I WAS six when dad took me to my first football game. Almost tall enough to see over the wall in the front row of the stand. According to my mum, I always took longer than my big brother to come home with the “pink Times” on a Saturday because I read all the results coming back down from the shops, whereas he was supremely uninterested.

Fast forward some years and I got married to a sports cartoonist and photographer, so, when you think about it, this obsession with the so called beautiful game was pretty well inescapable.

I went to my first World Cup three years later – these were the days when we always qualified. No, really.

We went by car and couldn’t figure out how the lads in the beat-up white van were always in the next town square downing their first beers well in advance of ourselves in our pre-loved motor.

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World Cups followed in Spain and Italy and latterly France in 1998, the last tournament before the long drought.

Paris had already fallen to the Tartan Army by the time I got there, many of them sporting T-shirts with the legend of “Scotland’s sporting heroes” down the back.

There, as well as the predictable Law and Dalglish, were names like Southgate and Maradona.

The first because he’d missed a penalty and the second since he’d perfected a unique style of handball. Who says Scottish punters lack a sense of the ridiculous?

The husband went off to South American encounters, given the expense involved. But looking back at the results, I didn’t feel too deprived.

There was of course that magic Archie Gemmell goal against the Dutch in Argentina, but you kinda knew that the lads from the Netherlands could have banged another one in had they needed to.

France, like most destinations, was a tale of three stadia. Once, when we’d just played Norway and fetched up at the local train station to get back to the centrally located digs, there was already one of our doughty footsoldiers on the platform – his entire worldly goods in a small carpet bag.

Methodically he removed his Viking helmet (de rigeur versus Scandinavian opponents) and reached into the luggage in order to be properly dressed for the next encounter with Morocco – and produced a fez.

The helmet went back into the “luggage”. At that time I was still doing an evening radio programme and the producer and sound engineer had checked out the Auld Alliance pub in Paris as a likely venue for the pre-match broadcast a few nights before the kick-off versus those well known minnows from Brazil!

We had also checked out a suitable brasserie for later. When we returned to set up a temporary studio, all the weaponry had vanished from the pub walls. The owner confessed he’d fretted about some of the more enthusiastic types re-staging Bannockburn.

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An early snag in the proceedings was realising that while we’d booked bilingual contributors, we hadn’t the smallest clue what they looked like.

Which is why bemused Parisian passers-by were accosted by three BBC Scotland types who asked them if they spoke English and were expecting to feature in a Scottish radio show.

Later that same evening, following a substantial repast at the aforementioned brasserie, I phoned home to ask how the show had gone.

No idea, said the husband, couldn’t hear a thing for the racket from the pub. (From which, it should be noted, our makeshift studio was separated only by a flimsy tartan frond masquerading as a curtain.)

Anyway, him indoors continued, what’s all this about Ally McCoist (below) and Stan Collymore and his girlfriend?

Fan favourite former player and now commentator Ally McCoist (image: SWNS) 

It seems that during our meal break, McCoist and Ulrika Jonsson were pulling pints for the fans when an enraged Collymore arrived on the scene and allegedly assaulted her.

Collymore blamed his presence and behaviour there on alcohol. Much the same reason as I could have used for my absence!

Anyway, the adventures continued, not least in the USA where PMT (pre-match tension) could be avoided since we didn’t actually qualify for that one.

And where an Italian hero, Roberto Baggio, contrived to miss a penalty in the final against Brazil. Good to know other superstars can be fallible. And here we are at a second Euros finals in succession.

A friend and neighbour suggested that we really ought to make the effort to catch them. Her reasoning regarding purchasing tickets was impeccable: “We’ll be fine so long as we don’t draw Germany,” she assured me.

Which is why this duo is still ticketless and about to depart for Munich and the opening game of the competition: Germany v Scotland.

Apparently, the fan zones are brilliant and liberally besprinkled with food and drink outlets. So what could possibly go wrong? Ah well. There is the small matter of our team.

Scotland fans at a fan zone in Glasgow Green (image: PA)

But the thing about being a Scotland fan since both God and you were a girl, is that you become inured to disappointment.

If we fail to beat the hosts in Bavaria, well there’s always another couple of games to go. Though by that time we’ll be back at base camp. Back at our more usual scenario of watching it all on the telly clad appropriately in Scotland team tops.

For the trip, I’ve also invested in a few unmistakeably Scottish T-shirts, though I drew the line at the one which announced “Kein Schottland, Kein Party”.

Everyone knows we can start one in an empty room if necessary.

It will assuredly all be a bit of a giggle, albeit an expensive one. And the craic from the rest of the army will help dilute any disappointment.

I have other pals en route to these finals as well, all of whom have assured me that they’ll see me there.

Aye right.

Just me and some 200,000 others. We’re on the march with Stevie’s army.