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Archibald "Archie" Gemmill (born 24 March 1947 in Paisleymarker, Renfrewshire) is a Scottish former footballer, most famous for a goal he scored against the Netherlands in the 1978 FIFA World Cup. The goal is so famous that it overshadows a successful career in which he won three English league titles and captained his national side.

Club career

Gemmill’s early career at St Mirren was ruined by a succession of injuries, not least a broken ankle in early 1966. He was sent on to replace Jim Clunie on 13 August 1966 in a Scottish League Cup tie at Shawfieldmarker to become the first tactical substitute in Scottish football history. Gemmill was sold for £13,000 to Preston North End, where he came to the attention of Peter Taylor, Derby County's assistant manager, who then told Brian Clough, the manager of Derby County, about Gemmill, who had been considering signing for the reigning champions Everton. Clough saw him as a player who could pass well and had the type of energy that would drive an attack forward. Clough drove to Gemmill’s house and when the player refused to sign for Derby, who had never won the league title, Clough told him that he was going to sleep outside in the car. "But," says Gemmill, "my wife invited him in and he stayed the night”. Clough, eventually, got his man for £60,000 over fried eggs the following morning.

Gemmill scored only three goals for the Rams that season, but they became Football League champions the following year. He was suspended for the controversial 1973 European Cup semi-final, but he became club captain in place of the injured Roy McFarland when the Rams won their second title in 1975. He made 324 appearances in total for the club and scored 25 goals.

After moving on to Nottingham Forest, Clough sought to take the nucleus of Derby's championship-winning side with him. Along with John O'Hare and John McGovern, Gemmill was part of a midfield unit that was to achieve great success in England and Europe. He signed for Nottingham Forest in September 1977 for £25,000. Gemmill was used by Forest as a passer of the ball, helping to put into place a dangerous counter-attacking plan.

He played 58 times for Forest in the league, scoring three goals. He was integral to the success of the club in the late 1970s, but was surprisingly dropped for the 1979 European Cup Final. Gemmill referred to the decision later:

This led to a split between Clough and Gemmill, which led to him signing for Birmingham City. He made his debut on 18 August 1979 in a 4–3 defeat at home to Fulham. He played 97 League matches for the Blues, scoring 12 goals. In early 1982, Gemmill crossed the Atlantic to play for the Jacksonville Tea Men of the NASL. He only stayed for one season - playing 32 league games. In September 1982, he joined up with former team mate and club manager Larry Lloyd at Wigan Athletic, but only stayed for 11 matches before going back to Derby County as player-coach to become Peter Taylor’s first signing for the club in 1982. He retired from playing in 1984.

International career

Gemmill's famous goal
Gemmill played 43 times and scored 8 goals for Scotland. He captained the national side on no fewer than 22 occasions. Gemmill's most celebrated moment was his goal against the Netherlands in a Group D fixture at the 1978 World Cup. Scotland needed to win the game by three goals to qualify for the next stage of the tournament, having had very poor results in their first two games. With his team leading 2–1 in the 68th minute, Gemmill scored a goal which was described by The Scotsman as follows:

The goal has been translated into song [119742], dance [119743] as well as its mention in the movie Trainspotting, in which characters Tommy and Lizzie make love while watching a homemade porno film, only to see it has been replaced with a football tape called "100 Great Goals" which features Gemmill's strike. At the same time, Renton (Ewan McGregor), who had switched the tapes in their cases and borrowed Tommy and Lizzie's tape, says after climaxing during sex, Gemmill first saw Trainspotting on a club outing with Rotherham, and his reaction was:

Unfortunately for Scotland, three minutes later Johnny Rep scored for the Netherlands, and the game ended 3–2, denying Scotland a spot in the second round. Rep’s effort was deflected off Gemmill’s outstretched leg and flew past Alan Rough’s dive. Nonetheless, Gemmill's goal is regularly rated as amongst the greatest goals ever scored in the World Cup.

After playing

Gemmill returned to Nottingham Forest to be a coach alongside Brian Clough in 1984. He then managed Rotherham United for two seasons in the mid 1990s.

His son Scot Gemmill became a Scotland player in the 1990s. In 1970, Archie drove his pregnant wife back to Scotland to ensure that Scot would be born there. Archie became unhappy that Scot was selected for squads but was rarely used in games. He eventually told Scot to stop making himself available for selection, but Scot disagreed and continued to play for Scotland until late in his career.

Archie Gemmill is now the manager of the Scotland national under-19 football team. Under his management the team finished second in the 2006 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship and qualified for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

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