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Aberdeen could have won more than two European trophies, says Gothenburg Great Neil Simpson

Aberdeen players celebrate their 
 Super Cup triumph
l to r: John McMaster, Neil Simpson, Alex McLeish, Dougie Bell, John Hewitt, Eric Black, Stewart McKimmie
Aberdeen players celebrate their Super Cup triumph l to r: John McMaster, Neil Simpson, Alex McLeish, Dougie Bell, John Hewitt, Eric Black, Stewart McKimmie

Almost four decades on from their Super Cup triumph, Aberdeen remain the only Scottish club to win two Euro trophies.

However club legend Neil Simpson believes the Gothenburg Greats were so good they could have added to that Euro silverware tally.

Today marks the 38th anniversary since Aberdeen secured the European Super Cup with a 2-0 defeat of SV Hamburg at Pittodrie.

December 20, 1983 is a landmark day in the nation’s football history as the Dons became the only Scottish club to lift a second Euro trophy.

Having drawn 0-0 with European Cup winners Hamburg in Germany the Dons finished the job at a sell-out Pittodrie.

Broadcast live to more than 80 countries from the Granite City, midfielder Simmy netted the first goal.

Just six months earlier Aberdeen had lifted the European Cup Winner’s Cup with a 2-1 extra-time defeat of Real Madrid.

Aberdeen players celebrate their triumph Back row (l to r): Dougie Bell, Jim Leighton, John Hewitt, Alex McLeish, Neil Simpson, Peter Weir, Stewart McKimmie. Front row (l to r): Willie Miller, John McMaster, Gordon Strachan, Mark McGhee, Eric Black

In defence of that Cup Winners’ Cup title, the Dons would reach the semi-final the following season in 1984.

Ultimately Aberdeen’s bid to retain the trophy ended when losing 2-0 on aggregate to Portuguese side Porto.

Now Pathways Manager at Aberdeen, Simpson believes that legendary Dons side should have added more European trophies.

Aberdeen captain Willie Miller (left) and Gordon Strachan celebrate Super Cup glory.

He said: “We definitely could have won another European trophy.

“We felt unbeatable at times. It was a collective as everyone did their jobs and we also had the great man (Sir Alex Ferguson) at the helm.

“After winning the Cup Winners’ Cup we got to the semi-final the following season.

“We missed a couple of chances against Porto in the semi.

“We just needed a spark in the semi.

“Peter (Weir) came on as a substitute against Porto but wasn’t fully fit.

“That was the missing link for us as Peter could provide the crosses and take players on.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be although Porto were some team with quality players.

“If we had won the league title in ’83 then we would have been in the European Cup the following season.

“I think we could have given it a real go then.

“That would have been our time. We had already gone toe to toe with the European Cup champions in 83 and beaten them.

“So,” he laughed, “we did not bad.”

A goal that ignited Simmy’s form

SV Hamburg had won back to back German Bundesliga titles and also defeated Juventus in the European Cup final.

The Super Cup first leg was played at the Volkspark Stadion on November 22.

Alex Ferguson had learnt much about the German style of football in beating Bayern Munich in the European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final earlier that year.

The respective captains exchange pennants before the start of the match. (Aberdeen Journals)

In the return leg at a sold-out Pittodrie, the Dons went ahead early in the second half with Simmy netting.

Rampaging winger Peter Weir made a 60 yard drive down the left flank before crossing into the box.

John Hewitt latched onto the cross to set up Simmy to score from close range.

After 64 minutes Aberdeen struck again when Weir’s corner was played back along the face of goal by captain Willie Miller for Mark McGhee to convert.

Neil Simpson scores a great opening goal in the Super Cup. (Aberdeen Journals)

Aberdeen went on to dominate the rest of the match and could have won by a more emphatic score.

Simmy, 60, said: “I hadn’t been in great form myself before that game at Pittodrie.

“When I scored that goal I really shook off that drop in form from then until the end of the season.

“I wasn’t playing badly, but I wasn’t hitting the levels I had the previous season.

“That goal seemed to be a release and  a starting point for me.

“Then we went on to win the league and the Scottish Cup that season.”

Wing wizard destroyed Hamburg

Wing wizard Weir, a player designed for alliteration and rampaging runs, was sensational against Hamburg.

Weir was so dominant against the European Cup winners’ legend Manfred Kaltz, the right-back up against him that night, was substituted after 68 minutes.

The previous year Kaltz  had played in the World Cup final for West Germany, losing 3-1 to Italy.

The clincher . . . Mark McGhee slots home the Dons second goal in the 64th minute.

Capped 69 times, Kaltz had won the European Championship with West Germany in 1980.

In a memorable night for Weir, his wife also gave birth to baby son Stuart.

He didn’t know his son was born until after full-time.

Simmy said: “Peter absolutely destroyed German international Manfred Kaltz that night.

“I think the white handkerchief came up – ‘Oh no. It’s Peter Weir again’.

“Peter also had the joy of his son being born that day as well.

“I remember Ian Taggart coming down to tell Peter he was a dad.

“It was a full-house as well, just days before  Christmas. It was a great night.”

Eric Black gets in a shot despite the attentions of the Hamburg defenders. (Aberdeen Journals)

Subject to a trick quiz question

Simpson’s opening goal against Hamburg also led to the Pittodrie legend being subject to a popular quiz question.

Which Scottish player has scored in a European quarter-final, semi-final and final in the same calendar year?

Simmy scored in the 3-2 European Cup Winners’ Cup second leg quarter-final defeat of Bayern Munich at Pittodrie.

That strike was followed by a goal in the 5-1 first leg defeat of Waterschei in the semi.

He said: “That’s actually a quiz question.

“There won’t be many Scotsmen who scored in a European quarter-final, a semi and a final – although I think Kenny Dalglish also did it.

“That’s where people get confused as they think Simpson didn’t play in the Cup Winners’ Cup final so it can’t be him.

“But if you say in the calendar year – it’s a wee trick question.”

Aberdeen’s Super Cup heroes  wait to receive their medals after beating SV Hamburg (Aberdeen Journals)

Aberdeen played in white at Pittodrie

Although the home side Aberdeen played in white with Hamburg in red at Pittodrie.

Why were the Dons in white?

“I haven’t a clue,” he said.

“Although I love a white kit and really enjoyed playing in it.

“I just felt stronger in the white kit – I don’t know why but I just felt stronger.”

Hamburg keeper Stein and John Hewitt go for the ball in the Super Cup second leg.

Celebrations curtailed after triumph

A second European trophy in a year, Weir’s newly born baby boy and Christmas just days away.

Yet there were no real celebrations for the Dons.

They had a game on Christmas Eve, which they won, beating St Mirren 3-0 away.

Besides, they had already been well warned by the manager.

The Dons defensive giants – Alex McLeish and Willie Miller – celebrate in the dressing room. (Aberdeen Journals)

Simmy said: “We went for a few drinks after but nothing too bad.

“We had been warned because Fergie went to town on everyone after we went out after the quarter final against Bayern Munich.

“He said we hadn’t won anything yet but yet you’re out celebrating.”

ABERDEEN: Leighton, McKimmie, McMaster, Simpson, McLeish, Miller, Strachan, Hewitt (Black 65), McGhee, Bell, Weir

SV HAMBURG: Stein, Kaltz (Hansen 68), Jakobs, Hieronymous, Wehemeyer, Groh, Schroder, Hartwig, Magath, Rolff,  Schatzschneider (Wutke 41)

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