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WORLD CUP 78 TEAM IN NEW DRUG CLAIMS; Holland goal hero Gemmill says Johnston was scapegoat.

Byline: By Steven Ventura

FOOTBALL hero Archie Gemmill has claimed his Scotland team-mates took drugs at the 1978 World Cup.

In his new autobiography, Gemmill says shamed winger Willie Johnston - who was sent home after failing a dope test - was not the only guilty player.

And he accuses three other stars of popping banned pills at the tournament in Argentina.

Last night, former international team-mates Kenny Dalglish and Alan Rough cast doubt on the claims - made in the book Both Sides Of The Border Ex-Nottingham Forest hero Gemmill, 58, says the episode with Johnston sparked panic in coach Ally MacLeod's Scotland camp.

In the book, Gemmill - whose wonder goal against Holland wasn't enough to prevent Scotland crashing out in '78 - recalls: "Willie took all the blame but it is most certainly true that three others took the same pep pills.

"I saw the guys openly taking them in the changing rooms.

"It was something that, seemingly, quite a few people did, but it was the first time I had seen itHe adds: "To this day, I don't know why they took pills. I suppose it was meant to give you a more energy.

"At the time, myself and a lot of the other players said to them, 'Just how stupid can you be?'.

"At the hotel where we stayed, the toilets were almost flushed dry with the tablets going down the loo."

However, Dalglish, who shared a dressing room with Gemmill in Argentina, says the claims are unfounded.

He said: "He would have to substantiate that. It's the first I have heard of this.

"I certainly don't know of anybody taking that stuff."

And Rough, the Scotland keeper at the time, added: "I can say 100 per cent that I never saw any of the lads taking the stimulant.

"We were all shocked at the time when we heard Willie was being sent home."

Johnston, who now runs a pub in Kirkcaldy, has always maintained the drug was only for his hay fever

CAPTION(S):

BOOK: Gemmill, top, and Johnston, above
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 5, 2005
Words:341
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