June 10, 1998 World Cup, Group A

FourFourTwo - - ACTION REPLAY -

“To choose a favourite ticket stub from the 50-plus Scot­land away games I’ve seen since 1994 is dif­fi­cult, but the one I trea­sure most is my Brazil vs Scot­land ticket from France 98.

Mem­o­ries of a match I went to with my grand­fa­ther will stay with me for the rest of my life. The Scots were on the global stage, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the open­ing game of a World Cup with the spot­light on us – even with Ron­aldo play­ing at his peak for the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons.

It was elec­tric. Our seats were up in the Stade de France gods – Brazil sup­port­ers were do­ing the samba to our left and the Tar­tan Army were to our right.

I’ll never for­get the at­mos­phere be­fore kick-off, and the ren­di­tion of All You Need Is Love by The Bea­tles. The song’s first few bars are the in­tro to La Mar­seil­laise, and be­side us this old French guy – com­plete with beret – gets up, hand on heart and about to go full blast, when sud­denly the voices of Len­non and Mccart­ney kick in! This bloke just stood there with a look of com­plete con­fu­sion on his face.

Af­ter go­ing be­hind to Ce­sar Sam­paio’s early header we were fear­ing the worst, but then came the John Collins penalty. I was so ner­vous, the wounds from Gary Mcal­lis­ter’s miss at Wem­b­ley two years be­fore still fresh. It took a life­time for the ball to find the net – then a split-sec­ond’s dis­be­lief to re­alise that we’d just lev­elled against the hold­ers.

A Tom Boyd own goal con­signed us to de­feat, but very lit­tle since has matched that af­ter­noon for Scot­land.

Af­ter the game we made our way back into Paris. All day the weather had been beau­ti­ful, but once we’d left the sta­dium the heav­ens opened. Mid-mon­soon, we darted into a hot­dog tent, where a ven­dor placed a bot­tle of beer in my 17-year-old hand and said, ‘Un­lucky my friend.’”

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