Gothenburg Great John McMaster today revealed Sir Alex Ferguson gave him the freedom and confidence to attempt the free-kick that was the catalyst for Euro dominance in 1983.
Trailing German giants Bayern Munich 2-1 with only 13 minutes remaining the Dons were facing an exit from the Cup Winners’ Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Due to the away goals rule, following a 0-0 draw in Munich, the Dons needed to score another two in the tie on March 16 1983.
Step up McMaster and Gordon Strachan, who deliberately “messed up” a free-kick.
An audacious moment of trickery on Pittodrie’s greatest ever night, their team-mates knew what was coming – but Bayern switched off.
The Germans, winners of the European Cup over three successive seasons from 1974 to 76, were punished as Strachan crossed to pick out Alex McLeish, who headed home.
Dons legend McMaster, 65, said: “It was always on our minds to do something like that because the boss and Archie (Knox, assistant manager) were always coming up with ideas like that.
“They also left free-kicks to our own imagination and then it was up to you to deliver.
“Gordon and I both had good delivery and trusted one another.
“It was the wee man who said as soon as I put the ball down we are messing this up.
“As soon as Mark (McGhee), Alex (McLeish) and Eric (Black) saw that they knew what was coming and knew to go with the dummy run and not go offside.
“We had worked that a couple of times before in the league and it had nearly came off.
“It finally came off at the most magnificent time of our life and in the history of the club.
“The Germans couldn’t believe that we worked that.
“Seemingly they were all up Union Street the day before the tie buying antiques.
“That was how easy they thought it was. Even after we had gubbed them nothing each over in the Olympic Stadium. They were so cocky. But they weren’t cocky in the last 10 minutes.”
McMaster and Strachan started their runs, bumped into each other and turned away in frustration. Strachan quickly turned back and whipped the ball over to McLeish, to Bayern’s dismay.
Pittodrie went wild and suddenly supporters sensed something special could happen.
McMaster said: “Bayern were still favourites to go through after that equaliser due to the away goal.
“However, Bayern reacted badly to conceding.
“From the restart the Germans were still looking at each other and they lost possession.
“The ball came to me in the wide left area just inside their half and I hit one of those diagonals I used to deliver towards the back post for Eric.
“The goalie tipped it on to the bar and it came off and John Hewitt ran in and did the rest.
“That was within two minutes – suddenly it was 3-2.”
The Dons would go on to reach the final by defeating Belgians Waterschei 5-1 at Pittodrie before losing 1-0 away.
On a rainy night in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Dons defeated world giants Real Madrid 2-1 after extra-time with Black and Hewitt netting.
Aberdeen’s dominance of European football was completed in December when defeating European Cup champions Hamburg 2-0 on aggregate to lift the Super Cup.
Following a 0-0 draw in Germany the Dons triumphed at Pittodrie with second-half goals from Neil Simpson and Mark McGhee.
McMaster said: “We were the best team in Europe that year, if not the world.
“Bayern Munich were a massive team who had won the European Cup three times a few years earlier. But we beat them.
“Real Madrid were one of the most successful teams in the world and we defeated them.
“Then we overcame Hamburg, who were dominating German football at the time and were European Cup holders.
“They were three superpowers with great players, but we got the better of them all.”