Watching football highlights is the reason why I found myself cheering when Scotland missed a penalty – Vladimir McTavish

If you can’t afford to watch Scotland games live, the only other option is the highlights...
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Today, the Scottish Cup Final brings down the curtain on the domestic football season. It is one of the few top-level Scottish games to be screened live. Scotland still has European Championship qualifiers to play in a couple of weeks, against Norway and Georgia. These games will not be shown live on terrestrial television.

The SFA has sold the live rights to Viaplay TV, although BBC Scotland will show the highlights later in the evening. The only Scotland game in the coming months to go out live on council telly will be the friendly match with England in September. That’s because the English FA have a deal with Channel 4. I know. Ridiculous, isn’t it? A friendly match against England? There’s no such thing.

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Anyway, if you want to follow the action in a Scotland game, as it happens, there are a number of options open to you. Option One, of course, is to buy a ticket to the match. As we are away to Norway, that would also involve flights and accommodation in Oslo.

Option Two is to buy a cable package which includes Viaplay. I’m not sure how much the subscriptions will be, but it may prove to be cheaper that Option Three. That involves going to the pub. Over the course of 90 minutes, plus the half-time interval and the full-time post mortem, one is likely to drink two or three pints of beer. At current Edinburgh prices, that will cost between £15 and £19 pounds. Over a whole season, that will be well over a hundred quid.

It is a source of frustration for many Scottish football fans that we cannot watch our national team playing our country’s national game without paying money in some way, shape or form. Of course, you can always listen to the commentary on the radio, and try to picture the action in your mind’s eye, which is what my Grandad used to do.

However, there is also Option Four, which is to avoid finding out the score and tuning in to watch the highlights later on. I tried this course of action once and it didn’t work. I’d been invited over to a friend’s place to watch the highlights. We were playing Lithuania, and expecting to win easily enough. I went out to get some beers just before the off-licence shut. No sooner had I opened the door but the guy behind the counter said: “Scotland won.”

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I was about to ask him not to tell me the score but he got there before I finished that sentence, uttering “1-0”. I headed off to my mate’s in the knowledge that we had only scraped a 1-0 win and that the so-called “highlights” would be one solitary goal.

A time to cheer. Scotland score against Croatia in the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship (Picture: Paul Ellis/pool/Getty Images)A time to cheer. Scotland score against Croatia in the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship (Picture: Paul Ellis/pool/Getty Images)
A time to cheer. Scotland score against Croatia in the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship (Picture: Paul Ellis/pool/Getty Images)

I sat down to watch the game, pretending not to know the score. I managed to hide my disappointment midway through the first half, when we were awarded a penalty. If we were to only score one goal, I wanted it to come from open play. When the Lithuanian goalkeeper saved the spot kick, I jumped out of my seat and punched the air in delight. One friend just stared at me, the other said: “What the heck’s wrong with you?”

I confessed at full-time.

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