1–0 victory against Sweden at Ibrox in 1996; remembered by
some as “The Jim Leighton match”.
Away: 1–1 draw with
Norway at the Stade Lescure in Bordeaux (World Cup 1998).
2. Best away trip?
Attending the World Cup (France
’98) was pretty special. The carnival atmosphere between supporters
and the warm reception of our French hosts contributed to a great
trip; nowhere more so than in Bordeaux when we played Norway: a
day which would go down in folklore and which gave us the excitedly
asked question, “Were you in Bordeaux?” Then there’s
St. Etienne and I can still remember the march from the town centre
out to the stadium prior to the Morocco match with thousands of
Tartan Army following the Daily Record’s open-top bus down
the street to the astonishment of the locals; staff coming out of
shops to shake our hands or to steal a kiss and residents out on
their balconies with their cameras in hand.
Another notable, but at times solemn, trip was the visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina
in 1999. To visit the previously besieged city of Sarajevo, so soon
after the war was an unforgettable experience. The scars of the
conflict were glaringly visible; bullet holes and artillery damage
enveloped the entire city; no building was left unscathed and we
were told some heart wrenching and harrowing accounts of what had
gone on there. That said, Sarajevo is a wonderful city and the Sarajevans
are a proud and positive people. I’ve been back since and
as a city, it’s getting back on its feet and is looking to
the future. Sadly, many Sarajevans never got that chance.
In more recent years I thoroughly enjoyed the visits to Belarus
and Ukraine. The cities of Minsk and Kiev both had good nightlife,
but Kiev had more to see and do during the day; titanium stunner
(and war memorial) Rodina Mat was a sight to behold.
3. Best foreign stadium visited?
As a self-confessed
stadium ‘anorak’, I’ve visited many continental
football grounds and not only those where Scotland were playing.
Favourites include: the Olympiastadion in Munich with its ‘spiders-web’
roof and its infamous namesake in Berlin, which despite its renovation
for the 2006 World Cup has maintained its original exterior due
to the building’s historical importance.
Then there are the quaint wee grounds such as SpVgg Unterhaching’s
Stadion Am Sportpark way out in the suburbs of Munich and Dynamo
Kiev’s Valeriy Lobanovskyy Stadion, nestled into the tranquil
woodland surroundings of Kiev City Park.
I’ve been lucky enough to see Scotland play in Ajax’s
Amsterdam Arena; Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalen Stadion; Bari’s
Stadio San Nicola and both the Stade de France and Parc des Princes
in Paris. But my vote for ‘Best Foreign Stadium Visited’
has to go to Milan’s Stadio Giuseppe Meazza better known as
the San Siro. The facilities are abysmal: filthy seats, slippery
aisles, sub-standard catering facilities, etc. but if it’s
any consolation the players’ facilities are abysmal too. I
did the stadium tour and the dressing rooms were no better than
those of a Sunday morning pub team; I couldn’t believe the
millionaire superstars of Milan and Inter tolerated it. So why on
Earth am I voting the San Siro to be the best stadium? Because despite
everything I’ve just written about it, the San Siro is a truly
awesome cathedral to football and that’s just from the outside!
When you turn the corner and see it for the first time, it’s
breathtaking. Well, I think it is.
Kilt (Ross, modern
red), Thistle belt, full dress sporran, Ross kilt pin, army issue
boots and a black military sweater with epaulettes (although I’m
hoping to get a Montrose doublet soon). As night falls, I’ll
substitute the sweater for a smart shirt and the boots are replaced
with brogues: socks up; flashes on. As one of our elders bluntly
told us, “Pull your socks up son or no one will take you seriously”.
6. Is there anywhere you have seen Scotland play that you would like
to go back to?
Belarus, Denmark, Ukraine…
and you can never tire of Paris.
10. Who's the best opposing player you have actually seen?
Easy. Zinedine Zidane;
in probably the best team performance I’ve ever seen. I can
remember thinking before kick-off, ‘If Zidane scores tonight,
I’ve got to remember it’ and that was because he was
to his generation what Pele, Cruyff and Maradona were to theirs.
After just thirteen minutes Zidane opened the scoring with a beautiful
strike. Sat to my right, my pal stands up and announces, “I’ve
had my money’s worth… I’m f*cking off!”
He didn’t of course; he was merely expressing his admiration
for what Zidane had just done.
Final score: France 5 Scotland 0
11. Favourite Scottish home and away kits of all time?
Home: Probably the
current one (although there are aspects of it which I’m not
entirely pleased with).
Away: The all white with the pale blue Saltire across the chest.
12. And your least favourite?
Home: The first of
our Fila kits (very dull).
Away: The sky blue Diadora one with the vertical stripe down one
13. What is your favourite and least favourite Scotland chant/song?
I don’t really
have a favourite or a least favourite. I like both ‘We’ll
be coming’ and ‘Everywhere we go”. I never used
to like Doe-a-Deer, but that went right up in my estimation during
the France match at Hampden in 2006 when everyone was giving it
14. Which have been the highest and lowest points of supporting Scotland?
The entire qualifying campaign for Euro 2008 with the pinnacle being
James McFadden unleashing that shot against France at the Parc des
Princes. Okay, in the end we failed to qualify for the finals, but
that whole qualifying campaign was a helluva ride.
Lowest: The 2–0 defeat
to England at Hampden in 1999. The Hampden DJ playing the Braveheart
soundtrack at full-time didn’t help my emotions either.
15. What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you
on tour (that you're prepared to tell us about)?
Czech Republic away in
1999: Meeting up with everyone at a Prague train station (on our way
to an Under-21’s match) with my collars turned up Cantona-style
to try and disguise a love bite; seemingly administered by a Great
I don’t know
about best, but the worst I can recall were at the Zalgiris Stadium
in Lithuania where a group of us attended the capital’s ‘big’
derby between FC Vilnius and Zalgiris.
17. Favourite domestic stadium?
18. Best domestic match ever attended?
Having been brought
up in Southampton, I’ve grown up supporting the Saints and
I’m fortunate in that my interest in football began at the
very same time as the career of Matt Le Tissier; therefore I was
privileged in that I witnessed Le God’s career in its entirety
and he was at the centre of most, if not all of the great Southampton
matches I’ve attended. There are too many to list here (honestly)
but just a couple that really stand out were the 3–1 victory
over Manchester United when they famously blamed the defeat on their
invisible grey kits and the corresponding fixture the following
season when United swaggered into town, intent on revenge and a
Saints side (managed by Graeme Souness) vanquished United 6–3.
I can’t not mention the Southampton – Arsenal match
in 2001. This was the ‘farewell to The Dell’ and Le
Tissier (towards the end of his career) came off the bench and scored
not only the winner, but the last goal, in the last minute, of the
last ever league match played at The Dell. It was fairytale stuff;
like something out of Roy of the Rovers.
19. Favourite chant/song heard at a domestic match?
To the tune of the Addams
Family theme, “You’re sister is your mother, your father
is your brother, you like to f*ck each other, you’re a Pompey
family, do-do-do-do (clap-clap) do-do-do-do (clap-clap).
Lyrics courtesy of the Northam Stand at Southampton.
20. Best domestic pub/club?
The Corinthian in Glasgow.
21. What are your pet hates?
and associations who are inconsiderate towards supporters’
needs to make travel arrangements; cheating footballers; referees
who for some inexplicable reason allow fouling or cheating 'big
name' footballers to remain on the pitch; people dropping litter;
people (in Scotland of all places) asking if you’re wearing
anything under your kilt.