Inverness Caley Thistle net Andrea Bocelli for stadium gig

It has been the dream of the club's bosses, who pursued the Italian tenor for more than a year.

Superstar: Andrea Bocelli will be coming to Scotland next year. Clemens Bilan via Getty Images
Superstar: Andrea Bocelli will be coming to Scotland next year.

Tickets are set to go on sale for the biggest surprise event in Scotland’s musical calendar.

It was confirmed on Monday that Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli had been signed by Inverness Caley Thistle for one night, next year.

It was a dream of the club’s bosses, who pursued him for more than a year.

The opera giant, with millions of fans, is likely to add to his following with a first trip to the Highlands.

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Booking Bocelli for the Inverness Caley Thistle stadium, in July next year, heralds a post-Covid dawn for a football club with proven credentials as a music promoter.

Caley Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner, who played a key role in negotiations to attract him to the area, said: “We felt that if we did not reinsert the stadium on the concert map with as big a star as we could possibly get then we would kind of be doing it a disservice going forward.

“So, if we set the bar really high then it would mean that we could attract equally sizeable artists in the future.”

The stadium has famously hosted sell-out gigs by Elton John and Rod Stewart.

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Bocelli’s Believe tour will generate big money for the club and its official charity partner, the Highland Hospice.

Charity spokeswoman, Karen Duff, said: “We’re delighted. He’s such a huge star worldwide and for us to be picked as a local charity.

“Scot wants to keep all the funding within the Highlands, so it’s just incredible. We’re really, really excited.”

Bocelli seems to be as thrilled as his fans at the prospect of performing in Inverness.

He said: “It will be more than a concert. It’ll be a deep, personal joy to take my voice to a place of history, beauty and poetry.”

He has even quoted the bard, Robbie Burns, saying that his heart is “already in the Highlands”.

The masterminds who netted Bocelli for Inverness after many months of discussions say they cannot wait for the t-shirts for the Highland leg of the tour – showing Caley Stadium listed alongside musical icons.

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Mr Gardiner added: “He’s playing Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, the 02.

“I was sending them pictures of Caley Stadium and saying ‘look how amazing this is’.

“So, it was a tough ask but we put together a professional team and they could see that, so in the end we got there.”

Further music nights are likely to be confirmed by the club in the coming weeks.

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday.

All adults ‘expected to receive first Covid vaccine by July 18’

The time between doses of the coronavirus vaccine has been reduced from 12 weeks to eight.

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All adults in Scotland are on track to receive their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by July 18, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The coronavirus vaccine rollout is being sped up after the lifting of restrictions in Scotland was delayed.

Those who have received their first dose of a Covid-19 jag will wait a month less for the second with the timescale reduced from 12 weeks between doses to eight weeks.

The First Minister said: “Vaccines are the way back to normality. I think we are increasingly confident of that.

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“Quite literally every single one of us who gets these jabs is representing a step back towards normal life.”

On Thursday, Scotland recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases in a day since late January.

Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement at a briefing on Friday afternoon, where she said plans for how the country will move beyond the least restrictive stage of the government’s five-tier system – level zero – will be published next week.

She said that all 18 to 19-year-olds should have received their vaccine appointment invitations by next week.

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She said: “If you are aged 18 to 29 and you haven’t had an appointment sent to you by next weekend, please go to the appointment checker page on the NHS Inform website so that you can make sure you can get an appointment arranged.”

The First Minister announced a temporary travel ban between Scotland and a number of virus hotspots in England.

Non-essential travel is no longer allowed to and from Manchester and Salford and existing bans for Bolton and Blackburn remain in place.

Sturgeon said: “Anyone travelling elsewhere in the Greater Manchester or Lancashire area, I’d ask to think carefully about whether your journey is really necessary, because we do see cases rising across that region.”

However, travel to and from Bedford will be allowed from the weekend as will travel to the Republic of Ireland – although visitors to Ireland are still expected to quarantine.

