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North of Scotland Tartan Army descend on Wembley hoping for an historic win

Scotland fans during the Euro 2020 match against Czech Republic at Hampden.
Scotland fans during the Euro 2020 match against Czech Republic at Hampden.

The Tartan Army may be in reduced numbers at Wembley due to Covid-19 restrictions but their voice will not be diminished, insists a die-hard Scottish foot-soldier.

The North of Scotland Tartan Army supporters’ club will have 25 members inside the stadium for Friday night’s hotly anticipated Group D match.

All 25 have a “golden ticket” for Scotland’s biggest game in 23 years and will take their place among the 2,600-strong Tartan Army.

Following the disappointment of the 2-0 loss to Czech Republic, Scotland fans are dreaming of an historic win to reignite hopes of progressing to the next phase.

However, just being in possession of a much-sought-after ticket is not enough to gain entry to Wembley as fans must display proof of having a second Covid-19 vaccination 14 days prior to the game.

If not double vaccinated, supporters must provide proof of a negative result from a lateral flow Covid test taken within 48 hours of kick-off.

Supporters are also given staggered entrance times to the stadium and face sitting in the stifling London heat for hours before the action starts.

It will all be worth it, however, for the 25 who travelled down by train on Wednesday and have been soaking up the sun in London for the last few days ahead of the big kick-off.

North of Scotland Tartan Army member Alan Duncan said: “England are not as good as they are made out to be.

“I think we can get something out of the game at Wembley.

“Can we beat England?

“That’s a tall ask, but we can absolutely get a point.”

North of Scotland Tartan Army on the march supporting Scotland with Alan Duncan (far left).

Fans need more than a ‘golden ticket’ to get into Wembley

Despite previous assurances there would be no Covid testing to gain admission to Wembley, all ticket holders for England’s Group D games were informed via the official UEFA Euro 2020 app they would be required to show proof of a double vaccination or a negative lateral flow test.

Fans must self-administer the tests and upload the results before showing proof at the turnstiles tomorrow night.

That resulted in an anxious wait for supporters who have paid out money for tickets, transport and accommodation to potentially be denied entry.

Many of the Tartan Army were already in London before that 48-hour window to take a Lateral Flow test began.

Alan said: “There are so many rules, restrictions and time slots, you do wonder that given the size of the crowd is it really necessary?

“They have had a full capacity crowd at Premier League darts and the Crucible for the world snooker championships final.

“Crowds are being allowed into cricket and horse racing.

“It does feel like football fans are being hard done by.

“It is what it is though and we have to get on with it.

“With a reduced crowd at Wembley, the atmosphere isn’t going to be the same.

“There is nothing better than being part of a capacity crowd at a sold-out game with a proper atmosphere.

“I am really looking forward to it, but not as much as if it were a normal tournament in normal circumstances.”

Cheering Scotland on. The North of Scotland Tartan Army with Alan Duncan (far left).

Tartan Army descending on London unlikely to be 20,000 strong

There had been concerns as many as 20,000 Scotland fans would travel to Wembley for the crunch Euro 2020 showdown, the majority of them without tickets.

That is despite warnings from both the Scottish Government and London Mayor to avoid travelling unless they were attending the match at Wembley.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned there would be no alternate venues for Scotland fans to watch the game other than at Wembley Stadium.

Nelson’s Column is surrounded by the Tartan Army as thousands of Scotland fans arrive in London to see their side face England in 2013.
Scotland fans take over London as the Tartan Army cool off in the fountain at Trafalgar Square in 2013.
Scotland fans congregate at Trafalgar Square in 2013 before the clash with England.

For previous matches at Wembley, the Tartan Army have congregated, and partied, in their thousands at Trafalgar Square prior to kick-off.

That will not happen this time.

Still singing. Scotland fans at Hampden in the 2-0 loss to Czech Republic.

Alan believes the figure of 20,000 is an overestimate as he knows many supporters who scrapped plans to travel to London following the warnings and concerns with rising cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19.

He said: “I don’t think there will be the huge amount of Scotland fans in London that is being made out.

“There was an apprehension with some fans about going into massive crowded places and also using the London Underground as that is not the healthiest of places to be.

“Some supporters who were going to go to London changed their plans when politicians said not to travel down.

“The politicians were right and I understand why they said it.”

Hoping to celebrate a famous win

The 25-strong North of Scotland Tartan Army will return home by train on Sunday.

A veteran of cheering on the Scots at four major tournament finals prior to Euro 2020, Alan hopes they have a day in London to celebrate an historic win.

Darren Young World Cup
The Scotland players salute the travelling Tartan Army after the opening game against Brazil at the 1998 World Cup.

He has been a Tartan Army foot soldier at World Cup 90, World Cup 98, Euro 92 and Euro 96.

He said: “When I was going to tournaments in the nineties, it was second nature and the regular thing that we would be there.

“Then all of sudden there was a 23-year gap.”

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