Scotland’s Tartan Army must stay away from Trafalgar Square

Scotland fans flock to Trafalgar Square . Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Scotland fans flock to Trafalgar Square . Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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The Tartan Army will be asked to steer clear of Trafalgar Square before the World Cup clash with England on Armistice Day.

Football chiefs have told Scots fans a remembrance service is to take place at their favourite London party spot hours prior to kick-off on November 11.

Up to 20,000 supporters flocked to the square for a knees-up when the sides last met at Wembley in 2013, but the SFA said yesterday: “This year it’s not happening.”

Authorities in London are anxious to avoid a repeat of boozy knees-ups from years past as a memorial to our war dead is being held there hours before the World Cup qualifier.

Insiders revealed discussions are being held on how to persuade the expected thousands to steer clear of their usual gathering spot ahead of the crunch tie on November 11.

The Royal British Legion, which is hosting the service, said: “Silence in the Square will feature an hour of music and readings of reflection in the lead-up to the two-minute silence at 11am.

“The event is open to all. But we are working with the SFA to inform Scotland Supporters Club members in case they have plans to meet in the square before the game.”

The English FA, London’s Met Police and the Mayor’s office are also involved in the discussions and are looking at finding an alternative place for fans to gather.

It comes three years after an army of 20,000 footsoldiers turned the square into a riot of blue, blow-up balls and bagpipes before Scotland’s friendly with England at Wembley.

Bobbies arrested one fan who frolicked naked through the famed fountains — which were turned into a frothing mass by supporters squirting detergent into the water.

Litter crews later spent hours picking the rubbish-strewn square clean of over 10,000 empty beer cans and bottles.

Scotland have only been allocated 8,000 tickets for November’s Friday night tie, but thousands without briefs are likely to head for London.

It is understood the war dead service will be over and the square returned to normal by lunchtime.

There will be no official ban on the Tartan Army after it’s finished. But fans recognise it would be disrespectful to loon around in fountains still awash with poppies from the solemn memorial.

Tartan Army footsoldier Jim Hunter flagged up the date clash on the Tartan Army Message Board.

He wrote: “Can I ask all the TA who are travelling to London for the game to please remember and respect the date.

“As far as I am aware Trafalgar Square will be closed for the Armistice service.

“I know that it is almost the law that we fill fountains with Fairy Liquid etc, wherever we go. So this time, if you go to Trafalgar Square, do it for the right reasons. Show the whole world why we are the best supporters everywhere we go. We Will Remember Them. Thank you.”

Other supporters agreed and some pledged to wear the symbolic poppy on their footie tops.

‘Graham of Montrose’ added: “If I go to Trafalgar Square it will be to pay respects and then move on.”

The FA has no plans to create Fan Zones for visitors. But the SFA said it will remind ticketholders of the event via email and social media in the run-up to the clash.

A spokeswoman said: “We know Trafalgar Square is a traditional gathering point but we’re keen to let everyone know that this year, it won’t be happening.”

And a spokesman at London’s City Hall said: “We are working with the SFA and Royal British Legion to ensure the event meets the expectations of those who wish to pay their respects — and that fans are made aware of the event.”

Tartan Army veteran Ian Adie 61, believes his fellow footsoldiers will respect the plea and give the area a wide berth.

He said: “Trafalgar Square has always been a fun place. The police are very tolerant of the fans.

“But I am completely behind the idea of keeping the square off limits.

“It’s about perspective. Armistice Day is a serious and revered event that marks history.

“I think the Tartan Army will respect the decision.”

The Met Police declined to comment last night.