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July 2008

See how this compares with Ally's previous stab at it in October 2001

1. First home and away matches?  

Home: Scotland 2 East Germany 0, 1982. Scorers Paul Sturrock and John Wark (Euro Championship qualifier). The memory of walking into the West Stand and seeing the floodlit pitch for the very first time is still very vivid. In those days it was all terracing and crush barriers, and it was still just railway sleepers and dirt as well. The north stand had recently been partially closed and the east stand was uncovered. A great game and the melee of celebration of each goal was an adventure in itself.

Away: Holland 0 Scotland 0, Euro 96 at Villa Park, Birmingham. Dour nil nil which was better for us than for holland. First time at a championship finals for me having watched everything from Argentina 78 on the telly at home. It was magic to finally be there and experience things first hand for a change.

2. Best away trip?

Kirin Cup 2006, Tokyo and Kobe. Total culture shock! If one race could rule the world then I'd vote for the Japanese. They put the "civil" in civilisation. Bullet trains, metros, politeness, innovation, superb food. One of the few places that I would consider emigrating to.


3. Best foreign stadium visited?

Millenium Stadium, Cardiff. I'm not a fan of new grounds, but if you're going to do it then it should be city centre - part of the city, accessible, and in your face. Five minutes from pub to seat and no stress about getting there, or back.

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4. Best foreign pub/club visited?
I don't really think too much about which pub we're in and rarely remember the name of the pub afterwards. But I did really like the Ganse Markt in Dortmund though. Very friendly, small pub, right off the square.

5. Describe your usual match-day attire
Ditched the pipers jacket and hairy sporran some time back now and really just stick with the more sedate kilt, boots and t-shirt. Got a Balmoral and a Glengarry, but more likely to leave both at home these days. There is a fine line between die-hard and try-hard...

6. Is there anywhere you have seen Scotland play that you would like to go back to?
Japan, Hong Kong, Georgia, Italy, Germany, Estonia, Belarus, Poland, Czech Rep, Bordeaux

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7. Where have you have seen Scotland play that you would NOT like to return to?
Faroes, Ireland, England, Wales, Holland, Norway, Belgium, Lithuania - for a combination of reasons ranging from hated the place to been there too many times already. Nothing against Ireland, England or Wales, but they're just not foreign enough. And I love the Faeroes, but a rock in the north atlantic isn't the best place for a football trip - and they are tricky buggers to take three points off!

8. And where do you want to go to (but haven't yet)?
South America! And Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Bosnia, Croatia

9. Who's the best Scottish player that you have actually seen?
John Robertson, Nottingham Forest winger and coaching sidekick to Martin O Neill. He used to turn people inside out every game. He also won the European Cup twice setting up the winner in one and scoring the winner in the other. (There can't be many clubs that have won the European Cup more times than they've won their domestic league championship).
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10. Who's the best opposing player you have actually seen?
Off the top of my head probably Thierry Henry or Zidane unless I get anal and go checking the record books from some of the older games I've been to.

11. Favourite Scottish home and away kits of all time?
Got to be Argentina 78 shirt. The red away shirt from the same era is also a belter.

12. And your least favourite?

The diadora one with the white triangle under the neck. Even the pinstripe one has got a bit of character about it in comparison!

Don't like any of the white away shirts. White is the wrong colour.

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13. What is your favourite and least favourite Scotland chant/song?

I can't think of anything that is currently inspirational. We seem to have lost the spontaneity we used to have for new songs and seem to rely entirely on "Doe a Deer" or "We'll be coming" to generate any kind of atmosphere. Both are fit for purpose but we could do with something fresh.

Can't be arsed with the old Stand up/Sit down routine any more, or anything else anti english.


14. Which have been the highest and lowest points of supporting Scotland?

High - the home win against France. The away one was too surreal for me and I just walked away in a daze without really believing what I'd just seen. The home win was when we really got it right up Trezeguet and put ourselves top of the qualifying group.

Low - Euro 96 v Switzerland. I've never felt quite as low as that any time in my life.


15. What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you on tour (that you're prepared to tell us about)?
Friendly in Norway, I walked in to the ground, checked the seat and row then went right along an entire row filled with u21s players and back room staff getting them to stand up and let us past so we could get to our seats. Sat down a few seats the other side of them in the correct seats and looked about wondering why we were away in the corner by ourselves. Then realised we were in the wrong section. The really embarrassing bit was getting them all to stand up again to let us back out.
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16. Best and worst toilets visited on tour?

Best toilets in the world are Japanese. Neither Jimmy Saville's seat nor Captain Kirk's has got more buttons to play with, and I could spend hours pressing the flush just to watch the water swirling round the bowl.

Worst - see the photos in Toilets of the World. Portaloo at FC Dacia, Chisinau.


17. Favourite domestic stadium?
Anything traditional with terracing and crush barriers. I don't know enough of the lower divisions to pick out one that fits the bill.

18. Best domestic match ever attended?

Celtic 1 Aberdeen 3. Eric Black hat trick.

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19. Favourite chant/song heard at a domestic match?
Flower of Scotland being sung to Rangers fans.  

20. Best domestic pub/club?
The Bayview in Brora circa 1982 when George Rapson had it.

21. What are your pet hates?

Too many to list, but top of the list are glory hunting triumphalist and/or armchair fans who think that because their (arbitrarily chosen) team has an occasional chance of winning something that it somehow adds something to their boring self centred miserable existence.

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22. What makes you chuckle?
Phoning Bruce from Japan on someone else's mobile!

23. Best night out ever on a TA trip? (aka the "Tuesday Night in Graz Award")
Tuesday night in Graz.

24. You're stranded on a remote island in the Hebrides. Before the ship went down you managed to salvage some belongings (to help you pass the time until you're rescued) including...
1 book? 1 magazine? 1 album? 1 film? Not sure, I'd just grab something in the duty free shop on my way to the lifeboats.

1 beer? Innes and Gunn.

1 spirit? Clynelish

And 1 famous member of the opposite sex? Kiera Knightly. Can she also be dressed up in her Pirates of the Caribbean gear as well please? Just for authenticity you understand.

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