Sturgeon also said the government intends to extend the ban on evictions, which has prevented tenants being removed from their homes during the pandemic.

Legislation to extend the eviction ban, along with other emergency measures such as changes to how courts operate, by six months will be presented to parliament next week.

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Sturgeon said: “Although we are on that journey back to normality and some measures are no longer needed, we are not quite there yet, so we need to keep some of these in place for a bit longer.”

The Scottish Parliament extended the emergency law until September 30, 2021, but there is no eviction ban in areas that are in level two or lower.

But from January 22, 2021, if you live in an area under either coronavirus protection level three or four, Sheriff Officers cannot currently evict you.

Tartan Army out in force ahead of Scotland vs England match

The showdown with the Auld Enemy at Wembley Stadium will be shown live on STV.

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Tartan Army: Scotland will take on England on Friday night.

The Tartan Army is out in force ahead of Scotland’s crunch Euro 2020 tie against England.

The showdown with the Auld Enemy will kick-off at Wembley Stadium at 8pm on Friday night.

You can watch the game live on STV or via the STV Player.

Euro 2020 is the first major tournament the national men’s team have qualified for in more than two decades.

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The Scotland squad will be looking for a win against England following their 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic at Hampden Park on Monday.

Steve Clarke’s men go into the game knowing they need to take at least a point to keep any realistic hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.

Wembley will only have 25% capacity for the game, and Scotland supporters will not be able to access the traditional Trafalgar Square meeting place as it has been reserved as a fan zone for key workers.

Pubs and bars in London are also expected to limit numbers allowed in, and London Mayor Sadiq Kahn urged Scots to stay away if they don’t have a match ticket or a safe place to watch the game.

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However on Thursday, Scotland fans across the country left for the Big Smoke to watch the game down south.

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Glasgow Central: Scotland fans leaving for London.

STV News was there to capture the fans arriving at Kings Cross.

One supporter told STV News: “We bring the atmosphere. We’re not like anyone else. We bring it because we’re the Tartan Army.”

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London: The Tartan Army flocked to Hyde Park on Thursday.

The fans then descended upon Hyde Park to begin their celebrations.

In Scotland, there’s an official Euros fan zone in Glasgow.

It’s the biggest event in the city since the pandemic began despite concerns it could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases.

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Glasgow Green: The Euro 2020 fan zone.

Up to 6000 people each day – split into two 3000 sessions – have been able to watch Euros matches at Glasgow Green if they have a ticket.

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Fans heading to the site have been encouraged to take a Covid test before arriving, however proof of a negative test has not been required before entry.

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Leicester Square: The Mary Poppins statue was given a makeover.

‘Uphill climb’

Sir Rod Stewart has admitted it will be “an uphill climb” for Scotland to secure a win over England.

The singer, who was born in London but is of Scottish descent and is a devoted fan of Celtic and Scotland, will be attending the game at Wembley and joked he had to sell his house to afford the tickets.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I’ve been watching these games since I was 14, England and Scotland, and I’ve had my heart broken so many times.

“I’d love to see the Scots win. It is going to be an uphill climb, but win or lose, as long as they make us proud.

“It is a serious day, I am the cockney Scotsman, and we do take this game extremely serious against the old enemy.

“I’m very passionate. I’m actually going to be going, I’ve got a box for six, cost me an arm and a leg, I had to sell the house to buy it.

“I’m taking my two sons and three of my best friends who are all Scotland supporters, we are just going to hope for the best.”

Offering his final prediction for the score, he said: “One-nil to Scotland and I will die a happy man.”


Scotland fans warned to plan ahead of ScotRail strike on Sunday

There will be no trains running running from Edinburgh Waverley and a very limited number around Glasgow.

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ScotRail staff are striking for pay equality on Sunday.

Scottish football fans returning from London on Sunday have been warned to make alternative arrangements as strike action will mean there is little or no onward rail travel from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Cross-border train operators expect hundreds of people to be travelling back to Scotland on Sunday following the Euro 2020 match against England on Friday.

