Scotland fans making their team feel at home ahead of Euro 2024 opener against host Germany

MUNICH (AP) — Scotland supporters are doing their best to make their team feel right at home in Germany ahead of its opening game against the host nation at the European Championship.

Tens of thousands of fans have arrived in Munich over the past few days, turning the streets into a riot of color and noise — and filling the coffers of local bars. And more were expected for Friday evening's game.

Scotland hasn’t played a European Championship match abroad since 1992 and its supporters, nicknamed the Tartan Army, are making the most of it.

“It feels as if most of the country are (here),” Scotland captain Andy Robertson said.

In the buildup to the Euro 2024 opener against Germany, fans wearing kilts and waving Scottish flags have been dancing and singing as the sound of bagpipes fills the air.

Many have filled pubs and bars but no trouble has been reported, with the Scots largely creating a joyous atmosphere as they revel in a rare opportunity to travel overseas to see their team play in a major tournament.

Entrances to Munich's main square — Marienplatz — were blocked off by lines of police officers mid-afternoon on Friday as there were too many people. Fire engines also turned up after automatically being alerted because of smoke from flares and fireworks. But everyone appeared relaxed and smiling.

“Half of Scotland is in there,” said one excited fan as he headed out of the square.

Scotland played in the pandemic-delayed 2021 European Championship but that was held in different countries and there were also travel restrictions because of the coronavirus. Before that, it hadn’t qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.

“We should all be proud that we’re here,” Scotland coach Steve Clarke said. “Been a long time, since 1998, when we actually traveled abroad to be involved in a major tournament like this. That’s why the nation is so excited I think.”

The Scottish FA estimated in March that 100,000 fans would travel to Germany. British media is reporting double that figure.

The majority of fans arrived by plane, train or automobile but others traveled by more unconventional methods. Some cycled all the way to Germany, while Craig Ferguson made his journey from Glasgow on foot.

The 20-year-old from Paisley set off on his epic walk more than 40 days ago to raise money for charity, starting at Scotland's national stadium Hampden Park and arriving in Munich around midday on Thursday.

“It was so worth it, I mean even for that sort of finish line yesterday, you know, coming in, that’s a moment I’ll never forget," Ferguson said on Friday.

"But more importantly, we managed to raise over 62,000 pounds ($79,000) for men’s mental health and suicide prevention, so for that it was absolutely worth it and I’d do it all over again, just to raise that money.”

Ferguson was hoping to be rewarded by getting to see Scotland pull off an upset against Germany.

“You can’t walk all the way here and not see a Scotland win, so 1-0 Scotland,” he hoped.

The Scotland team has been seeing images and video of the support.

“It gives us a big boost,” Clarke said. “We know they’re here to support us and they’re going to be behind us every minute, every game. That’s really important for us.

“We’ve had a little taste of it down in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we’re based. Some people down there have made the walk to training more enjoyable … I hope they enjoy themselves and behave themselves.”


AP Euro 2024:

Daniella Matar, The Associated Press