Mandatory Credit: Photo by Bruce Adams/Daily Mail/Shutterstock (2228311a) Football World Cup France 1998 – Scottish Football Fans The ‘tartan Army’ March Down The Rue Charles De Gaulle Towards The Geoffroy Guichard Stadium For Tonights Deciding Match Scotland Against Morocco In St Etienne. Football World Cup France 1998 – Scottish Football Fans The ‘tartan Army’ March Down The Rue Charles De Gaulle Towards The Geoffroy Guichard Stadium For Tonights Deciding Match Scotland Against Morocco In St Etienne.


The longer you live the more unlikely it is you will be surprised with some major shock. You will have witnessed many before. Of course it is still possible but you are realistic enough to realise when it comes to football, a shock good result is always possible but consistently good results remain elusive.

I was struck by that while watching the very enjoyable Mr Brown’s Boys programme the other night that brought back fond memories of the 1998 World Cup in France and the Scotland Brazil match that opened the tournament. Is it really 23 years since we last qualified for a major competition? I was there you know. Seems like yesterday.

Well we must create that spirit of optimism once again as this weekend sees the start of the Euro Championships and yes Scotland have qualified and have been rewarded with what looks a very difficult and challenging group to me, the Czech Republic and Croatia present serious challenges, then again the other contender in the Group, England provides the magic ingredient on which dreams are created.

Before the whistle goes Steve Clarke’s Scotland side deserves praise for qualifying, not easy to do. We are a small nation of just over 5 million people. For many years in the last century we produced world class footballers, Denis Law, Kenny Dalglish, Jimmy Johnstone, Graham Souness, we certainly punched above our weight but even in those years when we were blessed with many good players and stars we still never did well enough to achieve qualification to the final tournament after the first group stage. Will it be different this time? I would love to think so.

When I was growing up everyone played football, the minute you got home from school, the homework could wait until it was dark, while the light lasted playing football with your friends was the first option for many. I am convinced poverty played a part, a ball was something only one boy needed and that provided the one ingredient that was needed for many more to join in. There were no X Boxes or IPads, many homes did not own a TV or only had a black and white version if they were “well off”. Scotland was football mad and because so many played our small nation produced more skilled players than our population justified. Very few major English teams were successful without a smattering of Scots in the team, the Spurs team with Dave Mackay, Liverpool with Ian St John, then a whole host of Scots, Dalglish, Hansen, Souness, Leeds with Bremner, Lorimer Gray and Jordan. Plenty of other Scots in other teams as well.

The greatest success came with Celtic winning the European Cup in 1967 with a team who had all been born and raised within 40 miles of Parkhead. That is an achievement that will never be beaten. Football is international these days, to the point of it being unthinkable of a team winning the European Cup with any team all of the same nationality. Rangers came along a few years later and won the European Cup Winners Cup another great achievement. Who can forget Aberdeen’s fantastic victory in defeating the mighty REAL MADRID in 1983 after extra time in Gothenburg to win a European Trophy. I originally omitted to mention Dundee United success in reaching the final of the Uefa Cup in 1987 which I happily correct now. Sadly no Scottish club has come close to these levels of success since. They remain however examples of how Scottish teams, well managed and drawing deep in effort and determination can upset the apple cart and confound the experts.

We must hope we can do the same over these opening games. Very few give Scotland a chance but I hope we surprise them. Steve Clarke has them well organised. I believe we have a good team, not overloaded with stars,  but stuffed full of reliable, decent players. If they can find the heart and effort and that elusive good fortune I think Scotland is capable of beating any of the other teams in our section. The trick of course would be to defeat all three!

We can dream of course. When it comes to the Scotland football team I have been doing it all my life. We are the famous Tartan Army and we are here to see a win!

Good luck lads, the nation is behind you!

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.

37 thoughts on “TIME FOR SOARING HOPE.

  1. As long as they do their best, that is all we can ask. It was an achievement to qualify and what has gone before.

    A wee quibble Iain, Dundee Utd came close. Robbed in 1984 and then lost in the UEFA Cup final in 1987.

    Did the old unionists not go close a couple of times? Seem to remember they disgraced Scotland in Manchester not too many years ago.


    1. Pick me up Duncanio, we could all do with that. But to what end. 90 minutes of cheers, years of tears?

      Don’t want to be a kill joy but I’m at this very moment listening to Matt. Hancock explaining in committee the circumstance leading up to the first lock down in March 2020.

