Tartan Army

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Tartan Army at the opening match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, a tournament at which the Scots won an award for good behaviour Fansecosse1998.jpg
Tartan Army at the opening match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, a tournament at which the Scots won an award for good behaviour

The Tartan Army is a name given to fans of the Scotland national football team. They have won awards from several organisations for their friendly behaviour and charitable work. [1] [2] They have also been criticised at times for aspects of their behaviour, however, such as jeering at God Save the Queen. [3] [4]

Fan (person) person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or someone

A fan, or fanatic, sometimes also termed aficionado or supporter, is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or somebody, such as a singer or band, a sports team, a genre, a politician, a book, a movie or an entertainer. Collectively, the fans of a particular object or person constitute its fanbase or fandom. They may show their enthusiasm in a variety of ways, such as by promoting the object of their interest, being members of a fan club, holding or participating in fan conventions, or writing fan mail. They may also engage in creative activities such as creating fanzines, writing fan fiction, making memes or drawing fan art.

Scotland national football team mens association football team representing Scotland

The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. It competes in the three major professional tournaments, the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Nations League and the UEFA European Championship. Scotland, as a constituent country of the United Kingdom, is not a member of the International Olympic Committee and therefore the national team does not compete in the Olympic Games. The majority of Scotland's home matches are played at the national stadium, Hampden Park.

God Save the Queen national anthem of the United Kingdom and royal anthem of many Commonwealth realms

"God Save the Queen" is the national or royal anthem in a number of Commonwealth realms, their territories, and the British Crown dependencies. The author of the tune is unknown, and it may originate in plainchant; but an attribution to the composer John Bull is sometimes made.



The Tartan Army in Milan, Italy Tartan Army.png
The Tartan Army in Milan, Italy
Scotland fans at the Stadio San Nicola in Bari for a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying match against Italy. Stadio San Nicola.jpg
Scotland fans at the Stadio San Nicola in Bari for a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying match against Italy.

Tartan is part of the symbolic national dress of Scotland, and the name Tartan Army first came into common usage in the 1970s, to describe the "well-refreshed hordes" who would stand on the terracings at Hampden Park, or biannually at Wembley for the England match. [5] Scotland fans were criticised at that time for their hooliganism, particularly after they invaded the Wembley pitch and destroyed the goalposts after the 2–1 win against England in 1977. [6] [7]

Tartan Scottish cloth pattern, often representing a clan or other group

Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns. Tartan is often called plaid in the United States, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder as a kilt accessory, or a plain ordinary blanket such as one would have on a bed.

Alcohol any organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group (–OH) is bound to a saturated carbon atom

In chemistry, an alcohol is any organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group (–OH) is bound to a carbon. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol ethanol, which is used as a drug and is the main alcohol present in alcoholic beverages. An important class of alcohols, of which methanol and ethanol are the simplest members, includes all compounds for which the general formula is CnH2n+1OH. It is these simple monoalcohols that are the subject of this article.

Hampden Park football stadium

Hampden Park is a football stadium in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow, Scotland. The 51,866-capacity venue serves as the national stadium of football in Scotland. It is the normal home venue of the Scotland national football team and amateur Scottish league club Queen's Park F.C. and regularly hosts the latter stages of the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup competitions. It is also used for music concerts and other sporting events, such as when it was reconfigured as an athletics stadium for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Two years later, 349 arrests were made and a further 144 fans were ejected from Wembley Stadium during the 1979 British Home Championship match, mainly for drunk and disorderly behaviour and vandalism. [8] The behaviour in that latter match prompted the Scottish Sports Minister Alex Fletcher to apologise to colleagues and led to the creation of the Scotland Travel Club. [8]

Vandalism deliberate damage or defacement of an object or structure

Vandalism is the action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property.

