Raith Rovers: Ex-defender Robbie Raeside reminisces about 'ridiculous' experience of taking on German giants Bayern Munich in 1995

Ex-Raith Rovers defender Robbie Raeside has recounted the “ridiculous” occasion when Rovers took on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup 28 years ago and he spotted his opposite number on the German giants’ bench for the first leg at Easter Road was French great Jean-Pierre Papin.
Robbie Raeside pictured playing for Raith Rovers in the 1990s (Pic by Bill Dickman)Robbie Raeside pictured playing for Raith Rovers in the 1990s (Pic by Bill Dickman)
Robbie Raeside pictured playing for Raith Rovers in the 1990s (Pic by Bill Dickman)

Papin, who scored 30 times for France in 54 games and had starred for Marseille and AC Milan, was part of a formidable Bayern side – also with goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, left-back Christian Ziege, midfielder Mehmet Scholl and striker Jurgen Klinsmann – who won 2-0 against Raith thanks to Klinsmann’s double in front of 14,500 fans in the second-round opening leg on October 17, 1995.

Jimmy Nicholl’s Rovers – in Europe after famously winning the Coca-Cola Cup the previous season – had beaten opposition from the Faroe Islands and Iceland in the previous two rounds and competed well throughout the tie against Bayern, even taking the lead through Danny Lennon in the second leg in Munich – but they conceded twice in the second half to go out 4-1 on aggregate.

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And Raeside, 51, who signed a schoolboy form with Raith in 1987 before making 55 league appearances for the club between 1990 and 1996, told the Fife Free Press: “They were good times at Raith and enjoyable times. Although I had injuries, it was good to be part of the whole thing.

“The European experience, playing Bayern Munich, it was just ridiculous. I remember Jimmy Nicholl going through the Bayern team before the game at Easter Road and slaughtering them! Big Ally Graham (Raith striker) responded by saying ‘Aye right!’

“Looking at the teamsheet before that home leg against Bayern, I was number 15 and Bayern Munich’s number 15 on the bench was Jean-Pierre Papin. I remember bursting out laughing at that!”

Although Raeside then missed out on a Raith squad place for the return leg in Munich, he did watch from within the stadium as Rovers sensationally took the lead.

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He added: “It was a tremendous experience. I remember all the flashlights coming from the Raith end with everybody taking pictures of the scoreboard which read FC Bayern 0-1 Raith Rovers FC at half-time.

“I was in the dressing room at half-time and Jimmy Nicholl burst out laughing! He couldn’t believe it.”

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