But there will be no services within Scotland running from Edinburgh Waverley and a very limited number around Glasgow.

ScotRail staff are striking for pay equality and RMT union said the franchise operator, Dutch-owned Abellio, has refused to enter talks to broker a settlement before the weekend.

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David Simpson, operations manager at ScotRail, said: “The key message really is be aware of this disruption on Sunday and plan accordingly if you are planning indeed to come back to Scotland on that day hopefully from a victorious result.

“The train service in Scotland will be very limited, so the message is very much check ahead, plan ahead so you can get home safely following the game on Friday night.”

ScotRail’s head of customer operations, Phil Campbell, called the strike action on Sunday “unjustified and disruptive”.

Only around 15% of normal services will be operating in the Strathclyde region on Sunday as LNER and Avanti West Coast trains bring Scotland fans back to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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Staff at the stations will be able to provide advice and other forms of transport will be available. ScotRail also wanted to remind fans that any available services will be subject to the current ban on alcohol, which is still in force during the tournament.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “It is despicable that Abellio has tried ‎to turn Scottish football fans against ScotRail workers and I want to thank the public for standing with their frontline rail workers against this greedy cowboy outfit.”

Steve Clarke: Getting to know the man behind the manager

Former teammates and coaching colleagues spill the beans on the Scotland manager.

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From a part-time contract with St Mirren to winning a European trophy with Chelsea, Steve Clarke’s playing career forged the manager he would become.

After hanging up his boots, he learned from the biggest names in football – Jose Mourinho, Ruud Gullit and Kenny Dalglish among them – before striking out as a boss in his own right.

Here, STV Sport speaks to some of the men who watched the Scotland manager grow from the quiet lad in the Love Street dressing room to the meticulous manager with an “aura” that commands respect.

‘I gave him a pay rise’

Alex Miller: St Mirren manager 1983-1986

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“When I joined St Mirren, Steve Clarke was only on a part-time wage, which was very, very poor.

“So I increased it right away because I said ‘the boy is in the first team, we have got to be a bit fairer to him’.

“So maybe he liked me from the first week!

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Steve Clarke breaks away from Bobby Russell for St Mirren v Rangers in 1985.

“John Hollins was the Chelsea manager at the time and he said ‘the boy Clarke, we would like him’.

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“I said ‘you can get him but will he get in your team just now?’ and he said he wanted him for next season.

“I said that I thought the club would accept a bid and it was a record for St Mirren of £400,000.

“So Stevie departed a month after I left.”

‘If he smiled, you were doing alright’

Michael Duberry: Chelsea teammate 1993-1999

“When I joined Chelsea as a schoolboy, I would be scrubbing the boots outside at training, and the pros would go past.

“Clarkie was always one of the pros who would go past and you’d have to say ‘good morning’.

“He was always one that you wanted to impress. You wanted his nod of approval and if he smiled at you, you knew you were doing alright because you didn’t get many of them!

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Steve Clarke was a player and a coach at Chelsea.
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“Once I came through to the first team, Clarkie was always Mr Consistent. His performances were always seven or eight out of ten.

“He was fast – not as fast as me! But he was surprising, deceivingly fast. Players couldn’t run at him, couldn’t go past him.

“He had played second division with Chelsea so he’d seen a lot more of the changes [around the club].

“When I came through, the team had started to evolve – the football was changing, the eating, the mentality and the new players coming in.

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Chelsea celebrate after winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1998.

“So for him to be a part of the squad in the second division and to still remain when all the superstars had come in was testament to how good he was.

“The players in the squad were changing and I think it needed the British, homegrown lads to keep Chelsea what it was.

“In this influx of foreign players it still needed this grizzly, growling Scottish veteran pro and the loud, Cockney homegrown player, in that mix.