The Scotland Travel Club was established in 1980 with the expressed purpose of encouraging responsible behaviour by fans. [1] [8] It has been suggested by Professor Eric Dunning that the improvement in behaviour arose mainly from a desire to look better than the English fans, who experienced significant problems with hooliganism during the 1980s and 1990s. [9] The Tartan Army have won a number of awards for their vocal support and friendly nature. [1]

The organisation of the Travel Club had an immediate impact, with the Scotland matches at the 1982 FIFA World Cup being played in a "family atmosphere". [8] The Tartan Army were named as the best supporters during the 1992 European Championship [1] and also received an award for their behaviour at the 1998 World Cup in France. [1] BBC News described the Scotland fans as "one of the highlights" of that World Cup, noting their colourful appearance. [10]

1982 FIFA World Cup 1982 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1982 FIFA World Cup was the 12th FIFA World Cup, played in Spain between 13 June and 11 July 1982. The tournament was won by Italy, who defeated West Germany 3–1 in the final match, held in the Spanish capital of Madrid. It was Italy's third World Cup win, but their first since 1938. The defending champions, Argentina, were eliminated in the second group round. Algeria, Cameroon, Honduras, Kuwait and New Zealand made their first appearances in the finals.

1998 FIFA World Cup 16th FIFA World Cup, held in France in 1998

The 1998 FIFA World Cup was the 16th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It was held in France from 10 June to 12 July 1998. The country was chosen as the host nation by FIFA for the second time in the history of the tournament, defeating Morocco in the bidding process. It was the second time that France staged the competition and the ninth time that it was held in Europe.

BBC News BBC department responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs

BBC News is an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online news coverage. The service maintains 50 foreign news bureaus with more than 250 correspondents around the world. Fran Unsworth has been Director of News and Current Affairs since January 2018.

Matches against England, which used to be played on an annual basis as part of the British Home Championship, were eventually stopped after 1989 due to violence and organised hooliganism. [11] Both matches that were played between the countries in November 1999 in qualification for UEFA Euro 2000 had associated problems. [12] Strathclyde Police made 230 arrests in connection with the tie played at Hampden, [12] while trouble at the second leg in Wembley resulted in 56 supporter injuries and 39 arrests. [13] Police spokesmen downplayed the incidents after both games, however. [12] [13] [14]

The British Home Championship was an annual football competition contested between the United Kingdom's four national teams: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Starting during the 1883–84 season, it is the oldest international football tournament and it was contested until the 1983–84 season, when it was abolished after 100 years.

UEFA Euro 2000 2000 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 2000 UEFA European Football Championship, also known as Euro 2000, was the 11th UEFA European Championship, which is held every four years and organised by UEFA, association football's governing body in Europe.

Strathclyde Police former police force in Scotland, United Kingdom

Strathclyde Police was the territorial police force responsible for the Scottish council areas of Argyll and Bute, City of Glasgow, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire between 1975 and 2013. The Police Authority contained members from each of these authorities.

Comments after the first game indicated that the arrests were for minor public order offences and that the scale of violence witnessed was lower than a typical Friday evening in Glasgow. [12] [14] The Metropolitan Police adopted a "zero tolerance" approach for the second game, but the number of arrests were "comparatively small" and the "vast majority" of supporters were well behaved. [13]

The Tartan Army were awarded a Fair Play prize by the Belgian Olympic Committee after a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Brussels. [1] The fans had been praised by the mayor of Zagreb for their behaviour after a match against Croatia in the same competition. [1]

In April 2002, during the joint bid by Scotland and Ireland to host the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament, First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell cited the "worldwide reputation" of the Tartan Army as a strength of the bid, stating that other countries welcome their arrival "with open arms". [15] In 2005, the Scotland Travel Club became the Scotland Supporters Club, with sections for younger fans being established. [16] Membership had grown to 17,000 by this time. [16] The UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying campaign saw membership numbers increase dramatically to a capacity of 27,500, with a waiting list of over 10,000. [16]

