The Downside of Qualifying – Scotland’s Football Songs

As a smattering of official and unofficial attempts appear and disappear on radio and social media, I’m not quite sure what the official Scotland Euros song is. I was tempted to make a playlist of World Cup and Euros songs but I remembered that Bella’s readers are not all that bad, not so bad that they deserve the punishment of a list of some of the worst records ever made.

Back in my day we knew the official song, the team sang it. Although the unofficial ones were sometimes better (sometimes even worse). When I was still 10, in 1974, Scotland played in the finals of a major tournament for the first time in my lifetime. We had a song, it was terrible. The official anthem was Scotland Scotland sung by the playing squad, backed the downright awful Easy Easy, the unofficial alternative was Oor Wee Willie, a tribute to Scotland manager Willie Ormond by none other than Sydney Devine.

In 1978 the legendary Ayrshire snake-oil salesman Ally McLeod convinced the nation that we were going to Argentina to win the World Cup. The Blur V Oasis of its time was the clash of titans, Rod Stewart’s official but frankly painful Ole Ola up against comedian Andy Cameron’s Ally’s Tartan Army. Cameron took the prize through exercising the brutal but brilliant weapon of the lyric “England cannae dae it ’cause they didnae qualify.”

By 1982 we were getting proper professional at it, we had a top songwriter in BA Robertson, actor John Gordon Sinclair narrating a story as Gregory from Gregory’s Girl and, of course, the players singing, like the worst choir with the worst haircuts. We Have A Dream is seen by Scotland fans as something of a classic. That’s mainly because all of the other songs were so bad.

Members of the Scotland World Cup squad perform their World Cup song ‘We Have A Dream’ on Top of the Pops 1982

After that, I cant really remember our songs, and digging out the ones I have written about has put me on such a downer that I will not be even thinking of any others, even for you guys. Instead, let’s look at some of this year’s contenders. There are a lot of songs out there but we have settled on four, in no particular order, with no award on offer, the best of the Scotland Euro 2021 songs for Scotland are:

They Didn’t See Us Coming by Randolph’s Leap is actually very good. For a football song it is superb. Its an optimistic, punchy pop song. All proceeds from the release go to support Street Soccer Scotland, a social enterprise which uses football to tackle issues of isolation linked to poverty and social exclusion. And LEAP Sports, a Glasgow-based charity which aims to increase LGBTIQ+ representation in sport through work such as their ‘Football vs Homophobia’ campaign. You can contribute HERE


The Fratelli’s have released a “tongue-in-cheek” version of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Is it tongue-in-cheek? I don’t know how I could tell, this one would be better as Scotland’s Eurovision entry

Dundee punk legends The Cundeez, fronted by street poet Gary Robertson offering is the ska-tinged, bagpipe-driven punk song Kilts On Taps Aff. It’s nonsense really, but its good fun and I would love to see them do it live at an outdoor festival this summer (after I have finished my bucket of prosecco and buckfast).

And lastly, The LaFontaines definitely have the best video, featuring penalty hero David Marshall but  is more or less just Yes Sir I can Boogie with some obvious lyrics. One thing is certain, after independence Scotland will not be short of disposable disco-pop when we make a bid for Eurovision.

Thankfully, we have the football to take our minds off the songs.


Comments (9)

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  1. Tom Ultuous says:

    Maybe not relevant but can anyone tell me why ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ isn’t the Scottish national anthem or why it wasn’t a choice when there was a poll on the subject (was it by the SNP)? It’s been covered many times by top artists all over the world and I can even remember Ray Donovan’s wife singing it to Terry Donovan. I know the tune was taken from another Scottish song and I know the words were written by an Ulsterman but who gives a feck? Surely our Jerusalem.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      That ‘Wild Mountain Time’ is an Irish remix of Robert Tannahill’s ‘The Braes of Balquhither’ is probably reason enough.

    2. Jim Monaghan says:

      Wild Mountain Thyme was, of course, our song for 1992 Euros, by the Silencers

      1. Colin Robinson says:

        Was it? I thought it was recorded in ’94, as an advertising jingle for the Scottish Tourist Board. At least it wasn’t the Corries!

        1. Jim Monaghan says:

          you are probably right, was just going on a comment elsewhere

      2. Colin Robinson says:

        Are you, perchance, confusing it with Rod Srewart’s ‘Purple Heather’ and the 1996 Euros?

  2. Colin Robinson says:

    I’ve always thought that the execrability of Scotland’s football anthems are, like its football itself, a natural expression of its Volksgeist.

  3. DonDon says:

    ” . . . the legendary Ayrshire snake-oil salesman Ally McLeod . . . ”

    Yep, the Kilmarnock carpet-salesman once spoke to me. I’ll never forget his exact words:

    “Get the f**k oot the road!”

    The referee had started the second half before the band had time to march off the pitch.

    Aberdeen were 1-0 down to Alloa in a Cup match at Recreation Park.

    1. DonDon says:

      That was just before the Aberdeen supporters rioted.

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