“[The 1998 Cup Winners Cup final] was a great victory and to win it alongside Clarke… remember for me I had been standing outside the training ground cleaning his boots looking for a nod of approval, so to be standing next to him, arm-in-arm, just five years later winning the trophy together – was massive for me.”

‘I knew he’d get us to the Euros’

Stuart Findlay: Kilmarnock player 2017-2021

“I’ve not worked with him for a year or two, but if I went in to a room with him now I’d still be the most nervous guy.

“I wouldn’t have a clue what to say to him, he just had that aura about him.

“He did this thing sometimes where we would start training and the quality would be good, we’d be at a decent level.

“He wouldn’t come out for the start, he would come out for training after 30 minutes and you could just see the full place up an extra notch because he gave so little away.

“In two years of working with him he never once told me after a game if he thought I did well or I did poorly.

“It always gave me that desire to do more and do better because even though I got to the stage where I was fortunate enough to start every game under him at Kilmarnock, I was still terrified of getting dropped at the weekend.

“I remember the night I scored my famous goal against Hearts at Tynecastle he let his emotions slip towards me, which was a nice moment. There is a nice picture of the two us [hugging] on the pitch at full time which is very rare with Steve Clarke!

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Stuart Findlay earns a rare hug from Steve Clarke after his goal at Tynecastle.

“These sorts of moments can only come along once in a lifetime and you only get a man of that calibre at a club like Kilmarnock once in a blue moon.

“We made it work for that 18 months and the gratitude I have towards him for those 18 months he gave the club is just incredible.

“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that after doing that well, the miracles he worked at Kilmarnock, it was going to be very hard to keep him.

“I don’t think anybody could begrudge him it. He was by far the only candidate for the Scotland job.

“The day he got the job I told every single person that I could: ‘He will get Scotland to the Euros’.

‘Tough to please’

Steven Reid: Scotland assistant coach 2019-present

“He doesn’t give too much away emotionally, though he was emotional after the game in Serbia [when Scotland qualified for the Euros].

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Clarke and Reid talk tactics during a Scotland training session.

“What I found as a player is he can be tough to please, but I like that.

“I like the fact that if you get a ‘well done’ from him it is more than just ‘well done’ – it means you are doing very well.”

Scotland v England at Euro 2020 is live on STV and the STV Player from 7pm on Friday.


Heartbroken boy ‘reunited’ with toy turtle dropped in sea

James Farnworth was devastated when his new toy fell into the water in Helensburgh while on holiday.

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Reunited: Beloved toy turtle 'returned' to heartbroken boy.

A little boy left heartbroken when he dropped his toy turtle into the sea has been ‘reunited’ with the beloved stuffed animal thanks to a community effort.

James Farnworth, aged six, was visiting Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, to see family who moved there recently.

He was given a cuddly turtle from the Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium by his uncle, but was devastated when he dropped it into the sea while at the pier on June 2 – hours after it was given to him.

A kindhearted fisherman tried to rescue the turtle but the tide swept it further out to sea, where James feared it may be eaten by sharks.

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James begged to stay in Scotland with his mum’s twin brother, Stuart Chapman, 39, to wait for the turtle to come back and cried all the way home on the car journey back to York.

Mum-of-two Lynsey, 39, posted a message on a community Facebook page in a bid to track down the lost toy.

She was astonished when a package arrived on the doorstep – containing a cuddly turtle, posted from the aquarium, on June 5.

It also contained a letter reading: “Our rescue mission was successful and we managed to locate the turtle.

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“We found the turtle about half a mile from Helensburgh Pier and we think it was trying to reach the shore to find you.”

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James was heartbroken when he lost his beloved toy while on holiday.

Lynsey said: “James got a little turtle and fell in love with it instantly, particularly as it was from my brother who we don’t get to see often.

“We then came back to Helensburgh for lunch and for my brother to show us the lovely town but unfortunately James was on the pier and dropped his new turtle into the sea.

“A very nice fisherman tried to hook it but after ten minutes of trying had to give up as it floated further out to sea and all my six-year-old could do was watch it disappear.

