My first ever Scotland
game was at Wembley in 1988, where Peter Beardsley scored the only
goal and there was a riot on the terraces at half-time; a character-building
experience for a 12 year old!
Following that, my first home match wasn’t until 9-and-a-half
years later, at home to Latvia in the game that clinched qualification
to the World Cup… and my first “proper” away game,
against Norway in Bordeaux.
2. Best away trip?
There are so many that have been
absolutely superb, and the best result (1-0 against France, Sept
2007) is never in question, but in terms of the trip itself, it
would probably be one of:
Poland in 2001 – a whole week in Poland, and so many
Belarus 2005 – another week, and one where my fledgling
Russian skills came in handy;
Austria 2005 – Graz was an amazing party destination
and a laugh from start to finish;
Japan 2006 – complete culture shock from start to finish
I’d love to say France 98, which was great, but I was probably
too young and naïve to appreciate it fully at the time, having
that “we’ve got this to look forward to every 2 years”
idealism at the time! I also had a surprisingly good time in Moldova,
but due to food poisoning and other stories, that’s not a
view shared universally by the NATA members who were present…
3. Best foreign stadium visited?
Tricky one this –
there’s been so many! Again, I’d need to narrow it down
from one of the following:
Stade de France
Yokohama (big, but too far from the pitch)
Busan World Cup Stadium
San Siro (great from the outside, facilities are absolutely
Olympiastadion in Munich, for its sheer iconic status
Well, my favourite pub
in the world is Schumacher Stammhaus, Oststraße 123, Düsseldorf,
but technically I’ve not been there on Scotland duty (except
when passing through the ‘Dorf en route to somewhere else).
As a pre/post match boozer with the Tartan Army, I’d plump for
the over-40’s singles bar in Graz for before the game, due to
the tolerant clientele and the free jukebox, and the Playboy Bar in
Kobe for afterwards, for its cosyness (only 16 of us could fit in
– the rest went away thirsty!) and it’s amazing flush-cum-handwasher
5. Describe your usual match-day attire
From the ground up, Caterpillar
boots (either desert boots or my dark brown hobnail-looking efforts),
my lucky blue saltire kilt hose, McGregor Hunting Modern kilt, semi-dress
sealskin sporran, belt with wallet pouch, a cotton t-shirt of some
description (possibly with my lucky light blue “Slovenia away”
diadora jersey) and occasionally a baseball cap.
I’ve owned two glengarries in the past – one fell in
a taxi in Heidelberg ahead of the B game in Mannheim, and the other
developed an unusual odour having been worn in the humid Japanese
6. Is there anywhere you have seen Scotland play that you would like
to go back to?
Germany – can’t
wait for us to play a game there, preferably a midweek friendly I
can bookend with Fortuna games either side! Would also love to go
back to Belarus, Czech Republic (again!) and Japan or Korea, albeit
with a little more advance warning this time!
7. Where have you have seen Scotland play that you would NOT like
to return to?
Having been to the Faroes
twice, Lithuania three times and Norway twice with a third visit pending,
a break from any of those is fine with me. Of course, the only real
answer to this question for me is ITALY.
8. And where do you want to go to (but haven't yet)?
in Germany to see Scotland play a friendly (less pressure!). On a
country basis, within Europe I’ve never been to Albania, Bulgaria,
Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Montenegro, Northern Ireland, Russia or Serbia,
so any of those would be another pin in the map.
9. Who's the best Scottish player that you have actually seen?
I’d honestly now
say James McFadden, when he’s on form. Failing that, Barry Ferguson
has for years been our most consistent top-level player, Darren Fletcher
has shown touches of class and Ally McCoist was an icon in his day.
I’m also genuinely excited about some of the potential young
talent we have on the horizon.
10. Who's the best opposing player you have actually seen?
Zinedine Zidane in 2002,
when France beat us 5-0. Also, Paul Scholes was the main reason England
beat us to Euro 2000.
11. Favourite Scottish home and away kits of all time?
My favourite home kit
is, without question, the Italia 90 top with the tartan button up
collar. I was also a big fan of the first Fila kit (which itself was
derivative of the 1982 top). I’d have to plump for the recent
Diadora sky blue short with the white and navy bands – I know
it’s not universally popular, but it reminds me of a Barcelona
kit from the mid-80s; this pushes the 1986 yellow shirt into second
12. And your least favourite?
We’ve had some
pretty minging kits over the years, including the much-feted Euro
96 tartan effort, but I’ll plump for the Fila pinstripes as
my most disliked. The white away shirt with the “vomit”
detail on the shoulder, circa 1996, wins it from the away choices.
13. What is your favourite and least favourite Scotland chant/song?
I have to confess
to still liking the silliness of Doe-A-Deer as well as the less
controversial “walk a million miles”; the least favourite
has to stand up/sit down if you hate England, as it’s a little
tiresome (and does us no favours as a nation).
14. Which have been the highest and lowest points of supporting Scotland?
Aside from the euphoria
of beating France in September 2007, the other biggest high is probably
the Kirin Cup win, which saw Scotland become the first team from
the British Isles to lift a regularly contested international trophy
on foreign soil.
The lows include the 1999 play-off defeat to England, the 6-0 capitulation
in Amsterdam in 2003, the near-miss in the last campaign thanks
to a disastrous early goal from Italy, and paying £5 for a
pint for Bruce in Norway, only for him not to drink it.
15. What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you
on tour (that you're prepared to tell us about)?
All the details about
the talc incident in Rimini are HERE
had a vast array of cutting edge conveniences, none more so than
the “transporter room” at the Asahi Brewery Restaurant.
An honourable mention also to the Braveheart-themed bog at the Highlander
Styrian Restaurant in Graz.
Worst: The portaloo at FC Dacia Chisinau stadium,
which Ally had to come out of, fetch his camera and return to take
a photo. Majori station toilets in Latvia were also pretty special.
17. Favourite domestic stadium?
Seeing as I live in England,
the new Wembley is pretty spectacular and I’m looking forward
to seeing Scotland there at some point (ideal scenario: 2018 World
Cup Final with England nowhere in sight!). Really, though, my favourite
current stadium, now The Dell has left us, is Woodside Road, home
of Worthing FC: home is where the heart is!
18. Best domestic match ever attended?
Southampton 3 Man
Utd 1, Southampton 6 Man Utd 3 and Worthing 2 Crawley 0 are all
up there, but really it has to be Southampton 3 Arsenal
2 in the last competitive game at The Dell, with Le Tissier
coming on as a late sub and scoring the winner with his first touch!
19. Favourite chant/song heard at a domestic match?
As sung to a rotund non-league
keeper: “Have you ever seen a salad, Number 1?” followed
by the second verse “Singing pie, pie, chippy, chippy, pie”
– thanks to Ian for that one!
20. Best domestic pub/club?
The Selden Arms in Worthing
is a fantastic beer drinkers paradise with a very friendly atmosphere.
Locally to me, The Station at the end of my road and The Garland in
Redhill are also excellent, and in Glasgow I’d plump for the
Allison Arms (nothing to do with the name – honest!) and The
21. What are your pet hates?
commuters: we all have to travel the same way, so let’s be
as considerate to each other as we can!? And people who say “yes,
I’d like another £5 pint of lager”, then leave
it undrunk for the barmaid to tip away at the end of the evening.