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Sport / High hopes as members of Shetland’s Tartan Army prepare to head to Euros

Some of the Brae crew, from left to right: Jim Milne, Addie Manson, John Gold, James Milne.

ANTICIPATION is high as Shetland’s arm of the Tartan Army prepare to travel to Germany for Scotland’s Euro 2024 campaign.

A number of football fans from the isles will be heading to the competition in mid-June as Steve Clarke’s side look to make an impact at the tournament.

Going against recent tradition, Scotland has qualified for the Euros twice in a row now, with the last one taking place a few years ago.

Scotland has the prestige of playing the opening game against tournament hosts Germany on Friday 14 June before going on to line-up against Switzerland and Hungary.

Among those travelling from Shetland are seven Scotland fanatics from Brae, who include James Milne and John Gold.

Most of the group has tickets for all three group matches, and are heading off next week.

“I can’t wait for the opening game,” Gold said.

“It should be a cracker – hopefully getting Germany at the right time as they are usually slow starters at tournaments.”

Milne said it is “incredible” getting to attend the opening game, although for him it came at a high cost.

“The €400 ticket for that game stung a bit, but it’s the opening game at our first tournament on foreign soil since 98!”

There is also a family connection to the Euro trip for the pair.

Milne will be accompanied by his dad Jim, who is attending his first tournament, while Gold’s son Scott is similarly getting to experience one for the first time.

The group – which also includes Addie Manson, Ryan Sutherland and Mark McNeill – have four nights planned in Munich before ten in Frankfurt, with a night in Cologne and Stuttgart after the games.

A few of them are planning to stay on if Scotland qualifies out of the group.

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One of the group is even going without any tickets, to soak up the atmosphere. It is expected that many thousands of Scots will be doing just the same.

Gold and Milne have a long history when it comes to travelling the globe for Scotland’s away games, visiting countries as far flung as Russia and Albania.

Gold in particular has been on many travels, including to Scotland’s last appearance at a World Cup in France in 1998, as well as to Japan.

After a barren run of failing to qualify for international tournaments for more than two decades, Scotland managed to grab a place at Euro 2020, which was held in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

Scotland lost two of their three group games, and while they secured a credible draw against England, scoring only one goal in three matches and failing to qualify did not make for a very fruitful campaign.

Milne is optimistic that things are a little bit different now, given that Scotland qualified for Euro 2024 with relative ease and beat heavyweights Spain along the way.

“[Manager] Steve Clarke has got the Scotland into a club mentality, you can see on the pitch what it means to the players,” he said.

“I guess we hope we see more than one goal this time.

“You don’t go to a tournament thinking you’re going to lose, and this one’s no different, as John says Germany have been starting slow, and we are very capable of beating Hungary and Switzerland.

“My hope is to go into the third game with a chance of getting out of the group stage for the first time.”

Meanwhile some pubs and venues across Shetland are starting to advertise screenings of Scotland’s matches.

The opening game against Germany kicks off at 8pm on Friday 14 June, with Scotland then facing Switzerland on 19 June. The final group game against Hungary lands on 23 June.

If Scotland manage to bag enough points to qualify from their group, their knockout stage campaign will begin at the end of June.

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