'Tartan Army are winners' Archie Macpherson heaps praise on Scotland fans despite disappointment in Germany

Scotland crashed out of the Euros but the country’s greatest living football commentator believes the Tartan Army won as fans.

Broadcasting legend Archie Macpherson, 89, may have watched with sadness as the Scotland squad's Euro 24 dream passed away with a whimper.

But he insists the Scots’ travelling support have done themselves proud once again, by being the toast of Munich, Cologne and Stuttgart.

He said: “In Germany we had this enormous chasm between the joy of being there and the quality of the team which simply wasn't good enough.

“The joy and the celebrations were a different world and at a different altitude from what we witnessed on the park.”

Archie, who commentated on Scotland campaigns since the 1974 World Cup in Germany and has covered six World Cups and three Euros campaigns, believes the Scots fans can hold their heads high after proving themselves the best in the world.

He can even pinpoint the birth of the phenomenon known as the Tartan Army to a specific World Cup match 42 years ago.

“The Tartan Army I know started that night in Seville in 1982,” he said.

“Billy McNeil was my co-commentator on that occasion and we rejoiced with the Scottish supporters even though the Scottish team had been beaten 4-1 by a marvellous Brazilian team.

“The Scottish supporters became enthralled with the fact that they were mixing with the best. The Tartan Army was born in Seville mixing with the Brazilian supporters and rubbing shoulders with some of the best in the world.

“Brazil had a marvellous team and yes, we got drubbed, but they enjoyed the experience. Suddenly they realised that football was to be pursued and to be celebrated.

“It's much better when you win of course and you want to win, but I realised they were simply enjoying the experience of being at a World Cup.

“And they’ve been like that ever since. That's part of the crucial disappointment, that we can't match it on the park, and somehow we've got to aspire to do that.”

Scotland crashed out of the Euros at the group stage on Monday after losing to a last gasp goal to Hungary.

The defeat came after an opening 5-1 loss to Germany, a last gasp goal from Hungary and scraping a draw against Switzerland.

He said: “Take the first Germany game, which was capitulation. The second game against the Swiss was determination to put things right and then that last game.

“What was the common thread? We weren't good enough.

“I don't mind saying the team I saw in the German Euros is the poorest I’ve seen in an international competition including six World Cups and three Euros. They were the poorest by far."

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Sadly, for him, being knocked out in the group stage is the same old story but with one crucial difference.

“Like everybody else I was encouraging,” Archie said “But I knew about a lack of quality. I was hoping a fighting spirit and determination would get us through.

"Going back to 1974 when 10 minutes after the final game which was 1-1 with Yugoslavia we heard that the Brazilians had scored a third goal against Zaire that put us out of the World Cup.

“Gut wrenching after the Archie Gemmill goal in 1978 when five minutes later, Johnny Rep scored the goal that made it 3-2 to Scotland and stopped us from progressing.

“Johnny Rep told me that he closed his eyes and just hit the ball. That put us out.

“Then the famous Russian incident in 1982 where we were a much better team than Russia when there was an unfortunate collision on the touchline between Willie Miller and Alan Hansen that led to an easy goal for the Russians or Scotland would have gone through. We’re talking about Scottish teams that used to test the opposing goalkeepers.

“We didn't have quality and yet, the support was there. And it'll continue to be there.”

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