Scotland v Netherlands – Upset in the Making? Not!

UPDATE We were thoroughly trounced 6-0 in Amsterdam. Oh well.

It’s been a long while since us poor Scotland supporters have had anything to cheer about, but in the first leg of a two game play-off for Euro 2004 qualifying, Scotland were both brave and lucky – and that was good enough to beat Holland for the first time since 1982. The last time I had been able to share the joy with other Scots over a Scotland victory was, if memory serves, our match against Greece which brought us to the Euro 96 Championship in England. That was a beauty.

I won’t be able to see this game, but I’ll be listening to as much as I can on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound.

These have been rough years for Scotland fans. Back in the 60s and 70s, Scottish national teams were loaded with talent, but always had problems working together as a team, probably due to the fact that the teams were almost always filled with Celtic and Rangers players who had no great love for one another. Today, Scotland doesn’t have a fraction of the talent it once did, but apparently they can work better as a team. This team is young, and gives me a little hope that we can be competitive once again.

Football is huge in Scotland, though not as much as it was once. Most British attendance records have been set at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, though in those days most people stood in the terraces. Today, Celtic Park, Ibrox, and Hampden have all-seated capacities of 60,000/50,000/50,000 respectively. That’s 160,000 seats for football matches in a city with a population of 620,00. Celtic Park and Ibrox are still routinely sold-out, and are among the biggest in Britain.

The football tradition of Scotland is undisputed. The first international match ever played was between Scotland and England in Glasgow way back in 1872 at, of all places, the Cricket Ground. It was a 0-0 draw.

So all this to say that Scotland has a long and proud football tradition that has seen better years. Let’s hope that today, Scotland can once again feel some pride in the National Team.

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