Fancy travelling the NATA way, or are you a NATA member who's
simply forgotten what train/plane/boat you're catching (David?).
Either way, this is where you can find the NATA travel plans for
any upcoming matches.
These are the remaining dates lined up in 2009 for confirmed
The dates are taken from the FIFA Co-ordinated International Calendar.
Obviously, Scotland won't be playing on each and every date, and
some of the Qualifier dates may be available for friendlies.
I believe in the old saying “if
you can’t say anything nice, then don’t
say anything at all”. Having been to Oslo twice
before for football (2003 and 2005), here are my thoughts
With Oslo being one of the most depressing grey lumps
of concrete I've ever visited, we're flying in and out
just for the game, arriving Tuesday evening and departing
on Thursday afternoon. In between, I'll be trying to
avoid paying silly prices for beer (£7 for a Guinness,
anyone?), although by some quirk of the international
currency markets, sterling has yet to lose as much value
against the NOK as it has against everything else (as
at April 2009), so thankfully everything will be just
as ridiculously over-priced as previous trips, instead
of being even worse.
The game is almost guaranteed to be played in Oslo’s
25,000 capacity Ulleval Stadium. Allow a looooonnnnngggg
time to get back after the game - that metro service
doesn't like big crowds!
For anyone looking for inspiration, Helen and I caught
the ferry to Copenhagen after the 2003 friendly and
had a great time – there’s a spacious bar
(at Danish prices, which will seem like a bargain on
the Thursday!), a disco and other sundry distractions
to keep you amused.
Irrespective of the questionable wisdom
of taking the team on a 12,000 mile round-trip for a
friendly, Helen's generous decision to use some of her
redundancy pay-out to fund our trip means that we'll
be making the trip. My own visit is very quick - boots
on the ground in Tokyo for 73 hours, taking Finnair
on a LHR-HEL-NRT route on the way out, leaving Wednesday,
arriving Thursday and coming back HND-KIX-HEL-LHR on
the way home on the Sunday. Bruce is out for a similar
time, but taking the more direct route with BA.
Unlike the vast majority of the Tartan Army, who seem
to be converging on the Shinjuku district of Tokyo,
Helen and I have plumped for the (relatively) more sedate
surrounds of Yokohama itself for our own stay. Well,
it is hosting a German beer festival whilst we're there...
The game will be played at the Yokohama World Cup Stadium,
where Ally, Susan, Helen and myself witnessed a Japanese
league cup game between Yokohama F Marinos and Urawa
Red Diamonds the last time we were there in 2006 for
the Kirin Cup. It's an absolutely massive stadium, with
the stands a very long way from the pitch, but it's
not really a "great" one.
Nothing planned - still waiting for games
like Japan away (below) to be confirmed!
If we finish runners-up in our group when it finishes in
September, and if we're not the worst-placed runner-up of
the 9 groups (calculated once results against the sixth-placed
team have been discounted) when everyone else stops playing
in October, we will have a two-legged play-off in November
to look forward to.
With the long-running Japan rumour belatedly confirmed
in July, the only remaining gossip at present seems to centre around
a trip to South Africa to help the hosts road-test a stadium, most
likely in February or May 2010 in return for hosting a friendly
at Pittodrie a couple of years ago.
A "Celtic Cup" is also supposed to be
taking place in 2011, featuring ourselves, Wales and the two Irelands.
Rumour has it the first competition will take place in Belfast.
Hardly the most inspiring competition, but c'est la vie...