“His little heart was breaking thinking of his new best pal in the sea by itself and the prospects of sharks eating it.

“We quickly drove back to the aquarium but it was closed and we had to return to York the next day.”

The family desperately searched toy shops in the seaside town for a replacement and a shop worker suggested posting about it on Facebook in case the tides changed and it washed up on the shore.

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Lynsey hoped to order another one from the online shop but James insisted his was special and unlike any of the others.

Older brother Ashton, nine, tried to comfort his sibling by letting him cuddle a toy dolphin also from the sealife centre but it was not much consolation.

Lynsey added: “It calmed him a bit until he got up the next morning and remembered his lost friend.

“We had to drive all the way back to York with one teary little boy as he wanted to stay by himself with his uncle to wait for his lost turtle to come back.

“I never imagined a toy turtle could cause so much drama.”

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James has been reunited with toy turtle he lost at sea while visiting Scotland.

But James was stunned when a box arrived containing an identical turtle, posted from the Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium, who had heard about the saga.

Staff posed the cuddly turtle for pictures showing it drying out and with other sea animals along with a letter to James about the rescue.

James has named it Dude and is desperate to go back to Helensburgh – but Lynsey said next time the toy will be put on a string to keep it safe before visiting the pier.

She added: “If we hadn’t got the turtle back, I was worried Helensburgh would have been a constant reminder of sad memories but now James keeps asking to go back to with his little turtle who he has named Dude, to visit the sea.

“Next time we will keep Dude on a string if we are looking over the pier.

“We were so touched by the spirit of a community desperate to reunite James with his turtle.

“If everywhere was like Helensburgh, the world would be a perfect place.”


Scotland ready for crunch clash with England at Wembley

Steve Clarke and his players aim to deliver as the Tartan Army invades London.

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Scotland are looking to bounce back from defeat in their opening game.

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke and his players are in London as they prepare for Friday’s Euro 2020 match against England at Wembley.

The men’s national team are looking for a positive result against Gareth Southgate’s star-studded team in the 115th meeting between the sides.

Scotland began their Euro 2020 group stage with a 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic on their return to major tournament football and need to get points on the board if they are to have a chance of making the knockout stage of the competition.

The Czech top Group D with England behind them in second place. Croatia are third after their opening day loss to England, ahead of Scotland on goal difference.

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The Tartan Army have headed to the capital to cheer on their side against their rivals, with 3200 fans having tickets for Wembley and others travelling to watch in bars.

The team has been boosted by the news that Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney is fit to play after the player missed the opening game with a calf problem.

Clarke said: “It is good news for Kieran, good news for us and good news for the Scottish supporters.

“Hopefully we can back all that up with a good result.

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“He has trained fully the last two days. He is available for the whole game.” 

Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay underlined the importance of a good performance and taking something from the match before the final group game against Croatia on June 22.

He said: “Most definitely we are going there to win the game but most definitely don’t lose the game.

“That’s first and foremost. We have to get a result.

“It’s as simple as that. For us, that’s the sole focus of the group at the minute.

“We’ve had 24 hours after the (Czech) game to digest what happened and the mistakes that were made – that’s in front of goal and defending as well.

“I’m sure you’ll see a big reaction and players who are hungry to win the game and do it for everyone in Scotland.”

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England manager Gareth Southgate said that while fans may get caught up in the occasion of the historic fixture, his job was to keep his players focused on the game itself. He said: “Our focus has been on solving the tactical problems that Scotland pose with the way they play, the way they defend, they way they attack.

“Our focus has got to be on our performances getting better with every game we play.

“For the fans and for us it is a big occasion but it is another opportunity for three points and our objective is qualification. That is what we have got to focus on.”

England v Scotland is live on STV on Friday. Coverage starts from 7pm and you can watch it on broadcast or on the STV Player.


Six memorable matches between Scotland and England

The Auld Enemy will meet for the 115th time at Wembley on Friday night.