The Scotland Supporters Club is operated by the Scottish Football Association, with membership guaranteeing one match ticket for all home fixtures and offering the opportunity to apply for away match tickets. [17] As of August 2010, the club is at its maximum capacity of 35,000 members and therefore does not accept applications. [18]

In August 2008, Irish Football Association chief executive Howard Wells criticised jeering from Scottish supporters during the British National Anthem, "God Save the Queen", before a friendly international match against Northern Ireland. [3] [4] The SFA, who had pleaded with fans not to jeer the anthem, [19] admitted that they were also "disappointed" by the booing. [3] [4] [19]

The Scottish Government also criticised the Tartan Army, commenting that it had "tarnished" their reputation. [3] Scotland were not punished for the booing because the match was a friendly, which fell outside the jurisdiction of UEFA. [19] "God Save the Queen" was previously used as the Scottish team's anthem, but it was replaced during the 1970s due to consistent booing at matches. [20] "Scotland the Brave" was initially used as a replacement, [20] with "Flower of Scotland" being commonly used since 1990. [21]

This issue recurred when Scotland played Liechtenstein in September 2010, as their national anthem uses the tune of "God Save the Queen". [22] SFA acting chief executive George Peat publicly apologised for a section of the fans jeering the anthem. [22] It was again booed when Scotland played Northern Ireland in the 2011 Nations Cup. [23] The Tartan Army has been a consistent opponent of the concept of a Great Britain team, particularly its participation in the 2012 Olympic Games, due to concerns that such participation would endanger the separate status of Scotland within international football. [24] [25] [26] [27]


Research carried out in 1996 noted that the proportion of the Tartan Army comprising Rangers supporters, "traditionally the backbone of the Tartan Army", had declined since the 1980s. [28] However, Rangers still provided the single largest proportion with 21%, [29] while west-of-Scotland Catholics, traditionally associated with Celtic, were still notably under-represented. [28] Politically, the Scottish National Party enjoyed the support of almost two in five Tartan Army members. [28]

Charitable work

The Tartan Army received a nomination in the inaugural International Scot Award, as part of The Herald newspaper's Scottish Politician of the Year ceremony, for their charitable work. [2] [30] The Tartan Army Children's Charity (TACC) and Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal (TASA) are both registered Scottish charities run by Scotland fans, raising money for disadvantaged children in Scotland and in the countries visited by fans following the team.

The Sunshine Appeal was first launched after a Scotland away fixture against Bosnia in 2000, when group of fans were introduced to Kemal Karic, a local boy who had lost his leg in the shelling of Sarajevo. TASA's aim is to make a donation in every country where Scotland play a game, which they've done since 2003 on 50 consecutive away games.

TACC has donated funds to projects for disabled and blind children in Ukraine, Georgia and Macedonia. [31] In 2009, £30,000 was donated to each of two projects in South Africa, where the Tartan Army had hoped to visit for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. [31] [32] The TACC, which is the nominated charity of the SFA, also organise trips for disadvantaged Scottish children to watch Scotland play at Hampden Park. [31] TACC's main fundraising events are a lottery monthly lottery and the TACC Kiltwalk, an annual 26-mile sponsored walk from Hampden Park to Loch Lomond. [31]

Official tartan

The Tartan Army tartan Tartan 2389 of Tartan Army.jpg
The Tartan Army tartan

Prior to the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Ian and Alan Adie, two Glasgow businessman, trademarked the name "Tartan Army" in 1997. They approached the Scottish Tartans Authority to assist in creating a tartan. Keith Lumsden designed the corporate tartan on their behalf and it was registered on 1 March 1997 under number 2389 with both the Scottish Tartans Authority (STA) and the Scottish Tartans World Register (STWR). [33] [34]

It is mostly Balmoral Blue      and Torea Bay     , with Freedom Red     , Gainsboro White     , and Golden Poppy     .

The Scottish Tartans Society notes that the design was taken originally from Royal Stewart and modified having Black Watch added as a background. [33] It was first seen in common use at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. [33]

See also

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