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Euro 2024 reporter notebook: Tartan Army party made me want to be Scottish

football Sunday 7 July 2024 12:14, UK

Euro 2024 reporter notebook: Tartan Army party made me want to be Scottish

It was a June afternoon in Stuttgart when I first realised I wanted to be Scottish. The feeling may not have lasted long but it was definitely there. I was standing in a park in Germany when the urge to be Scottish overwhelmed me for a brief moment.

Everywhere I looked there were real Scots, and quite a few Germans, drinking and having fun in the sun. The pipers had left the stage and the German DJ had obviously done his homework because he was playing The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.

There were 10,000 Scots in the Stadtgarden fan park and they didn't have a care in the world. That may sound like a cliche when you are talking about the Tartan Army, but there is no better way of putting it.

A lot of people in football, especially at UEFA and FIFA, talk a good game about football having the power to unite the world and bring people together. Scotland fans prove that the marketing department might have a point.

Yes, there is much to dislike about modern football but when Maggie May is playing and the sun is shining and thousands of people are singing and dancing, it's just about possible to believe football can be a force for good.

Some estimates put the number of Scotland fans in Stuttgart at more than 100,000. At least half of them could not have been born the last time their Scotland won a Euros game 28 years ago. None of them had ever seen Scotland qualify for the knockout stages of a major tournament because it had never happened.

That didn't seem to dampen anyone's mood though. This time it was going to be different and if it wasn't, it would hurt and there might be tears, but it wouldn't be the end of the world.

Call it blind faith, or delusion, or the effects of too much beer in the German sun, but there was even one Scotland fan who was convinced he would be watching Andy Robertson lift the European Championship trophy in Berlin in three weeks.

"What if you are playing Germany or Spain or France or even England in the final?"

"If it's England, we'll beat them, no problem, but if it's Germany, it will be tougher - we'll beat them on penalties."

More and more fans kept arriving and they weren't all Scottish. Word had got around the Germany fan park that the Scotland fan park was the place to be. Thousands of German supporters joined the party and sang along to the unmistakable voice of Aberdeen-born Annie Lennox.

Sweet dreams are made of this

Who am I to disagree?

I travel the world and the seven seas

Everybody's looking for something