Scotland and Tartan Army Euros performance brings 'intangible benefits' to country

Supporters creating memories in Germany that will last forever

Scotland fans get flattered, everywhere they go. That should be the new song. That should be the one resounding around the streets of German cities, where locals are cherishing what the Tartan Army have been bringing to Euro 2024. 

Scottish Football Association chief executive Ian Maxwell believes his equivalent at the Scottish Tourist Board should be contacting each and every travelling supporter to offer heartfelt thanks for enhancing Scotland’s image abroad. Even the major of Cologne has expressed the hope that the team and fans return to the city for a last 16 game, which remains possible. 

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“You can’t buy that kind of PR,” said Maxwell. “And it’s those types of benefits you get from qualifying for major tournaments. They’re the intangible benefits. There will be people who maybe weren’t that interested in football now going out to watch the game on Sunday.

“That’s the bit you can’t put a price on. It generates so much interest in the game all over the country. It’s about maximising that now and keeping it going. And a big part of that is making sure we get to the next tournament. By doing this on a regular basis drives that interest.

Scotland fans have travelled in numbers to Germany.Scotland fans have travelled in numbers to Germany.
Scotland fans have travelled in numbers to Germany. | PA

“In Germany, there are so many families who have gone over. It’s kids with their parents and grandparents. They’re creating memories that people will remember forever.”

Maxwell’s own son, Christian, has been part of the friendly invasion for the first two games. “He said to me: ‘Dad, this has been the best five days of my life’. He can’t stop talking about it.”

Maxwell himself missed the 1-1 draw with Switzerland as he continues to recover from eye surgery. He was at the opening game against Germany and has flown back out for today’s crucial final group game against Hungary in Stuttgart. How could he possibly not be here? After all, he could be the first SFA chief executive to have to deal with the logistics of extending the national’s side extended stay beyond the first round. 

“It’s a bit of history, isn’t it?” he said. “It would be the first time we’ve done it. The boys have shown over a longer period now that we’re a decent side.

“We weren’t that far away from getting to the World Cup in Qatar and obviously made the last Euros. So we’re getting a track record for qualifying now - or at least being very close to it.

“We want to keep that momentum and good feeling going. I know the manager and the players want to reach the next stage here because that’s the next part of their progression.

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“We qualified for Euro 2024 quicker than we’ve ever done in a group. But we probably gave ourselves a problem with the friendly games after those matches that didn’t matter in terms of qualification.

“Bizarrely, we were probably victims of our own success in that regard and we got a bit of stick. We didn’t win some games and the complexion changed a bit.

Scotland's Scott McTominay arrives in Stuttgart ahead of tonight's match against Hungary.Scotland's Scott McTominay arrives in Stuttgart ahead of tonight's match against Hungary.
Scotland's Scott McTominay arrives in Stuttgart ahead of tonight's match against Hungary. | PA

“But after the Germany game here, the way the players responded and turned it around with their performance against Switzerland - was fantastic. If they could go one step further by beating Hungary? I don’t think you can describe in words what it would mean to the country. It would be a fantastic achievement.

“When we appointed Steve in 2019, if you were told this is what’s going to happen in the next four and a half years - every one of us would have taken it.”

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