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All roads leading to Germany as Tartan Army are bound for Euro football fiesta

© SNS GroupScotland fans in Trafalgar Square for a friendly match against England at Wembley.
Scotland fans in Trafalgar Square for a friendly match against England at Wembley.

Almost a quarter of million Scots are set to descend on Germany as the Tartan Army gears up for the 2024 Euro Championships.

All eyes will be on Munich this Friday as Scotland face the daunting task of kicking off the tournament against the heavily fancied hosts.

Hopes are high that Steve Clarke’s side can secure qualification from the group stages for the first time in the nation’s history.

The exact number of fans planning to head over isn’t known but official figures show Scotland have 10,000 fans for each of their three group matches.

However, many more are expected to travel, including Scotland’s First Minister, John Swinney, who is taking a break from campaigning in the general election in order to head to the opening match.

Airline company Ryanair has said they are looking forward to taking fans over to see the games.

A spokesman said: “Ryanair looks forward to carrying Scottish footie fans onboard our frequent low fare flights between Scotland and Germany to enjoy the Championship in person.

“Last month, we announced over 11,000 extra seats between the UK and Germany for the Euro 2024 Championships, including 4,000 extra seats across several special one-off flights on routes such as Edinburgh to Memmingen and Glasgow to Cologne ensuring that Scottish fans can soak up that match day atmosphere and cheer on their team from a stadium seat.”

John Swinney to join fans for Scotland’s Euro 2024 opener in Germany

Edinburgh airport officials say they are expecting around 13,000 passengers to take direct flights to Germany over the next two weeks.

Many fans are also making their way through other countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland to reach their final decision.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We’re looking forward to seeing Scotland fans heading through the airport and out to Germany to cheer the team on at the Euros – and we look forward to welcoming them back for the victory parade in July.

“As an airport we see passengers from all across the world travel through the terminal and we know everybody enjoys seeing a mix of tartan, and the positive atmosphere events like this bring.

“We hope everyone can move through safely and quickly, which is why preparing for security is really important.

“Fans might need to factor in a wee bit of extra time as they remove and reattach things like sporrans, and please leave sgian-dubhs at home or in checked baggage.

“The 100ml liquid rules also remain in place so prepare as normal.”

German carrier Lufthansa has two flights a day to Frankfurt, while easyJet has increased its Berlin service to four a week from Glasgow Airport.

Bookings have also been made on indirect routes, such as through London Heathrow and Schiphol in Amsterdam.

Away from the planes, fans are taking trains and automobiles in a desperate bid to cheer on their favourites.

The UK Foreign Office provided travel advice to fans heading over, including a warning that “beer can be stronger than in the UK, so drink responsibly”, though many fans laughed at the advice.

Planes, trains and an ambulance on Andy’s march to Munich?

Andy Redmond. © Supplied
Andy Redmond.

While Scotland fans will deploy planes, trains and automobiles to get to Germany, foot soldier Andy Redmond really should be hailing an ambulance.

This long-standing poster boy for the Tartan Army ought to be blue-lit to Munich having “died” eight times due to chronic medical conditions.

The 76-year-old joked: “It’s just as well I’m not a cat!”

Tartan Army pals have rallied round to look after him next week, in what will be his swansong trip following Scotland all over the world.

He said: “I’m a bit apprehensive but my pals have vowed to take care of me so I should be OK.”

Andy, from Motherwell in Lanarkshire, has been photographed all over the world where a Scotland match has taken place.

But the Euros in Germany pose a big challenge.

Airport assistance has been arranged at airports in Glasgow, Frankfurt, Baden- Baden and London.

But a 20-minute walk to the Allianz Arena and reaching upper reaches of other German stadia will test Andy as he suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis and he urgently needs a hip replacement.

He ingests morphine each day for his breathing, takes 20 tablets every 24 hours and, on a Monday, self-injects for his arthritis.

Andy was “dead” for 20 minutes in 2000 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

There have been seven more events like it over the years, seriously testing his cat-like nine lives. Following his divorce around the same time, he says he was able to begin following Scotland to Georgia, Norway, England, the US, France, Wales, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Macedonia and Israel.

He said: “I really feel this is going to be my last trip. I don’t have anything booked for the later stages of the tournament.

“So, I guess this is where it all comes to an end.”

One of his mates said: “The guy’s a legend.

“He has improved the image of the Tartan Army so much, it’s fair that we go out of our way to help him get to Germany.”

A world of adventure for Tartan Army fans

For many Tartan Army fans, this summer is just the latest in a series of adventures that has taken them all over the world.

Eoin Garvey, 24, from Lochgelly, Fife, has followed Scotland since primary school and went to games with his grandfather and friends.

He said: “We’ve got a really good chance of getting out of the group this time. We have some great players – my favourite is Kieran Tierney – and there’s a real team spirit.

“Being in the Tartan Army isn’t just about the football, though – the match only lasts 90 minutes. It’s about seeing new places and meeting new people. I’ve travelled to 22 countries following Scotland and have loved every minute.”

Cailin Roy is 26 and has also followed the team since she was very young. “My older brother hated football so when I was born, my dad was determined that I’d be a fan,” said Cailin.

“We went to all the games together. For my 10th birthday, he got me a ticket for a Norway away match – and I do love football.”

Sadly, Cailin’s dad died in 2017, which is when she began attending matches with friends.

Here, she met her partner, Struan Dow. Struan, 30, has been following Scotland, home and away, since 2015. He will be in Germany this month and hasn’t booked a return plane ticket in the hope that the team get through to the next stage.

“There’s a great camaraderie among the fans and you see places that you might never normally go to,” he said.

Jack Morrison is 30 and is from Edinburgh. He said: “My dad signed me up as a member of the Supporters Club when I was six and I started properly going to away matches in 2016. I don’t think I’ve missed many matches since then.

“I’ve been all over with Scotland. The farthest was probably Armenia or Georgia.”