‘Watching Scotland is not easy’: Glasgow reacts to Scotland’s first Euro 2020 match defeat against Czech Republic

The day began with hope as kilts were blowing freely in the wind yet ended with saltires left abandoned in the rain.

People in Glasgow react to the atmosphere of Euro 2020 as the first game kicked off.
People in Glasgow react to the atmosphere of Euro 2020 as the first game kicked off.

Waking up to a Glasgow brimming full of pride and a sense of national identity was something to witness.

Kilts were seen in their plenty across the city as the people of Glasgow enjoyed full Scottish breakfasts from cafes in the southside before making their walk to apparent glory that Hampden Park promised.

Yet even the most loyal of fans showed their doubts early on.

A fan enthusiastically sings Yes Sir, I Can Boogie to the crowds at Glasgow Green.

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Near Battlefield Rest en route to the live game, Hamish Husband from the Tartan Army Group said: “A man of my age has seen so many shambles at Hampden.

"I still really suffer from going into the final minutes having had two Lee Griffiths goals and then managing to throw it away- watching Scotland is not easy.”

"The second part of this journey is to qualify but the nation is behind them.”

And so the nation was.

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A saltire flag lies on the ground after the defeat (Photo: Hannah Brown).

And although sharing this support for the Scotland team, Billy Gold – owner of the pub the Hielan Jessie – worried how the fan zone on Glasgow Green was impacting his business through the festivities.

Mr Gold whose pub lies a couple of hundred yards away from the 3,000 person event said: “We’ve had two people in today who are going to the fan zone and we had a total spend from them of three pound twenty.

"Most people are going straight to the fan zone so we are not getting a great spin off from it being close to us at all.

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"We are a wee bit miffed about the fact that they can do things we can’t do- they’ve got live bands, they’ve got concerts and all types of events."

Billy Gold, owner of the Hielan Jessie, explains his support for Scotland as well as his concern for his pub.

"It’s a very well known multinational brewer who are the sponsors who are supplying the lager and it’s not a Scottish company who are doing the bar so I really don’t see the benefit it’s doing for Glasgow.

"Local businesses have been completely excluded and there’s been no input from us."

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Under current guidelines, Mr Gold is working on a maximum capacity of 33 people in a venue capable of holding 102.

He worries that if the fan zone causes a rise in cases then Glasgow could be put back into level three which he said would probably be the end to his business and a lot of other businesses in Glasgow.

Despite all this, Mr Gold who was wearing a Scottish football shirt wished the event well. He said: "But good luck to them, I hope it goes well but it does feel a bit strange for us.”

It seemed that even the bleak outcome of future business was not going to get in the way of the strong sense of hope which poured through Glasgow’s streets.

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Approaching the fan zone from the People’s Palace, there was a strong low hum of Scottish voices heard in support of our team.

Yes, Sir I Can Boogie mixed with Flower of Scotland were the go-to tracks for the karaoke happy crowd in the sold out event.

Even with dark clouds and rain on the horizon, the crowd remained positive as we were still at 0-0 25minutes in.

"We’ve waited twenty three years and we’re very excited” One fan wearing an Aye, Sir I Can Boogie top commented and another said they were “optimistic and feeling positive.”

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However, one man pointed out he was overall “very nervous” to witness Scotland in this major tournament.

And nerves dominated the game after the first goal from the Czech Republic but a rallying cry of “Come on, Scotland!” boosted moods.

Fans now sat at the edge of their seats as they watched intently across the three big screens in the main fan area of the East End event.

Yet, nerves turned to frustration as the overwhelming sense of a hopeful outcome slipped away.

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People clenched their saltires, knuckles whitened, with many individually coaching the players on what to do with the ball.

Yet, out of the sadness, the lion rampant was still seen flying high as people burrowed their heads in their hands, wrapped themselves in their flags and zipped up their hoodies.

The whistle blew and the game was over.

One man threw his saltire onto the ground and walked away, everyone following as the tannoy abruptly told the crowds to "Leave the village. The session is over.”

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Despite the evident upset, there was still the adrenaline of being a part of the Euros in a time when social distancing dominates our lives.

One wee boy still proudly flew his saltire in the air.

“I am proud of Scotland!” he was heard shouting amongst a dejected crowd.

Later on, on Argyle Street, a group of men were kicking a ball about whilst people blasted out disco remixes of Yes Sir, I can Boogie as they danced.

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If there is anything covid has taught us, Scotland is a resilient nation which tackles hardship with its head held high.

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