Hero of 1990 Brian Irvine relives moment he secured Scottish Cup glory for Aberdeen



For lifelong Dons fan Brian Irvine, converting the penalty to win Aberdeen the Scottish Cup was the ultimate high.

Today marks 30 years since the Reds last won the tournament with Irvine’s spot-kick giving them a 9-8 victory on penalties against Celtic following a 0-0 draw at Hampden.

Having grown up an Aberdeen supporter, the defender, who spent 12 years at Pittodrie, still cherishes the memories of May 12 1990.

Three decades on 54-year-old Irvine said: “It’s the ultimate thing for me because I was an Aberdeen supporter on the pitch.

“Normally if there’s an Aberdeen supporter on the park at Hampden they’d get arrested!

“But I was so lucky to play for the club and as a fan getting a chance to play for Aberdeen in the final and help them win the Scottish Cup by hitting the winning penalty is something that will live with me for the rest of my life.

“It was the ultimate joy for me really to have that part in winning the Scottish Cup.

“I could never have dreamed things would unfold like they did that day.

“To be a fan on the pitch and have an influence on Aberdeen winning the Scottish Cup and be remembered for that even years later gives you a great feeling of joy and satisfaction.”

Irvine had his moment of glory after a marathon shoot-out.

Celtic’s Pat Bonner (left) watches as Aberdeen’s Brian Irvine celebrates after scoring the winning penalty during sudden death shoot-out.

Dariusz Wdowczyk had missed for Celtic in the regulation five spot-kicks with Brian Grant doing likewise for Aberdeen.

With the score at 4-4 Joe Miller, Derek Whyte, Paul Elliott and Dariusz Dziekanowski netted for the Hoops in sudden death and Alex McLeish, Stewart McKimmie, David Robertson and Graham Watson replied for the Dons.

Then Reds keeper Theo Snelders saved Anton Rogan’s effort from 12 yards and Irvine was left with the task of beating Pat Bonner to win the cup.

He added: “Once it went to penalties I was hoping my job was done and I would just be watching the shoot-out.

“Even once it went to sudden death I still didn’t think I’d be involved because I wasn’t a good penalty taker and I hadn’t volunteered.

“I’d never taken a penalty as a professional in a game or a shoot-out. I’d hit a few in tr

aining and missed and hit a few as a boy and missed so I was never confident of scoring.

“I can take the credit for hitting the winning penalty, but the real credit goes to the guys that kept their cool in sudden death and to Theo Snelders.

Brian Irvine, right, with Theo Snelders, Alex McLeish and the Scottish Cup.

“Alex, Stewart, David and Graham all scored to keep us in the shoot-out then Theo makes a wonderful save from Anton Rogan and that was the winner really.

“It gave me the confidence going forward knowing I could win the cup rather than needing to score to keep us in the shoot-out.

“I was in a fortunate situation because even if I hadn’t scored we’d still have had a chance and that was down to the guys before me and Theo’s great save.

“Despite not being confident I was a lot more positive because of Theo’s save. If I’d had to score to stop us losing it might have been a different story because that’s a different kind of pressure.”

Alex Smith and Jocky Scott’s side also won the League Cup that season. Irvine came on as a sub in the final win over Rangers, but an injury to Willie Miller gave him his chance in the Scottish Cup final.

Miller played with Irvine in the final Premier Division game of the season – a 3-1 win over Celtic at Parkhead – but on the way back from that game co-manager Smith assured Irvine he would start the final in central defence alongside McLeish.

Aberdeen’s route to 1990 Scottish Cup – the last time the Dons lifted the national trophy

He said: “Willie would always have played ahead of myself if it had been a level playing field.

“But at that time Willie was getting towards the end of his career and was trying to come back from injury. I’d been playing ahead of him and that gave me a bit of impetus.

“What Alex Smith did was great because it gave me the confidence knowing unless I got injured in training I’d play in the final. He put my mind at rest.”


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