Tartan Tales: Scotland's major tournament moments over the years

A look back at the highs and lows of previous Euros and World Cups.

Tartan Tales: Scotland’s major tournament moments over the years SNS Group

With tens of thousands of Scotland fans descending on Munich, Cologne and Stuttgart for Scotland’s Euro 2024 group games, the Tartan Army’s party is about to start again.

Supporters have travelled the globe to follow their team to World Cups and European Championships since 1954, and seen goals, golden moments and ‘glorious failure’ over the decades.

We’ve taken a trip through the STV archives to look back at some of the most memorable occasions.

World Cup 1974

1974 World Cup First Round Group Two match at the Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, West Germany. Zaire 0 v Scotland 2. Sandy Jardine in a race for the ball with Mwanaza Nel Nokumbo, 14th June 1974. (Photo by Monte Fresco/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)Mirrorpix / Contributor via Getty Images

Scotland had appeared at the finals in 1954 and 1958 but returned to the elite stage in 1974 after what then seemed like a long absence. Willie Ormond’s side face Zaire, Brazil and Yugoslavia in the group stage.

The national team managed the frustrating achievement of going unbeaten but still being knocked out in the first round.

World Cup 1978

11/06/78 WORLD CUP 1978 NETHERLANDS v SCOTLAND ARGENTINA Archie Gemmill celebrates after netting the winning goal for ScotlandSNS Group

Ally McLeod’s side travelled to South America full of hope that they could be the surprise package at the the finals. This one had the lows of defeat to Peru and a draw with Iran but the unforgettable high of that Archie Gemmill goal against the Dutch.

World Cup 1982

New Zealand, Brazil and the USSR were the group stage opponents for Jock Stein’s side. Another colourful trip ended in group stage elimination.

World Cup 1986

A win over Denmark, another encounter with West Germany and a memorably ugly match against Uruguay marked Scotland’s time under Alex Ferguson in Mexico.

World Cup 1990

11 June 1990 FIFA World Cup 1990 - Scotland v Costa Rica, Scotland striker Alan McInally (14) tries to regain possession. (Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images) Getty Images

Andy Roxburgh’s side opened the campaign with a shock 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica in Genoa after a goal by Juan Cayasso early in the first half.

Goals from Stuart McCall and Maurice Johnston helped beat Sweden 2-1 in the second game before a 1-0 defeat to Brazil ended their campaign at the group stage.

Euro 1992

In their first ever European Championships campaign Scotland lost to Netherlands and Germany in their opening two games before earning their first win at the tournament with a 3-0 victory over CIS in the final group match.

Euro 1996

10/06/96 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL 1ST RND NETHERLANDS V SCOTLAND (0-0) VILLA PARK - BIRMINGHAM Edgar Davids (left) struggles to cope with Scotland captain Gary McAllister.

It was heartbreak again for Scotland four years later when they narrowly missed out on a place in the knockout stages on goal difference after a 0-0 draw with Netherlands and 1-0 win over Switzerland, with a 2-0 defeat to hosts England sandwiched in between.

World Cup 1998

Craig Brown’s men opened the World Cup against reigning champions Brazil and put on a respectable display before losing 2-1 thanks to a late own-goal. That was followed up by a 1-1 draw with Norway and 3-0 defeat to Morocco.

Euro 2020

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JUNE 22: Callum McGregor celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 Scotland during a Euro 2020 match between Croatia and Scotland at Hampden Park, on June 22, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)SNS Group

After a 23 year wait Scotland returned to a major tournament for Euro 2020, that was played a year later due to the coronavirus pandemic, but only managed one goal and one point after defeats to Czech and Croatia and a draw with England.

Ready for UEFA Euro 2024? We are. Catch Scotland’s opener versus Germany plus other key matches on STV and STV Player.

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