      Seems that inJanuary on the 29th of January 2020 Hancock advised COBRA that the prediction for death could be as high as 825,000. And so, before we all get too exited about the football, maybe some of our community would like to reflect on why on the 8th February 2020 and in the fortnight thereafter the Westminster Government were running full page adverts saying they were well prepared for COVID and that the best thing folks could do was sneeze into tissues, dispose of tissues and wash hands – whilst thereafter again in England the Cheltenham Gold Cup was being held whilst in Scotland 12,000 attended a pop concert in Aberdeen.

      Indeed with a uk wide lock down being introduced by panic’d Prime Minister on the 23rd March 2020 it becomes patently clear that both Westminster and the Sainted Nicola were pursuing a policy of spread the virus for herd immunity and let the old ones die.

      Ah well, we can now go on and cheer the Scotland team – who’s like us? – dulce et decorum est in pro patri mori.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You make good points Willie.

        However, I certainly am not advocating a big hug-in at Glasgow Green. I will be watching from the comfortable armchair of the armchair of my living room, clutching a couple of cans to drink and a cushion to hide behind.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I just hope it is not another Glorious Failure.
    Had enough of those in the last few years and probably the most hurtful was Indy in 2014.
    Win, lose or draw I just want to see Billy Gilmour on the pitch and marvel at his silky skills and total commitment.
    He is the player I want to be when I grow-up.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Whatever the outcome, I feel confident that we will be proud of them. We have a very good squad of young players with a great manager who are coming together exactly at the right time. It’s a very tough group, but we have the advantage of not being held to high expectations, so we can surprise a few people. It all hinges on getting a good result against the Czechs – do that, and suddenly we have a real chance. But we won’t be embarrassed, we will show we can play good football, and as usual the games will hinge on a bit of luck, a refereeing decision and some inspired bit of skill. Bring it on.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Are these games on the terrestrial telly? I haven’t watched a Scotland game nor given a stuff about them since the SFA followed the money to Sky. The SFA like the SNP are an organisation unfit for purpose. It’s long past time that the football establishment was overhauled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An ethnic and cultural division of labour is a feature of colonialism (Hechter).

      Oor maistly anglophone unionist establishment aye hauds doun Scotland an the Scots; that’s its purpose. That’s why we want independence.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was in Gothenburg that wet night and we went in a bus full of supporters of west of Scotland lower league teams, like Clyde, Albion Rovers, Dumbarton, Ayr United and Morton: there were two Aberdeen fans on the bus. It was indeed memorable. Those were the heady days when I believed in a third force taking over Scottish football from the sectarian, tribal cult that unfortunately has ruled it before and ever since that night.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The many who dismiss football as being: “just a game” have yet to explain the reasons for the game’s popularity around the world. On the surface, of course, football is indeed “just a game”. Beneath that surface, however, the ingredients of the team, the fans and the competitive nature of the game itself, combine to produce a phenomenon well beyond the sum of its parts; particularly so at an international level. Think: Scotland v England, on those occasions, support for Scotland is practically universal throughout the population, whether they be football fans or not.

    For 90 minutes, individuality is relinquished on the terraces, only 2 collectives of like-minded supporters exists. The power of this truly uplifting and ultimately spiritual experience, for those involved, should never be underestimated or dismissed as: “just a game”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our national consciousness/national identity is dependent on the mother tongue and culture of a people and for most of us that is the Scots language we are still deprived of learning at school by the British state. The first time I really became aware of my national consciousness was in 1973 when I was at the Scotland v Czechoslovakia game with 136,000 other Scots folk packed into Hampden; thousands of Scotland’s national flags waving, and the roar wis somethin else tae, especially when Joe Jordan scored the winner. That was when I became aware us Scots were ‘a people’ and nation and would never be willingly dominated by any other people no matter how they might treat us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There was a crowd of 100,000 at Hampden that night. I was also one of them. It was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life. Nothing since could compare with it.


  6. I seem to remember Jim Sillars referring to the Scottish People as 90 minute patriots. It seems that although nominally Independence supporting parties received a greater percentage of the votes than Unionist parties, the electorate are still politically unaware, or just happy with the status quo, so could still be 90 minute patriots now, for all the good the latest Scottish Election is likely to have done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be a referee, that would be a bigot. Surely, football has enough of those already.


