Like many Scots my history of supporting Scotland in sport has had its highs and its lows. The lows do tend to out- weigh the highs so you do get used to be on the losing team on most occasions and then out of the bag and quite unexpectedly you get an unexpected win and you can forgive them anything.
As a Glaswegian I was brought up with football as my main sport and I lived in my early life very near Hampden Park and my Dad was and is a life long Queens Park supporter which like Scotland has its lows and very occasional highs. One of my earliest sporting memories is Scotland’s great World Cup Adventure to Argentina where we were going to win the world cup! I was convinced of it my parents had bought me the record and I knew every word off by heart and believed it to be true “We are on the road with Ally’s army.” I can still just about sing it word for word today. I was more convinced too as one of the boys in my class at school was Ally McLeod’s nephew and he too convinced us that we were on the road to victory. So it was quite a shock to discover not only were we not going to win the world cup but we were coming home after the first round and in complete humiliation and the manager suffered from what many managers suffer today the media backlash on defeat after high hopes of victory. To this day I find it hard to be convinced when the Scottish football team gets talked up and prefer when it’s talked down its easier that way and it taught me a lesson early doors – you can’t predict a sports match even the best team can lose on the day given certain conditions.
On the plus side for football. As I said my Dad supports Queens Park which is usually to be found in the third division. But one year of my childhood this was not so they won their division and went up to the next league. It had all the drama of a historic football win Queens Park had to win the match and it was touch and go till the 90th minute. We were out on a glorious walk on the Island of Bute high above Rothesay and my dad had his radio with him to listen to the results. All was tense despite the beauty of the day and then I will never forget my dad’s roar nor perhaps will the citizens of Bute when the score came in and Queens Park had won brilliant will never forget the joy of that day and sharing that with my dad. Moments like these you have to hold on to especially when supporting teams like Queens Park and Scotland.
Anyway that is two Scottish football memories one a low and one a high. I still share an interest in football as I have a football mad son and a husband who poor man supports Aberdeen so this season especially has had his share of lows. I daren’t mention but I will the 9/0 defeat to Celtic. That was a tense day in the Drane household as though I do not support any football team with the passion of my husband and son I do have Celtic as a favourite. Partly as I am from the East side of Glasgow and partly as I refuse to make what football team I support reflect my religious beliefs. I had to try to keep quiet as my husband had a sense of humour bypass which I can’t blame him for.
But we are down in the Borders now and football is not the first game of choice down here though my son does play for the local St Boswells team and is very passionate about winning against all the local teams. No rugby rules in the Scottish Borders and when I first started working here I encountered a culture shock. I was used on a Monday morning having a chat about football – never mentioned chat was always about the local rugby results.
So always one to try local culture I have gradually got into the world of rugby till to be honest I would rather watch a national rugby game than football its far more interesting a game So at this time of year the Dranes on a saturday are glued to the screen to watch the autumn series and then after New Year its the Six nations that we wait for in anticipation. As ever though watching Scotland there are lows and highs and I confess when Ireland won the Six Nations a few years ago I was really all behind the Irish team as Scotland were poor to say the least. But I do think that the new management team under Andy Roberston has put more soul and passion into the team with a will to win that was not there before and also a focus on fitness and skill. It’s not been without its lows the Six Nations last year promised so much but was a disappointment but then we had the joy of the wins in Argentina which showed that progress was being made. To the horror of the match against New Zealand when it looked as if Scotland had gone back again.
My son loves Rugby and one of his burning wishes was to go to Murrayfield and see a national game and one that I was determined to make true for him. His chosen match was Italy in the Six Nations as he quite reasonably had decided that it was one Scotland could win! However I was very lucky to be talking to a mum in the village and had mentioned his zeal to go to a match. The family had free tickets for the Scotland/South Africa match which she gave me. I don’t think that any retail high has ever given me the high that I had when I had those tickets in my hand and realised I was about to make my son’s dream come true. He was going to Murrayfield and he was going to see the world champions play against Scotland. I was on a high for him though did point out to him that it was unlikely that Scotland would win. Though something deep within me told me that maybe it was one of those moments like Australia last year when Scotland surpassed themselves.
Son and husband went off in great excitement and my daughter and I sat down to watch the match and from the moment it started my feeling that Scotland was about to have a historic win intensified and I found myself screaming like a lunatic at the screen
” Go Scotland Go Scotland do it for my boy.”
And they did they held on to that win till the end it wasn’t another defeat at the end like Wales last year. We won. We won and my son was there to see it and be part of Scotland winning against the world champions. I stood there in my living room with tears rolling down my cheeks and saluted the Scotland players not just because they had given my son at his first national game a win but also it showed me what Scottish Sport is its winning and trying your best and coming back from defeat time and time again. This is a characteristic that I admire in people who can face failure overcome it and come back and start again. As Scots we might not always win but we do have a fighting spirit that sees not just the sports team but also the country in general fight back and keep going.
And those of you who know me will know I am passionate about Scotland and all things Scottish. I really hope that this is the start of a revival of the Scottish Rugby team winning and I will always remember the joy they gave my son when he watched them win against South Africa . For all the lows of watching Scotland at sport this is a high that like Queens Park winning the league I will remember all my life. It’s for this we watch sport.