Dream Fever…

Date: 3rd June 2022

The first weekly blog provided to you by our Donald Stewart.

Dream Fever…

As I write this, it has not happened.

As you read, this it shall have.

Of such things dreams are made?

On the 1st of June 2022, the believable which was once the impossible may begin to come true.

It starts with the unreal in that we host a country so popular that their winning things as obscure as the Eurovision Song Contest is assured. All they needed to do is turn up and the majority of the world is their biggest supporter…

They arrive at Hampden on their trail of getting to a World Cup that almost everyone and their Eastern European granny want them to grace.

We are likely to be the pantomime villains because we too want to get there.

We want to stop that dream and replace it with our own.

But we also want to progress and support the Ukrainian national team: it is the most bizarre of sporting circumstances.

Shall it be a friendly match where tackles are less committed than ever before? I hope not.

Shall it be a game played in front of an unsegregated crowd who are united, arm in arm, against the Russian Bear singing songs of military style conquests with unfamiliar place names like the right pronunciation of Kyiv and Mariupol? Hardly likely.

Shall it be a no win situation? More than likely…

Competitions often provide us with an underdog or favourite because of the unfortunate circumstances in which they find themselves. Denmark in the Euros got that tag when they had a player die on the pitch and then be revived. We now face a country at war in a game of football. It is perhaps perverse that we are thinking of playing a game with people who have relatives dying for freedom.

How can we possibly win?

Well, the captain of our team, Andy Robertson is utterly clear – we need to separate that sympathy and get on with the task of winning, of making sure we have another cup-final to look forward to – in Cardiff.

And he is right but, the task is daunting. Both Ukraine and Wales are ranked higher than us. And yet we have belief like we have not had for decades. What we have is a realism that backs up that belief. We know we can now, and the great bunch of players who produce on the training pitch are now the great bunch of players who produce on the park. That’s new…

But the task is still daunting.

We must remember that both Ukraine and Wales have players on the world stage that are recognisable outside of their own countries, who play in leagues with better reputations than our own and who have experiences the likes of which most of our players will aspire to rather than achieve.

Mind you we have Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney. Robertson though, has a Champion’s League final to get through and Tierney is out the game! If it were daunting before…

To be fair, we have a crew of players whose desire to play for the jersey I wouldn’t swap for a De Bruyne. (OK, maybe I would swap the subs bench…)

On the 1st of June I hope the headlines show Ukrainian sympathy and Scottish success.

That’s it.

The war in their country is a horrendous piece of history that shall show the Russians for what they have become and the Ukrainians as an example of what we would all like to become; heroic, resolute and unwilling to bend to bullies.

But we need a similar resolution in the boots. We need that steely will to win which will take us beyond the boogie to the main dance. We need to progress whilst Ukraine needs the spotlight. In an age where sport is accused of being used to sports wash human rights abuses like in the World Cup venues itself; we have an opportunity to show the best of ourselves. We can be a beacon; be the change we want to see in others as Scotland show not just sporting integrity but respect for their fellow sports stars. And there is not a better vessel for that message than the Tartan Army. If we can nail the Commonwealth Games as we did in 2014 as the Friendly Games, we can nail this too as the tie that showed the world that sport celebrates the best in us.

Then we all win. I just hope we win a bit more than the Ukraine do is all…

Oh I have that hope thing again…


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