Alex Massie

A Tartan Army Polka

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Ah, apparently we're supporting Poland this summer. Good to get that decided early.

AFTER 10 years of being unable to cheer on their favourites at the finals of a big football tournament, the Tartan Army is switching sides to back Poland at this summer's European championships.

The supporters' organisation - with 1,500 members and dozens of branches in the country - has thrown its weight behind the eastern European side after all the home nations were knocked out of the competition.

Since 2004, more than 40,000 Poles have come to Scotland and the Tartan Army foot soldiers have vowed to show solidarity with their new neighbours. Pubs and restaurants in towns and cities with large Polish communities are preparing special events to coincide with Poland games.

Sports stores in Scotland are stocking replica Polish shirts in the run-up to the tournament and are expecting to cash in on demand from Poles and Scots supporters alike.

Hamish Husband, spokesman for the West of Scotland Tartan Army, said that Scots were used to being the underdog in big competitions and should support Poland who face Germany, Croatia and Austria in the group stage of the tournament, next month, which is co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.

“We know what it feels like to be the underdogs. We got behind Latvia* at the last World Cup after their football association put out an appeal for all Scotsmen to support them,” he said. “It's been a difficult one because we are not given the option of supporting whoever is playing England so we have had to open our minds up a bit.”

Via Holyrood Chronicles.

(Actually, as is customary, I'll be supporting Italy, but you get the point...)

*Update: As commenter Ewan Watt points out, Latvia weren't at the last World Cup. I think Mr Husband meant to say Trinidad & Tobago.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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