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Scotland captain John Greig exchanges handshakes with England counterpart Bobby Moore at Hampden in 1970.

Scotland and England meet for the 115th time in men’s football at Wembley on Friday night.

The Euro 2020 encounter between the Auld Enemy kicks off at 8pm, live on STV and the STV Player.

Here, we look back at six unforgettable clashes between the rivals.

Scotland ‘become world champions’

April 15, 1967: England 2 Scotland 3

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The Tartan Army crowned their team the ‘unofficial world champions’ after Alf Ramsey’s side were beaten for the first time since winning the World Cup.

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Bobby Lennox turns to celebrate his goal at Wembley in 1967.

Denis Law, Bobby Lennox and debutant Jim McCalliog scored the goals – but the winning margin was not as big as it could have been, with Jim Baxter preferring to savour the moment with his keepy-uppie routine, rather than push for more goals.

Scotland joyously marked the summer of love by cavorting across the Wembley turf.

Valentine’s Day massacre

February 14, 1973: Scotland 0 England 5

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There was only ever going to be one fixture to mark the centenary of the Scottish Football Association, but the result proved anything but a celebration for the home contingent.

Almost 50,000 fans were tempted to a snowy Hampden Park on Valentine’s Day.

Alf Ramsey’s team had the game won inside 15 minutes – an own goal from Peter Lorimer followed by efforts from Allan Clarke and Mick Channon.

Scotland’s expected fightback was not forthcoming and England’s day only improved as Martin Chivers and Clarke’s second spoiled the party.

Turf luck for England at Wembley

June 4, 1977: England 1 Scotland 2

Scotland’s first win in the fixture for a decade is as well remembered for the post-match celebrations as it is for the 90 minutes of on-field action.

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Scotland fans celebrate on the pitch after victory at Wembley in 1977.

Away fans poured from the stands after the whistle, dragged down the goalposts and helped themselves to souvenir slices of the Wembley pitch.

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Gordon McQueen and Kenny Dalglish sealed the win for Scotland despite a late Mick Channon penalty.

Scotland pay the penalty

June 15, 1996: England 2 Scotland 0

The Euro 96 meeting is remembered by England fans for Paul Gascoigne’s stunning goal – but for Scots the abiding memory is Gary McAllister’s missed penalty.

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Scotland captain Gary McAllister hangs his head after seeing his penalty saved by David Seaman.

The Wembley date came after both drew their opening game, with Gazza’s wondergoal separating the sides in a tight game.

England were already leading through Alan Shearer’s header before David Seaman saved McAllister’s spot-kick.

‘Luckiest team in the world’

November 17, 1999: England 0 Scotland 1

A place at Euro 2000 was at stake in a two-legged play-off that saw away wins in both games.

Paul Scholes scored both goals in a 2-0 win for England at Hampden, but any comfort they enjoyed evaporated four days later at Wembley as Scotland dominated a game settled by Don Hutchison.

England boss Kevin Keegan would later admit his team were “the luckiest in the world”.

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Don Hutchison celebrates his goal with Scotland team-mate Craig Burley.

Glorious Griffiths but Scots fall short

June 10, 2017: Scotland 2 England 2

A trip to London seven months earlier had proved a damp squib for Gordon Strachan’s men, who played well for spells but were soundly beaten 3-0.

The return fixture towards the end of World Cup 2018 qualifying was a much more stirring affair, not least in a tumultuous conclusion.

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Leigh Griffiths scores his first of two wonderful free-kicks.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got the ball rolling for England before Leigh Griffiths broke his international duck in stunning fashion, bending a pair of free-kicks into either corner of Joe Hart’s goal in the 87th and 90th minutes.

The result left Scotland’s hopes of reaching the World Cup dangling by a thread.


Community snaps up shares in renewable energy co-operative

Glasgow Community Energy has raised tens of thousands of pounds through a share scheme.

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Glasgow Community Energy: The co-operative has surpassed a fundraising target early.

