Euro2020 - Scunnered and it's only started. The life of a Scottish football fan

Generations of Scottish teachers must have been birling in their graves at the thought of a live football match being screened during the school day.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 8:38 am

Turns out the bairns still learned a lesson - one probably more valuable than an hour of doing their seven times table.

It was certainly every bit as painful as the dusters my old primary teacher hurled from the front of the class which struck her intended target squarely on the forehead. The sort of devastating precision and power Scotland could do with at set-pieces.

And the title of the lesson? The scunnerisation of Scotland.

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Fanzone at Glasgow Green  (Pic: Lisa Ferguson)
Fanzone at Glasgow Green (Pic: Lisa Ferguson)

If you are going to follow the national fitba’ team you might as well embrace that sense of being scunnered, because it’ll happen sooner rather than later.

The reason we rise up as a nation again is only because we belly flopped into a pit of despair, largely of our own making.

In our heads we’re world beaters. On the pitch, well, maybe a notch or two below that.

The hype surrounding Monday’s game was bigger than any I can recall in recent years, possibly a decade or more. Hope and expectation flew higher than a giant saltire on a windy day.

Pic: Lisa Ferguson

And that ought to have rung alarm bells.

Let’s be honest, we’re rubbish at living up to expectations.

Stick our national team on a pedestal, and it’ll immediately lose its balance and fall off.

Let it play the underdog card, however, and it’ll raise its game and bite the ankles of any so-called superior opponent. Nowt to do with knowing our place - it’s our DNA.

So, news every class had turned this game into some real, live geography lesson worried me.

I cannot recall ever getting time off in P7 to watch a fitba game- not even at the height of the circus when Scotland weren’t just going to Argentina, they were coming back as world champs.

Back then Ally MacLeod persuaded 30,000 fans to pack Hampden just to cheer at the players on a bus. Some Scottish teams don’t play to that number over the course of an entire season.

I don’t recall headmasters tapping into Mexico ‘86 or Italia ‘90 - then, the sole extent of football fever was a playground haggle over a swap to complete your Panini sticker album. Times have clearly changed.

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Getting kids to wear the strip of their home nation ticked the inclusivity box - well, unless you were born in Hampshire in which case good luck turning up with three lions on your shirt.

What struck me about Monday was the silence despite all the hoopla.

One solitary Lion Rampant hung out of a window opposite me, and I heard not a peep all afternoon.

No groans of despair, no cheers, and no howls of outrage when our goalie forgot the one thing drummed into every goalie - even the speccy ones handed the gloves in jumpers for goalposts games - namely, stay in your box.

But hope will replace despair as we go again.

The kids who tasted the latter on Monday will soon get used to the all too familiar pattern and, by the end of Euro2020, they should be able to spell ‘scunnerisation’ without hesitation.

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