The beer-stained kilts are now packed away in the dressing-up box until September, as the two words historically linked with Scotland’s football team – glorious failure – trip off the tongues of the Tartan Army.
Steve Clarke’s squad will be back in action in the World Cup qualifiers in three months when we’ll hear the usual nonsense about how they’ll reach the finals in Qatar as pundits are wheeled out, unable to tell the truth – that we’ll always be also-rans.
Still, the supporters can at least concentrate on our other national sport – drinking. Although now they’ll have to partake in that pastime without the need to don a football top, kilt and glengarry (optional) and shout incomprehensible statements into the lenses of passing TV cameras.
With compulsory cans of beer in hands, they sing, shake their fists in defiance and, for some obscure reason scream, “yes” in unison while predicting scores as far-fetched as the excuses they offered their bosses for being off work.
They’ll discuss their adventure for weeks, possibly months, to come; the fun, the mishaps, the booze, the scrapes and, occasionally, the games they watched on big screens at pubs where the price of a pint had unsurprisingly increased overnight.
The score doesn’t really matter when Scotland plays
I confess that I write as someone who wouldn’t be seen dead in a kilt, never mind a football jersey. Guising has never appealed.
Yet, having mingled with the Tartan Army’s foot soldiers at the 1998 World Cup in France, it was easy to see the joy and fun they derive from fancy dress and excessive alcohol consumption. Their team’s results never seem to be the top priority; it’s about having a whale of a time. Nothing wrong with that.
Do we really want to convey to the world that we are a nation of blotto-drunk nutcases with slurred predictions to convey to TV reporters?
Yet, some of the scenes we witnessed courtesy of TV of the ticketless, tartan-clad fans sweeping into London last week just to be fleeced by publicans – more than £15 for two pints of lager, according to one Facebook post – were embarrassing.
Do we really want to convey to the world that we are a nation of blotto-drunk nutcases with slurred predictions to convey to TV reporters? And when will those broadcasters grasp that to talk into a camera with a couple of hundred inebriated Braveheart extras behind you isn’t a good idea?
The triumph, apparently, was that Scotland reached the finals of the delayed Euro 2020 competition, the exit from which will at least bring a halt to the potential spread of Covid as the disciples in dark blue park their fantasy until next time.