In the midst of Aberdeen’s 1980 title celebrations Drew Jarvie received an apology from manager Alex Ferguson.
Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the Dons’ first Premier Division title success under Fergie, secured with a 5-0 win over Hibs at Easter Road.
Former Reds attacker Jarvie netted 15 goals in all competitions that season, including seven in eight games during the title run-in. But he was left on the bench the day the championship was sealed and Jarvie revealed after the game the legendary Aberdeen manager apologised for not putting him on.
However, Jarvie certainly wasn’t bitter about it on the day when the Dons won the league for the first time since 1955.
Jarvie, now 71, said: “I was on the bench and Andy Watson started instead of myself.
“Fergie apologised to me on the bus on the way home and said he should have put me on.
“I think in whole euphoria of the occasion and the way the game was going he probably just forgot.
“To be honest I was watching the game and not thinking about getting on either because we were watching the game so happy with how it was going and knowing we were on the way to winning the league.
“I started the last game of the season against Partick Thistle and the Hibs game was one of those things where it was a great win and everybody got caught up in the euphoria.
“I was first on the pitch to celebrate with everyone.
“I knew I’d done my bit that season as well, scoring important goals in the run-in. I went on a run of seven goals in eight games during that run-in.”
Jarvie says earlier that season Ferguson had already shown he was adept at managing his squad and getting the best out of them.
The Scotland international added: “I wasn’t annoyed with Fergie or anything. I wasn’t getting any younger and we had the last game in midweek so he maybe did the right thing to leave me out.
“I’d scored five goals in five games and we played Kilmarnock. He put me on the bench and said he was giving me a break because he needed me for the next game against Celtic at Parkhead in midweek (2-1 win on April 5). Then we played that game and I scored so I couldn’t argue with that decision. His plan worked perfectly and it was probably the same with the Hibs game.
“Fergie was great with me. I learned a lot from him and he was so ambitious and a real winner. All these things helped the team as well.”
Jarvie reckons Ferguson made the difference for Aberdeen when it came to instilling the belief and mentality to break the Old Firm stranglehold.
But he believes the managers who were in charge prior to Ferguson’s arrival at Pittodrie in 1978 also deserve credit for helping to build the squad who won the league.
Jarvie said: “The previous managers, right back to Jimmy Bonthrone, had built us up.
“Jimmy signed me (in 1972) then Ally MacLeod came in and signed a few good players like Stuart Kennedy and brought Joe Harper back to the club.
“Billy McNeill came in and signed the likes of Gordon Strachan and Steve Archibald.
“Alex Ferguson came in and added to it again with the likes of Mark McGhee and even though we changed managers we kept doing well and were finishing second in the league.
“Fergie had older players like myself and then younger players like John Hewitt, Neil Simpson, Neale Cooper and Eric Black who took the club forward in the 80s.
“The previous managers had a part in us winning the league in 1980 because of the work they’d put in. The team that won the league was built up over a number of years.”