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Tam Cowan: 'I feared I'd wake up and find VAR had awarded a 3-2 to Spain'

Salvador Dali, Antonio Banderos, Rafael Nadal, Montserrat Caballe, El Cid, Pep Guardiola, Julio Inglesias (and your laddie Enrique), Nacho Novo, ehhhhh, Manuel fae Fawlty Towers… Your boys took a helluva beating!

Some start for Humza Yousaf, eh? Barely in the door at Bute House and we’re horsing the former European and World champs at the fitba’! We should have given him the gig YEARS ago. (Aye, good auld Humza. The first person of colour, the first Muslim, the first person in his thirties and the first son of immigrants to be First Minister. Oh yeah, and the first FM who cannae go a scooter.)

I still can’t quite believe we beat the mighty Spain 2-0 on Tuesday night. Knowing our luck, I half-expected to wake up on Wednesday morning to discover VAR had awarded a 3-2 victory to the visitors. Tell you what, folks, if you thought Vladimir Putin’s table was pretty spectacular, check out Group A of the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

We’re top of the pile with two wins out of two, three points ahead of Spain and FIVE clear of Norway. Is it any wonder Stevie Clarke nearly smiled? Let’s not get carried away, Saturday’s game against Cyprus was guff - both the match and the atmosphere were flatter than a pint of real ale - but a convincing 3-0 win teed us up lovely for Tuesday night and, boy, how the long-suffering Tartan Army enjoyed it. On Wednesday morning - and I only watched it on the telly - my head was thumping as though I’d just been jumped by the Rangers women’s coach.

In a Glasgow hotel after the match, one of my pals got chatting to some Spanish fans (he’d done Spanish evening classes for a couple of years until the flights started getting too expensive…) and, clearly impressed by the Scotland performance, one of them kept saying: “Better than Dalglish! Better than Dalglish!” A reference, of course, to the last time Scotland - led by King Kenny - beat Spain in 1984 and, yep, quite an accolade for Stevie Clarke and the boys.

As for the reaction further afield, check the brilliant photo I was sent five minutes after the final whistle on Tuesday. A celebratory pic from one of my chums in North Lanarkshire (the Buckfast capital of the world)? Close, but no cigar. The chap holding the bottle WAS born in Bellshill, but he now lives in Princeton, New Jersey, USA… and his name is Professor Sir David MacMillan, the 2021 Nobel Prize winner for chemistry!

Celebrations after the Scotland vs Spain match

I’m delighted to say we’ve kept in touch since he appeared on Off The Ball (his favourite radio show) and I’ll treasure that photo. I must text him back, however, to ask how he got his mitts on the legendary tonic wine. Was it shipped to America from the UK? Is there a shop in New York, perhaps, that sells British, ahem, delicacies?

Nah, considering he’s one of the top chemical scientists on the planet - coupled with the fact I was a huge fan of Breaking Bad - I think he MADE IT…!

PS. How deliriously happy was I after the 2-0 win v Spain? On Wednesday morning, I nearly bought the new Scotland top. Ninety quid? Aye right. I’ll have one of the £10 fakes, thanks very much. The SFA tried to divert a lot of the well-deserved flak by explaining the 150th anniversary tops were being sold exclusively by JD Sports and it was the High Street chain who set the price. So here’s an idea for the blazers. Next time you launch a new Scotland strip - and so the fans can afford it - offer the contract to Primark, Matalan or George @ ASDA. Okay?

PPS. A nice wee story from a Scotland fan who attended the Cyprus game on Saturday with his son. At half-time, his laddie was eating a bag of crisps while a bloke to their right was smoking a vape. In front of them, a slightly inebriated Tartan Army veteran took two or three big sniffs, turned to his mate and said: “I canna believe somebody’s smoking a vape that smells of pickled onion Monster Munch…”

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