Scots Word of the Week: ‘Fitba’ fans delighted as Scotland qualify for Euro 2024 finals

As we celebrate Scotland qualifying for the Euro 2024 Finals here is an overview of the Scottish word “fitba”.As we celebrate Scotland qualifying for the Euro 2024 Finals here is an overview of the Scottish word “fitba”.
As we celebrate Scotland qualifying for the Euro 2024 Finals here is an overview of the Scottish word “fitba”. | Isabel Infantes (PA)
Like most nations worldwide us Scots are “fitba daft” and that is on full display following yesterday’s news that Scotland qualified for the Euro 2024 finals.

Last Thursday, at the beautiful Estadio de la Cartuja in Seville, Scotland had their shot against Spain but lost 2-0 marking their first defeat in six qualifiers. However, thanks to their win over Norway, Spain has effectively confirmed Scotland’s Euro 2024 qualification.

According to Sky Sports: “Having ended a 22-year wait to qualify for a major finals at Euro 2020 - head coach Steve Clarke has now led Scotland to back-to-back European Championships.”

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Clarke said: “I would like to congratulate the players for their efforts in qualifying for back-to-back tournaments.

“I’m not sure they will fully realise the significance of their achievement yet but to qualify for successive Euros after more than 20 years is phenomenal and testament to their hard work.”

Needless to say, Scotland is a nation that is passionate about the beautiful game wherever it is played.

As the Scottish football coach Duncan Ferguson recently said: “Fitba’s fitba, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter where it is, it can be in England, it can be in Scotland.”

In celebration of Scotland reaching ‘major finals for the first time since 1997’, here is an overview of the Scottish word “fitba” including its origin and pronunciation.

Scotland fans outside the stadium before the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying Group D match at the Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla in Seville, Spain.Scotland fans outside the stadium before the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying Group D match at the Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla in Seville, Spain.
Scotland fans outside the stadium before the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying Group D match at the Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla in Seville, Spain. | PA

Definition of “Fitba”

In their ‘Glossary of Scots Words’ the Educational Institute of Scotland explains that “fitba” is simply the Scottish word for “football”.

We often hear the Scottish saying “fitba daft” being thrown around too which means passionate about football.

“Fitba” in a sentence

Taken from ‘Memories and Reflections: An East Neuk anthology’ (1994) by Nellie Watson: “Wullie and Tam were fitba daft - That didna please oor MAW - And ower and ower she’d say tae them - Drap playin’ wi’ that kick-ba!"

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Scotland fans outside the stadium before the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying Group D match at the Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla in Seville, Spain.Scotland fans outside the stadium before the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying Group D match at the Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla in Seville, Spain.
Scotland fans outside the stadium before the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying Group D match at the Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla in Seville, Spain. | PA

Pronunciation of “Fitba”

The pronunciation of “fitba” can vary even among Scots, some would say “fit bah” while others would pronounce it like “fit baw”.

“Fitba” Origins

The word is the Scots equivalent of the term “football” as it is known in the English-speaking world. The etymology of football itself, however, is considered somewhat unclear.

It has been dated back to the Middle Ages when it may have been said not in reference to the sport as we know it now but simply any game that involved feet rather than playing on horseback.

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