Thomas "TC" Campbell and Joseph Steele looked shocked when the Lord Justice Clerk Lord Cullen rejected their appeal at Edinburgh High Court, which was heard before television cameras.
Both men had been jailed for life in 1984 after being found guilty of setting fire to a house in Glasgow which belonged to an ice-cream van driver.
Six people died in the blaze which it was claimed related to a war for control of the ice-cream business in the city's East End.
But Campbell, 45, and Steele, 36, both protested their innocence. Steele has twice escaped from jail to make his case.
In August 1996, the Secretary of State referred the cases back to appeal. Bail was granted, which is unusual unless the appeal is considered virtually certain to succeed..
Outside court yesterday, Steele's 15-year-old son, John Paul, shouted: "They've given me back my dad for a year and now they are taking him away from me again."Reuse content