    1. As I recall, Denmark won with players who had to be called back from their holidays. They were late entrants to the final tournament as Yugoslavia got kicked out and Denmark, as group runners-up took their place.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Pat Kane also said similar many years ago, though still very relevant today.
    What has always enraged me about my country is the spectacle of major public opinion-formers or leaders who would run a mile if the prospect – and complex challenges – of establishing a Scottish nation-state ever raised its head. Yet when it comes to the symbolic football pantomime of “the auld Enemy”, they slap on the blue Braveheart woad and bare their rhetorical arses. Cartoon national resentment, rather than confident and coherent national aspiration, seems to be the gratifying default for too many up here.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I am sick to death of bloody football.. Again and again it and its players and adherents have proved to be major vectors of Covid transmission.The recent and persistent behaviour of its so-called ‘fans’ , and in particular those of the ‘Bear’ or ‘Rangers’ persuasion is utterly disgusting as well as illegal. These people have been allowed to get away with contributing to the deaths and illness of countless innocent people, and the latest proposed Glasgow ‘Euros’ idiocy is the last straw. It is sheer lunacy on the part of the Health Secretary and other members of the government to permit it, and amounts to a huge abdication of responsibility. WHO RULES SCOTLAND? Football or the Government?


    1. You seem to be attributing the blame of any rise in Covid cases solely on a particular group of football fans: that is totally unfair and unjustified. There have been other large gatherings which could have contributed to a rise in the virus, including the protests in Pollokshields over the arrests by the Home Office of some illegal immigrants. Football fans are an easier target due to the way some of them behave.


  9. Nice to see Jimmy Johnstone get a mention. Sadly, a much-underrated player who deserved more caps.

    Decisions, decisions. Do I spend time knocking out some tax returns next week, do I have the games on in the background or do I give up a couple of hours at work to give my full attention? 1998 is a long time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My money’s on Scotland, to reach the quarter final.
      And then the semis.
      And then the final.
      And then tae lift the cup.

      Thon’s whit believin in yer naition’s aw aboot, ye ken.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately, here in North Carolina it is illegal to gamble unless you go to the Cherokee Nation reservation or buy a North Carolina “Education” Lottery ticket. So I will be unable to place my customary wager on Scotland to win the tournament, as was my habit at every tournament we qualified for. Part of me knew it was an exercise in futility but it’s all about hope.

        Talking of hope and optimism, on the radio just now, there is a choral version of “Finlandia.”

        Liked by 2 people

  10. I too have a wee glimmer of hope as we have a good coach, good players & a good system & they look like & act like a club side.
    What we should understand, is that any kind of success for Scotland on the pitch, doing better than expected will bring us a tremendous amount of pride
    & will reinforce others perspective about our nation is we’re still here loud & proud 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Certain individuals (the usual suspects) have been trying hard to eradicate the concept of Scotland as a country. It’s a bit difficult when we have such a popular national team lol. My expectations this time round are low (been burned too many times before), but I still live in hope that we do better than expected, in our case it would be to make it out of the group stage – something we have never achieved before, even in those heady days in the 1960s and 1970s, when we had quite a few world class players and Scotland was in the top ten FIFA rankings. Yes – it was, ye better believe it! Now imagine if Scotland did better than England this time round – how painful would that be for the establishment? They would never live it down, when the BBC reporter announced with gritted teeth: “Scotland, the last remaining British team in the tournament”! Unlikely, but we can but dream. Personally, I wish England well, but I hope Scotland do better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s sobering to think that, back when we watched the Greats like Bremner, Lorimer and Gray, we knew even then they were great. I no longer get that feeling, but pray that events prove me wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I lived in Sheffield in the 1990’s and followed United. We had no real “stars” but we did have a team that played for the jersey and carried the hopes of thousands on their shoulders. It was a wonderful time, filled with hope. The players looked and acted as if they were grateful to be on the pitch rather than watching from the Kop. That is what I hope for this summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Every time an international football tournament comes along, somebody plays the “too wee” (5 million) card.

    Which brings to mind the words of a Brazilian friend, said during, after or instead of, watching a match between E Stirling and Cally Thistle. “There may be 150 million of us, but just like you, we are only allowed to put eleven on the field at the same time”. and
    ” I don’t think Brazilian babies are born with superior footballing skills than Scottish [or any other kind of] babies so the apparent gulf between the two as adults, must be down to us being shit at teaching them how to play the game”.


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