She made you laugh; made you cry; made you boogie, boogie-woogie, all night long.
Ailsa Kane is the intrepid videographer who has served as the eyes and ears of the Tartan Army during an unforgettable march to Euro 2020.
From Israel to Serbia and beyond, Kane has documented the extraordinary exploits of Steve Clarke’s charges — the heroes who finally ended 23 years of hurt — and gleefully plastered the content across the Scottish FA’s digital channels.
There is a cruel irony to the fact no supporters were allowed in the stadiums as Scotland prevailed from a thrilling qualification campaign. However, Kane and the Hampden media team succeeded in bringing punters closer than ever to the players, coaches and celebrations.
Mercifully, there will be bums in seats when our campaign begins against the Czech Republic on Monday — but she will still be going the extra mile to satisfy a nation’s insatiable appetite for Euros action.
“It is really hard to process,” smiles Kane. “There has been so much build up and work to be done but I keep saying to myself: ‘Try to enjoy this — take it all in’.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 13, 2020
“I know how lucky I am to be around this team at a major finals. It’s an incredible privilege.”
Kane’s work over the past few months has been defining.
Kieran Tierney, swaggering into the dressing room in Serbia — a new, confident Scotland incarnate.
A breakfast conga as the entire squad serenaded David Marshall.
An entire dressing room singing ‘Yes Sir, I can Boogie’ after qualification was sealed.
A sensation in Serbia
That night in Serbia, in particular, is one Kane will never forget, as one of very few Scots in a sodden Red Star Stadium.
“I was so lucky,” she continues. “When Serbia equalised, I remember thinking: ‘This can’t be happening again, this late on. This could only happen to Scotland.’
“But as soon as David Marshall saved the penalty, the feeling was unbelievable.
“I had to quickly switch to work mode. ‘I’d better start filming this’. So, I ran out to the pitch, handed out flags and then sprinted back to the dressing room.
“That walk up the long tunnel in Serbia, on my own, was when it hit me: ‘We’ve done it. Finally.’ To have been there is enough to make you pinch yourself. I was a wee bit emotional before the party kicked off.”
And what a party it was.
Kane, allied with media officer Lewis Irons, felt a responsibility to mirror — and heighten — the atmosphere at home.
“It was absolute madness,” she recalls. “I think I had three hours of sleep before getting up the next morning to do media, edits and get more reaction out. We wanted to keep that hype going for the fans.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 13, 2020
“We were so desperate to keep that buzz building. We were running on adrenaline, just like the fans.”
A defeat three days later in Slovakia is a footnote now. Far more memorable for the Tartan Army was the video Kane polished off and uploaded from her Bratislava hotel room.
It beautifully summed up the glorious failures, the heartbreak and, finally, the catharsis and exhilaration. The piece has close to 200,000 views on Twitter alone and is responsible for a collective tsunami of tears.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 14, 2020
“I had that video sitting on my laptop for two years. I was so desperate for people to see it,” continued Kane. “I really believed it would give everybody that feeling.
“I’ve had so many nice messages about that video and the tone of the coverage, in general.
“There was emotion but there was also fun — the footage of the David Marshall conga was a highlight — and I could see what it meant to everyone.”
She added: “The fans might not have been in stadiums, but I hope we’ve done something to bring them closer to the players. I love trying to make videos to create excitement among the fans because that’s what I am: a fan.”
A heady, surreal period in her life has continued in recent weeks. Kane filmed Prince William as part of a mental health awareness day earlier this year.
“It is strange but, honestly, when you are doing the job you just need to stay professional, It’s just another day,” she said.
Staying cool in the presence the future Monarch and President-Designate of the English FA. That’s the stuff; the mind games have started ahead of June 18.
The girl from near Gowrie Park has come a long way from cutting about with a Dundee shirt with ‘Speroni 1’ on the back. It was an outfield jersey.
“I had a unique style,” she laughs.
We’ve got McGinn…
A spell studying broadcast production at the University of the West of Scotland followed before she embarked on a career which would ultimately take her to the Scottish FA, via the SPFL.
As she sought a foot in the door in this industry, she worked briefly with the BBC on a couple of kids’ shows and the ever-popular Eggheads. Now, she is the one doing the quizzing.
“People won’t be surprised when I say people like John McGinn, Andy Robertson, and Stephen O’Donnell are brilliant are incredible to work with,” she added.
“John McGinn is one of the funniest characters you could ever meet. Moving down south hasn’t changed him in the slightest. He’s the first one on the list if we’re doing some fun content.”
As Scotland gradually comes back down to earth after lifting the Henri Delaunay Trophy on July 11, Kane intends to get back to Tayside and lap up some Premiership action.
The story of the play-off final 2nd leg #thedee
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) May 25, 2021
Kane, who produced a video from Rugby Park last month as her beloved Dundee won promotion, plans to relive her younger days as a season ticket holder in the Bobby Cox Stand with her recently-retired dad, Scott.
First, however, there is more history to be recorded.