footage of the Celtic game at Love Street has one of the greatest scenes in football. At 18.35 in the video below, the camera zooms in on the St Mirren goalkeeper as the throng of fans in the Celtic end hear news of Albert Kidd’s goals on their transistor radios. Cue pandemonium and a confused St Mirren goalkeeper looking around wondering what is happening. Players, fans and the Celtic dugout – even the pitch-side photographers – temporarily forget there’s a game being played and begin the celebrations. The scenes on the terraces are absolutely incredible. Mo Johnstone also scored one of the greatest team goals you’ll ever see in this game, straight out of the Brazil 1970 textbook. Still, it’s Albert Kidd’s goal that is remembered.
Henrik Larsson v Rangers, 2000
This is it: the greatest goal of all time.
The dreadlocks, the nutmeg on Konterman, the magnitude of the game, the wild lob, the tongue out, the ball boys celebrating, the commentary – ‘THAT IS SENSATIONAL!’
Artwork: Demolition Man Henrik Larsson – Art of Football
HFR 1-6 Digital Downloads Now FREE!