SCOTLAND have been allocated almost a quarter of the stadium for the potentially crucial Euro 2016 qualifier away to Gibraltar – but the Tartan Army last night insisted this won’t be enough.
Fans’ spokesman Hamish Husband predicted upwards of 20,000 could descend on Portugal’s Algarve for the 11 October game if results go Scotland’s way before then. He said he hoped the SFA would be able to secure more tickets to meet the demand.
The tie will be the final Group D match and could be vital to Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for their first major finals since the 1998 World Cup in France.
Gibraltar, involved in competitive internationals for the first time, have had to play all their home ties at Faro’s 30,000-capacity Estadio Algarve because they don’t have a ground which meets Uefa regulations. Their highest-attended tie so far was against Germany in June when 7,467 saw the world champions win 7-0.
Husband said: “I can see 20,000 Scots hitting the Algarve for this one. There are a unique set of circumstances. The game could have a massive bearing on helping us get to France for the Euros. The game is taking place during the school mid-term holiday, making it more attractive to many of us. Another factor is the location – the Algarve is a popular holiday destination with many Scots. ”
Gibraltar’s first competitive match, against Poland, came in the group’s first round of fixtures but only 1,620 saw them lose, again by a 7-0 scoreline. In their only other game at the Estadio Algarve, just 600 witnessed the 3-0 defeat by Georgia.
Husband added: “Germany fans won’t travel anywhere without tickets. If they got 6,000 for their game against Gibraltar, that’s how many would have gone. Our culture is different. Many more went to Dortmund and Dublin than were guaranteed seeing those games. The SFA look after us wonderfully and I’m sure they’ll do their best to get more tickets for this one.”