Looking back on Scotland’s previous campaigns with a commentary legend!

Archie Macpherson at Corkerhill

The Euros 2024 are now in full swing and as we watch and listen to the matches, let’s not forget the commentators who are charged with ensuring viewers and listeners are getting an accurate and hopefully, unbiased, report on the game. 

Many reporters and pundits go one to become household names, including Guy Mowbray one of our many brilliant patrons, and they almost become as legendary as the names they are commentating about.  

In Scotland ask anybody, football fan or not to name a commentator and we can just about guarantee one name will pop up more than any other – Archie Macpherson.  

Macpherson has worked for the BBC, STV, Eurosport, Setanta Sports, Radio Clyde and TalkSPORT. He is someone not to take himself too seriously having made a few appearances in popular culture including “Scotch and Wry” and “Trainspotting”. 

So, needless to say, our club at Corkerhill Community Club in Glasgow were thrilled to have Archie as their guest at the beginning of the month. He shared many memories during the session but one stood out as he recalled the birth of the now famous Tartan Army. 

The Scottish team have qualified for six World Cups. In 1974, Archie felt that all the focus was on the team as, indeed, everyone seemed a bit bewildered that they had actually qualified for the first time. But what stood out for him was on the team’s return to Glasgow despite being knocked out was the thousands of fans waiting to rapturously greet the team. 

However, in his opinion, this led to a lot of misplaced beliefs when Scotland qualified again in 1978. He laid a lot of the blame on the Scotland team manager of the time, Ally MacLeod. Archie was quick to preface his observations with the undisputed fact that Ally was “a lovely lovely human being” but was mistaken in his strategies. For example, at his first press conference Ally said: “I don’t dislike the English, I hate their guts” - which just played to the gallery of an anti-English element in the Scotland support. This in turn led to some disgraceful fan behaviour. 

Moving on to 1982 and Scotland again qualified but had to head out to Spain for the tournament and were drawn against the mighty Brazil playing in Seville. The Brazilian fans know how to party, have fun and just enjoy the game of football. Scottish fans saw this and soon adopted this joyous behaviour. The climate, the beauty of Seville and the friendliness of Brazilian fans had a magical effect on the Scottish fans. This has led to the Tartan Army being welcomed around the world with their team. In Archie’s words: “It is not just about results but the whole experience” 

The Tartan Army will be digging deep into that reserve after their opening match of 2024 disappointment! 

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