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Aberdeen great Hans Gillhaus reveals why he missed the 1990 Scottish Cup winning open top bus parade

Aberdeen legends Theo Snelders, Alex McLeish and Hans Gillhaus with the Scottish Cup in 1990.
Aberdeen legends Theo Snelders, Alex McLeish and Hans Gillhaus with the Scottish Cup in 1990.

Legend Hans Gillhaus had to miss Aberdeen’s Scottish Cup winning homecoming parade to realise his World Cup dream.

Pittodrie great Gillhaus starred in the Scottish Cup penalty shoot-out defeat of Celtic at Hampden in 1990.

The cup glory was marked by an open top bus parade through the city centre in front of more than 100,000 supporters.

However, there was one notable absentee.

Dutch international Gillhaus missed the celebrations because he had to jet out the day after the final to join the World Cup squad.

As the Granite City partied Gillhaus remained in Glasgow awaiting a flight back to the Netherlands.

Union Street is thronged by jubilant supporters as they welcome the Hampden heroes home. 1990 Scottish Cup Final. Aberdeen v Celtic. 

Gillhaus said: “Winning the Scottish Cup final was a great feeling.

“However I was then told about the bus drive through Aberdeen to celebrate the cup win – and I had to miss it.

“To celebrate a cup win is always a special thing but I couldn’t be there.

“I had to be in Holland the next day to start preparations for the World Cup.

“So I stayed down in Glasgow before flying home.

“I missed the open top bus parade through Aberdeen which was a real shame.

“I saw the pictures of the parade afterwards and it looked amazing.

“All the people in Aberdeen looked to be there.”

Aberdeen celebrate winning the Scottish Cup final in 1990. From the left, Charlie Nicholas, Jim Bett, Bobby Connor, Alex McLeish with the cup and David Robertson.

Record signing World Cup bound

Gillhaus signed in November 1989 from PSV Eindhoven for an Aberdeen record fee of £650,000.

He had won the European Cup with PSV the previous season, beating Benfica 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

The 1990 Scottish Cup triumph remains the last time Aberdeen lifted the trophy.

Gillhaus held his nerve to net the Dons’ third penalty in the shoot-out.

As the Dons celebrated the cup glory in the Granite City Gillhaus met up with a Dutch squad that were one of the favourites to win the World Cup.

He would start group games against England (0-0) and Republic of Ireland (1-1).

The Dutch exited at the last 16 stage, losing 2-1 to eventual winners West Germany.

Gillhaus was introduced as a substitute in that game in the 79th minute.

Just 18 months before signing for Aberdeen Gillhaus had won the treble with PSV.

In a memorable campaign, the club added the Dutch league and cup double to the European Cup.

Why Gillhaus signed for Aberdeen

However he struggled to secure a regular slot after PSV signed Brazilian legend and future World Cup winner Romario.

Gillhaus switched to Aberdeen in a bid to secure first team football.

It couldn’t have gone any better with a trophy and place in the World Cup squad within eight months of arriving at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen’s Hans Gillhaus (left) sees his shot beat Dundee United goalkeeper Alan Main for the fourth goal in the 1990 Scottish Cup semi-final.

He said: “Before signing for Aberdeen I had a very good meeting with Alex Smith (manager) and he convinced me to come.

“I also had contact with Theo Snelders (Aberdeen’s Dutch keeper) who I knew already.

“There were a couple of players already there and I spoke with them and they were all very positive.

“They said the Aberdeen team is already very good – it is just in need of more power up front.

“I knew Charlie Nicholas by name which made it very interesting for me to come and play with a player like that.

“And to start elevating.”

Hans Gillhaus scored a last-minute winner against Rangers at Pittodrie in 1989.

One of the great Aberdeen debuts

Aberdeen had already won the League Cup, beating Rangers 2-0 in the final, the month before Gillhaus was signed.

He added an extra dimension to an already potent Aberdeen attack.

Signing a European Cup winner for a club record fee was a mark of the Dons’ intentions.

That it was money well spent became apparent within 12 minutes of his debut when he scored an audacious over-head kick.

In that 3-0 defeat of Dunfermline he also netted a header to put them two up early on.

It was one of the most explosive debuts ever by an Aberdeen signing.

As if that wasn’t an exciting enough entrance four days later he scored a superb 20 yard winner in a defeat of Rangers at Pittodrie.

He said: “Scoring those goals against Dunfermline was a great start for me.

“I had only been there for a couple of training sessions before that game.

“Then ‘boom’  it was straight away a very good start.

“That was because the team was good already.

“I was at Aberdeen for two-and-a-half years and they were fantastic years.

“I am still in contact with some of the Aberdeen players which says a lot about my time there.”

Top scouting role for Dons legend

Now 58, Gilhaus has scouted for clubs including Arsenal and Sunderland in recent years.

In July he will take on the role of international scout for Italian Serie A side Atalanta Bergamo.

Gillhaus went straight from cup final glory at the end of the domestic campaign to international duty in 1990.

It will be the same scenario for Scotland duo Andy Robertson and Scott McKenna.

Scotland captain Robertson started for Liverpool in the 1-0 Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on Saturday.

The left-back will lead the Scots out at Hampden on Wednesday in the World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine.

Former Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna also met up with the Scotland squad immediately after a cup final.

Aberdeen legend Hans Gillhaus celebrates scoring in the 1989-90 season.

McKenna started the play-off final at Wembley on Sunday for Nottingham Forest.

Forest’s 1-o win secured promotion to the Premier League.

Should Scotland defeat Ukraine they will set up a clash with Wales in the play-off final in Cardiff on Sunday.

Gillhaus cheering on Scotland

Gillhaus will be cheering on Scotland in the play-offs – hoping the nation can qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1998.

Aberdeen legend Hans Gillhaus lit up Scottish football following his £650,000 transfer from PSV Eindhoven.

He said: “I support Holland, then I support Scotland and Japan because I played there as well.

“Those are the other two countries I always follow with extra attention.

“It would be great if Scotland could get to the World Cup.

“The game against Ukraine will be exciting.

“Scotland can do it. It is always a great experience to play at a major tournament like a World Cup.

“That gives players vital experience.”