Scotland football fans who have travelled to London to cheer on Steve Clarke’s side in Friday’s crunch Euro 2020 clash with England have been urged to take care – with Nicola Sturgeon warning Covid will not give them a “free pass” because they are there for the game.
The First Minister urged members of the Tartan Army – many thousands of whom have headed south without a ticket for the Wembley game – to “please, please, please try to behave in a way that is a safe as possible”.
The much-anticipated match is the first time the two sides have met in a major tournament since Euro 96, when Paul Gascoigne’s famous goal sealed a 2-0 win for England.
With this year’s tournament taking place in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the First Minister stressed the need for caution.
Her message to the Tartan Army in London was simple: “The virus doesn’t care about football, it is not going to give you a free pass because you are there celebrating a football match.”
Earlier this week London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged fans not to travel to the capital if they do not have a safe place to watch the game.
Speaking during a coronavirus briefing on Friday, Ms Sturgeon added: “I don’t want to sound like the killjoy in all of this, I am looking forward to watching the match tonight just like everybody else is.
“Please be careful though. And if you have travelled to London I would say two things. Be respectful to our hosts in London, don’t behave in a way that is going to make their Covid problem worse over the next few weeks.
“And try not to behave in a way that might raise the risk of you bringing the virus back home to your own loved ones.
“Enjoy the match, enjoy the occasion, we’re all hoping for a good outcome to the match tonight, but please be careful and be safe and follow all the rules.
“Make sure you behave in a way that shows the Tartan Army at its best. Enjoy it, but please, please, please try to behave in a way that is a safe as possible.”
With other fans gathering with family and friends to watch the game, she also urged everyone to remember Covid guidelines on issues such as social distancing and “be careful if, or hopefully when, Scotland score some goals”.
The First Minister said: “It’s only natural many of us want to watch this game with friends, that sense of being in a shared experience is one of the many things that make watching our national team so special.
“But please… remember if you are watching the match tonight to continue to take care.
“In particular if you are gathering inside your own house or somebody else’s house, please stick to the limits, and that at the moment is six people from three households.
“The point of these limits is to try to restrict spread of the virus, because indoors we know is much higher risk than outdoors.
“Please remember to take the basic precautions, keep windows open, wash your hands regularly and please be especially carefully around people who aren’t yet fully vaccinated or might be more vulnerable.”
The First Minister accepted that such precautions “are particularly tiresome when trying to enjoy the normal pleasures of a football match”.
But she warned: “This virus doesn’t care about football, it’s not a Scotland fan or an England fan, it only cares about spreading from one person to another.”