Scotland's Tartan Army won something even more precious than the Euro 2024 trophy

The effect of Scottish football supporters' good reputation should not be underestimated

So we did “come home too soon”, as the song says, with Scotland out of the Euros following defeat by Hungary. Perhaps qualification for the tournament was the most we could have asked from this side, outclassed by Germany and hard-working but fairly pedestrian against Switzerland and Hungary.

However, as we know, qualification for major tournaments is not to be taken lightly, particularly by a country of Scotland’s size and, some would say, prevailing attitudes towards health and fitness. Just being there still achieves something that is incredibly valuable to the nation: it provides the wonderful, joyous and ebulliently convivial Tartan Army with a global stage on which to perform. And they are truly spectacular.

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Dr Jürgen Amann, of VisitCologne, said: “Scottish fans won the hearts of the people of Cologne… We'll remember the Tartan Army for a long time to come.” He even started spreading Tartan Army propaganda: “No Scotland, No Party!”

The Tartan Army march to Cologne Stadium before Scotland's game against Switzerland (Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire/PA ImagesThe Tartan Army march to Cologne Stadium before Scotland's game against Switzerland (Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire/PA Images
The Tartan Army march to Cologne Stadium before Scotland's game against Switzerland (Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire/PA Images

Maybe don’t say this to the most diehard fans, but winning hearts and minds like this could actually turn out to be even better than winning the tournament.

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