Scotland's chances of qualifying for next year’s Euro finals in Germany have just received what could be a very good omen – Vladimir McTavish
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Our longest-serving First Minister stood down, making way for parliament to appoint the country’s first leader from an ethnic minority background. Scotland’s greatest rugby player of this century announced his retirement and our football team made a sensational start to qualifying for Euro 2024, raising hopes of reaching the finals in Germany next summer. There is a genuine feeling that we are moving on. Unless you stay on Ferry Road.
As I was writing last week’s column, I looked out of my front window and the traffic was at a standstill. Seven days later, as I’m penning this one, I glance out of the same window. The traffic is at a standstill. In fact, it has hardly moved since I returned from Australia more than a week ago.
After Humza Yousaf was elected leader of the SNP and then confirmed by the Scottish Parliament as First Minister, there was uncharacteristic consensus across the floor of the chamber that the appointment of the first Muslim to the post represented a huge step forward in Scotland’s journey towards becoming an inclusive nation. At the same time, the traffic on Ferry Road was at a standstill.
After winning 100 Scotland caps and becoming our highest try-scorer of all time, Stuart Hogg announced he would retire after this year’s World Cup, taking all fans of the game by surprise. But the traffic on Ferry Road remained at a standstill.
Building from Saturday’s goal fest against the relative minnows of Cyprus, Scotland took on the might of Spain, a nation of true football aristocrats. Spain, a country who have won two European championships and one World Cup in the past decade and a bit. In a dramatic night at Hampden, Scotland took them apart and even made them look like an amateur pub side. As the second goal went in and the old stadium erupted, the roar of the crowd could be heard 40 miles to the east. But the traffic on Ferry Road was at a standstill.
So what’s happening on Ferry Road? Very little, it would appear. Contractors have been digging a small hole on the corner of Inverleith Row, leading to a four-way traffic light system and tailbacks as far as the eye can see, in order to install more high-speed broadband. Not for my service provider but for somebody else’s. Buses are backed up, doubtless leading to frustration in other parts of the city. Luckily it looks like I have been able to send this article to the editor before these guys saw through my internet cable.
So this week, as Scotland’s new young leader dreams that the road ahead will be less bumpy than many predict, some dream of Scotland qualifying for next year’s Euro finals in Germany, and some probably dream that Hoggy may yet change his mind about hanging up his boots, I dream of being able to get my car out of the driveway.
Remarkably, as I finish writing this article, the cones have just been lifted and the traffic is finally on the move again. So some dreams do come true. This could be an omen. Maybe I should book my flights to Germany next summer.