Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Scotland 1 v 1 FYR Macedonia - 11/9/2012

...the end of a double header...

On Monday, Chris reported on the disappointment of Saturday's 0-0 draw with Serbia. I had expected when taking on this assignment that I'd be able to write about the pride and never say die attitude of Scotland and their fans. I mean, that's what the nation of Scotland is, isn't it? A proud nation, one who always battles and shows fighting spirit, can be a bit dour and negative but always, always backs their country to the hilt. Scotland know that most of the time they will be the brave underdog, but they rise to the challenge and the nation unites.

I've watched Scotland for many years. I've seen some tremendous games but on the other hand I've witnessed eras that I'd sooner forget. I personally don't expect Scotland (at the moment) to be up there challenging in the finals of tournaments but i do expect progress and I also expect passion to be shown on the pitch. When we were drawn fourth in the Group A of the World Cup Qualifiers, I genuinely thought fourth place fitted us. Belgium and Croatia are both very accomplished teams and Serbia, although not as strong as they previously were, still have some very dangerous players. The last World Cup campaign, although we ended up quite close to qualifying, was really set up so that we could progress and give ourselves the chance of an 'easier' shot at qualifying for the Euros. The progress began to falter there and last night at Hampden, it virtually left the rails.

And now that I've said that, to last nights match. Much has already been written about the poor performances over two games by the team and whether or not the current manager is the right man for the job but the telling thing for me last night was the atmosphere. Hampden is rarely quiet for a Scotland game. There will be lulls but for the majority of the 90 minutes the fans will sing and cheer their team on whether it's 3-0 or 0-3. Not last night. In fact, the atmosphere was quite surreal. When your team gets a vital equaliser before halftime and the cheer isn't even half as loud for the applause for a certain tennis player who won his first major in the wee small hours of that morning, then you know something is up. The 32,000 fans inside the ground seemed disillusioned, fed up and almost angry. It was like there was no fight left to give, or it wasn't a cause they wanted to fight for.

Myself and Chris discussed after the game on Saturday that it was strange to hear Scotland fans chanting for Levein to bring on a certain player (Jordan Rhodes), it was even stranger to hear them chant 'We Want A Striker' just after half-time last night. In club football you get that, at International level, particularly in Scotland, it seemed completely out of leftfield.

For me, Hampden is always an exciting experience. The steeped banked stands create a great atmosphere and I always have a bit of a buzz on the day of a trip to Hampden. I even did yesterday prior to this match despite having endured a poor ninety minutes v Serbia. There is no doubt that I'll get excited again come March 22nd next year but I'm sure many of the Tartan Army are waiting for that day in dread, wondering whether they can bring themselves to forego the chance to cheer their team on from the stands and stay away until the change they feel is right, happens.

Highlights of Scotland v Macedonia can be viewed here

Match Attendance - 32,430

Ticket Cost - £25

Train Ticket - £12.10 (Return From Edinburgh); £1.90 (Return Glasgow Central to Crossmyloof)

Stadium Catering: Bovril (Beefy Drink!) - A couple of quid

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