Football, a sport where fans unite, reminisce memories and fabricate fairytales. Scotland’s roller-coaster journey to a major tournament has been nothing short of a fairytale. A narrative full of protagonists, the Scotland team will be shining bright when they kick off against the Czech Republic on Monday to kick off their Euro 2020 campaign.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) June 12, 2021
A drought that lasted almost 23 years ended when Scotland’s David Marshall denied Aleksandar Mitrovic as the Scottish squad booked their ticket to the Euros. The eleven players on the pitch represented a whole nation and it was time for them to perform on the biggest stage.Scotland whose Euro story started back in 1992 will be looking to make more of a mark on the 2020 edition.
Nothing short of a fantasy, the European summer of football could witness another underdog story. Rewind to 1992 and ask Denmark who conquered the European title after being invited to the competition at the very last minute. Maybe try asking Greece, the champions of Euro 2004, sending shockwaves around the world with an unpredicted moment.
🏆 Did you know? Denmark failed to qualify for EURO '92 but were drafted in 10 days before it started after Yugoslavia were excluded.
— UEFA (@UEFA) June 12, 2021
Euro 2020 could turn out to be the perfect time for Scotland to prove their metal. And for their fans, it’s the perfect time to be the 12th man, back their lions, and shout in such a way that the whole world listens to their voice.
THE TALE OF THE COMEBACK
The last time a Scottish player donned the famous international jersey and sang the Scottish anthem in a major tournament was back in 1998. A Brazilian Samba in the first match and their hopes were dented in the first match. The Scottish fans screamed “Don’t come home too soon” whenever they took the pitch, but unfortunately a short-lived dream ended with a loss to Morocco.
1998 – The Scotland men's team have qualified for their first major international tournament since reaching the 1998 World Cup in France. Patience. #SERSCO
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 12, 2020
Since that loss, redemption has been in the heart of the international players. A heartbreak that gave them time to learn, adapt to the new stage, invest in talent, and come back stronger than ever. With the rescheduled Euros knocking on their door, Scotland has a stage set in front of them.
From France to Wembley, Scotland’s journey has been a masterclass. With the Scottish sports brand raising the bar high, football’s productivity declined in the initial parts of the 21st century. A Scottish manager was changing the scenario of football in England while lower-ranked teams were causing a rampage in the country.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s mouth-watering managerial skills were on display at the Theatre of Dreams, as the Scottish fingers were crossed for decades. Euros and World Cups passed but Scotland’s name never featured in the final list. Iceland’s team celebrating with their fans, shouting and clapping those hands in the air after heartbreak in the 2016 UEFA Euro showcased to the world the real meaning of “Impossible is Nothing.”
One year ago today: 🇮🇸 Iceland drew 1-1 with Argentina at the World Cup, & the 'Viking Clap' took over Russia… 👏 pic.twitter.com/6w8gOH7XO9
— COPA90 (@Copa90) June 16, 2019
Surely that must have boiled the blood of the players. But qualifying for a major tournament seemed like a big ask. Although the time had come for the players to prove themselves and write a new chapter in their history books. The legends needed a new tale to scream, the fans needed new excuses to ditch their offices and schools, and the world needed a new challenger.
THE FAN-WALL IS READY TO GUARD THE FORTRESS
But then the stars aligned for the Tartan Terriers, a pool of generational talents started featuring for the national team. Players were put under immense amounts of pressure in the world’s most difficult leagues, and all of them shone bright like a diamond. The captain of the ship, Andrew Robertson, an outstanding fullback commanding Jurgen Klopp’s defence at Liverpool. A Champions League and a Premier League medal already decorated on his mantle, Robertson’s the perfect example of how Scotland has risen from the ashes.
Another commander earning a name at Old Trafford is Scott Mctominay. The fulcrum of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s midfield, Mctominay is a fighter. Anyone remember Kieran Tierney, his talent forced Mikel Arteta to make changes in Gunner’s formation so that Tierney could exhibit himself. The list is long and it has just started.
Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour, a 20-year-old teenager who has a huge career in front of him. The Blues’ star has already featured 5 times in the Premier League while carrying the weight of the expectations of a nation on his young shoulders.
It’s go time! 🏴 @EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/OJaa5BlEFZ
— Billy Gilmour (@billygilmourrr) June 12, 2021
As I said, the list is enormous with different titans being manufactured every day for the Tartans. With tons of money being injected into the sport, football is once again the country’s pillar. The Football For All campaign ignited the start of a revolution as the required tools and resources were given to different parts of the country.
“We are grateful for the support from the Scottish Government, FIFA, UEFA and sportscotland who have bolstered the funds made available by the Scottish FA to ensure more than £1.5M is available for clubs and people at the heart of our national game. said Scottish FA Chief Football Officer Andy Gould
Well for the fans, it’s the time of the month. Drink a pint of beer, switch on the television sets, and watch the Scottish team demolish oppositions. The 12th man will have to join hands if the dreams of silverware are to be turned into reality. The Covid pandemic has surely taken a toll on the beloved game. If the France World Cup featured a full house of enthusiastic fans, these Euros might adopt social distancing.
Although the cheers won’t stop, the drums would roll, and the Scottish fans would shout at the top of their voices cheering their team. The time has come for the Tartan Terriers to conquer terrains and become the new titans of this generation.