Euro 2024 diary: missing underpants and lost confidence as Scotland hit Germany

<span>Scotland fans look dejected after Florian Wirtz scored the opening goal of Euro 2024.</span><span>Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian</span>
Scotland fans look dejected after Florian Wirtz scored the opening goal of Euro 2024.Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian



John McGinn’s Bavarian dancing marks Scotland’s arrival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and is an internet hit immediately. This was not preordained, the Aston Villa midfielder instead caught in the moment. The mayor, Elisabeth Koch, is to become omnipresent at Scotland events.

This is a beautiful spot, beneath a mountain range that includes the highest point in Germany. The 1936 Winter Olympics took place here. Trains from Munich are disrupted owing to flooding but the bus works well. Scotland can continue with their Euros buildup in blissful peace and quiet. It feels … so perfectly Steve Clarke.


The bar owner seems put out after appearing at a table of Scottish journalists with a tray of whisky measures that would knock out a horse. “Welcome to Garmisch!” The resounding, collective response? “No thanks.” Well, it was only 5pm. We make peace by returning post-dinner and accepting the “pub special”. This involves Guinness mixed with Kahlúa and a firm order to down it in one go. Our host, Dieter, manages this in all of three seconds. It could be a hectic week.

Morning drama involved Andy Robertson departing an open training session early. Purely a precaution, we are all assured.



“No good! No good!” bawls the middle-aged, burly German while pointing at my Heart of Midlothian away shorts. I wonder if he may be a Hibernian supporter. Perhaps he is suggesting I will burn my buttocks on the sauna’s wooden planks. As he removes his towel and sits on it – full particulars on view – I suss out what is happening.

Subsequent investigation reveals it is bad form to wear any clothing in a German sauna. I shuffle off into the changing area and opt for a Jacuzzi instead.


I am challenged to a darts match by the barmaid in our Garmisch local and win it with a double 17. Germans are obsessed by darts. The prize? Another pub special. The luggage of a colleague from the Times’s luggage has finally arrived (he landed in Germany on Saturday), meaning trips to Lidl to purchase underpants can finally be halted.

Billy Gilmour is calm and assured in front of the media. His demeanour is of someone far beyond his 23 years. His boots and shin guards vanished during Euro 2020 – a tournament he had to leave early because of Covid – and he has never seen them again.



The train back towards the city from Scotland’s press conference at the Munich Football Arena is at a standstill. An irate driver appears to berate a woman who has brought a mattress into the carriage and has decided to prop it up against his door. “Respekt” and “über” are the only words I can decipher during a lengthy, heated exchange.

The woman – and the mattress – are forced to disembark. Earlier – it feels like much earlier – Robertson had asserted this Scotland squad want to attain legendary status by emerging from a tournament group.


More issues relating to private parts. A live German TV broadcast is interrupted as a Tartan Army foot soldier lifts up a pal’s kilt to reveal the meaning of “true Scotsman”. The swell of Scottish support in Munich is such that police have to close Marienplatz.

The pre-match scene around the stadium is fantastic, involving everything a major tournament should do. Germans and Scots laugh in tandem. Sir Alex Ferguson is seen in deep conversation with José Mourinho as the teams emerge. I am doing my best to forget about what happened next.


The morning after the night before. Many of us had little expectation when it came to Scotland versus the tournament hosts but the level of performance was alarming. Can confidence be restored by the time the crucial meeting with Switzerland comes around on Wednesday?

Ryan Porteous, whose stupidity reduced Scotland to 10 men, had looked the other way when asked in the post-match mixed zone whether he might want to discuss his sending-off.

Germany were a joy to watch. They were allowed to be. Confidence is clearly high in Munich that this team can claim the Euros. From what we have seen already, they will encounter little resistance in Group A.