The words of Christian Dailly will forever echo around the tunnel of Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion.
His shrieks of “cheats” – plus the well-known expletive – earned the defender cult hero status amongst the Tartan Army 11 years ago. On Sunday, Scottish players walk down the very corridor where Dailly let rip hoping for a different outcome in the same, hostile arena.
Scotland’s European Championship qualifying campaign begins in the most intimidating environment against Germany’s newly-crowned world champions. Dortmund’s ground – officially renamed Signal Iduna Park for sponsorship – is known around the globe for its atmosphere. In Scotland, it is renowned for that outburst by Dailly.
His disgust at German gamesmanship after a 2-1 Euro 2004 qualifying defeat prompted a rant well received by fans of the national team. He might as well have scratched “Dailly woz ere” into the tunnel wall’s plasterboard, but even that wouldn’t have carried such a long- lasting impact. His anger centred on Tobias Rau following the sending off of Scotland’s Maurice Ross. Dailly felt the German had dived and made his feelings clear in the tunnel at full-time.
The Tartan Army revelled in his passionate outbreak, captured during a live post-match television interview between the BBC’s Chic Young and then-Scotland coach Berti Vogts. The player was never in shot, but his off-camera obscenities came across loud and clear. Ironically, he would have remained anonymous had Vogts not interrupted the interview to shout “Christian” in a vain effort to silence him.
The footage has drawn more than 200,000 Youtube views and resulted in the Tartan Army producing T-shirts bearing Dailly’s words of “cheats, f****** cheats”. He went on to win 67 Scotland caps but that night in September 2003 remains one of his defining moments.
“It was a bit of a ramble to be honest. I just remember there being a bit of commotion and Christian venting his frustrations,” recalled Colin Cameron, who played in the match. “Things didn’t work out for us in the game and there’s nothing wrong with a player showing unhappiness at the result.
“Christian wore his heart on his sleeve, like all Scottish players should do. There is no better accolade than playing for your country. Christian epitomised the way things should be. I think it’s healthy to vent your frustrations and get them out. If you keep them in, it’s only going to be detrimental.
“Sometimes it shows others just how much it means. Fans want to see commitment. Supporters will back you all the way if you’re showing that commitment. Even if you’re not having a good game, if you’re still showing commitment to the cause then supporters will back you. For Scotland players, that should be the minimum requirement. Unfortunately, not everybody is like that.”
Surprisingly, given the disdain reserved for Vogts, Cameron revealed that the German was as passionate and committed as any of his players that night in Dortmund.
“I’ll say one thing for Berti, he was determined. Probably more so because he was a German going up against his home nation. He was really determined to try and get a result. He was a proud man and he really wanted Scotland to get something that night. He made that clear to the players.
“Berti shouldered a lot of the pressure himself. Because he was a German playing against Germany, that pressure was magnified.”
Gordon Strachan now shoulders the responsibility of trying to beat Germany in their own, very raucous, backyard.
“The whole point of being a footballer is to play in stadiums like that one in Dortmund. It’s a fantastic experience and one you savour,” said Cameron. “The Germans are strong and when they get a head of steam up and the fans get behind them, it’s not an atmosphere for the fainthearted, let me tell you. It gets the hairs on your neck standing up.
“Gordon will know what’s needed. He’s an experienced man and he’s done an amazing job in the short period of time that he’s been Scotland manager. He’s brought confidence back to the team.
“If we lose to Germany, it’s expected. We’ve had some good wins recently and if we were to get anything in Dortmund, what a massive boost it is for the rest of the campaign.
“Immaterial of the result this weekend, I think Scotland are already on the right road given what Gordon has achieved since he took over.”