A community-owned renewable energy co-operative has surpassed a fundraising target early.

Glasgow Community Energy aims to invest money generated from its renewable energy installations into local communities.

The group had hoped to raise £30,000 through a community share scheme, which closes on Friday, but has now exceeded expectations, raising almost £34,000. 

Ellie Harrison, Glasgow Community Energy chair, said the group is “over the moon” at the support from the community.

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She added: “This community share offer was really us saying hello to the city, letting people know that the project is just getting started.

“We hope once the share offer is completed and we’ve finished all the paperwork and everything for that, in the autumn we’ll start thinking about the next steps.”

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Renewable energy: The group has installed solar panels on the roofs of two schools in Glasgow.

The group, which now has around 130 members, has already installed solar panels on the roofs of two schools in Glasgow.

The installations at Ashton Secondary in Easterhouse and Glendale Primary in Pollokshields will save nearly 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

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The money raised through the share offer has paid off any outstanding finance for these projects.

Board member Fraser Stewart said: “Over the course of the next 20 years they’ll generate, each of those sites, in the region of £5000 to £10,000 per year that will go into local community initiatives. 

“People who have invested get a sort of a democratic vote, a democratic say in how we reinvest that money into those communities.”

The group is hoping to build further solar projects on more schools and council buildings across the city as well as eventually investing in new renewable technologies.


Outlander producer welcomes ‘filming boom’ in Scotland

Michael Wilson said two other 'major high-end' series are expected to start filming in Scotland soon.

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Boom: Filming for the new Indiana Jones movie has helped boost Scotland's film industry.

The producer of Outlander welcomed a filming boom in Scotland which he attributed to the pandemic.

Michael Wilson, who has worked on the hit TV series since 2013, has revealed two other “major high-end” series are expected to start filming in Scotland over the next few months.

He said new studio facilities which have been created in former industrial buildings were fully booked up as a result of soaring demand for shooting space.

The producer predicted new sites in Leith, Edinburgh, and Bathgate, West Lothian, could emulate the success of the Belfast factory where Game of Thrones was filmed and Outlander’s base in a converted warehouse in Cumbernauld, South Lanarkshire.

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Mr Wilson, who has worked on Outlander since it went into production eight years ago, also cited the filming on new Star Wars and Indiana Jones productions as evidence of the growing boom.

Other films included Ken Loach’s My Son, starring James McAvoy and filmed in the Highlands, Vanessa Hudgens’ Netflix film Princess Switch, videogame biopic Tetris, and The Lost King, about the discovery of Richard III’s remains beneath a car park.

Line of Duty star Martin Compston has been making two series in Scotland in recent months – supernatural thriller The Rig and Trident submarine drama Vigil – while marine murder mystery Annika and black comedy Guilt have also been in production.

Mr Wilson said: “Scotland was doing OK, but suddenly what has happened coming out of the pandemic is that there is a line of projects which should have shot a year ago, plus all the others which need to be shot now.

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“The industry is unbelievably busy at the moment.

“As Outlander has come to the end of filming for the sixth series, Star Wars and Indiana Jones have both just arrived in Scotland.

“There are two other major high-end television shows prepping and filming in Scotland over the next few months.

“By hook or by crook, more spaces are being taken over and turned into film studios.

“Jason Connery’s place in Leith is booked up for the next eight months or more and the Pyramids Business Park in Bathgate is booked up for the next six or seven months.

“They are not film studios, there are spaces where you can build sets, but inevitably, just as happened in Northern Ireland with Game of Thrones, the companies that go into those spaces will pump money into them and improve them.”

Brodie Pringle, head of the screen commission at government agency Screen Scotland, said: “Scotland’s screen sector has worked through much of the pandemic and we’ve just had the busiest winter for production on record.

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“With a pro-active skills strategy strengthening our already excellent crew base and increasing studio infrastructure, we’re confident of attracting more high-value, returning productions, creating an increasingly sustainable, year-round industry.”


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