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From the archive: How STV covered the 1998 World Cup

The Tartan Army descended on France and some familiar faces were there with them.

Tartan Army 1998
SNS Group

As the greatest show on Earth gets ready to start in Russia, there can't be a Scottish football fan who hasn't thought "What if?".

Imagining how the team would fare in each of the World Cup groups is one thing. Pondering which players would raise their profile by shining against the best is another.

But what would the country be like? How would the party be?

We took a look through the archive to the closest available evidence and how STV reported on France 98 with all the colour, hope and inevitable disappointment.

Ready for kick-off

With the eyes of the world about to be on the national team and their date with Brazil, the Tartan Army descended on Paris ready to cheer on Craig Brown's side.

Jim White was live from the French capital, bringing news of Brown's media conference where the manager was doing his best to give little away as he aimed to start with a bang.

The focus wasn't on the team though, with fans leaving Scotland prepared for the trip of a lifetime. Optimism, alcohol and daft hats all seemed in plentiful supply.

Some fans had already set up camp in the bars of France and there were some familiar faces in one with Ally McCoist drinking with the Tartan Army and actor Richard Wilson being serenaded... and soaked with lager.

Glorious defeat

The campaign may have started with defeat to Brazil but after a thrilling opener, there was still plenty of positivity to go around.

Brown admitted that the better team won but seemed happy with a spirited performance against Ronaldo and company, while anyone expecting a fans' backlash had clearly never met the Scotland support.

As the report said, "the Tartan Army are used to disappointment" and fans were happy to tell viewers back home how well they thought the team had played.

One fan even managed to work in the national team's motto: "Another glorious defeat".

Fighting for survival

"Does Scotland have a World Cup future?" was the question being posed, but it was only the short term people were thinking about as the team got ready to take on Norway in a match they couldn't afford to lose.

Jim White had travelled to Bordeaux, and after reports of violent scenes and fan trouble elsewhere he was talking about the Auld Alliance and how Scotland's fans were making friends.

The reputation of the nation's best revellers even had the government believing it could boost the economy.

It was gently explained that "drink was consumed" as we got a glimpse of fans enjoying the local hospitality, while one supporter advised viewers to start saving so as not to miss out on Euro 2000.

STV also caught up with Rab, a fan who had popped out to pick up a pint of milk in Scotland a week previously and travelled to France on a whim without telling his wife.

There was also an interview with Norway's strike hope, a forward by the name of Tore Andre Flo.

Fresh hope

What a difference a draw makes.

The national team boss seemed a little frustrated not to have won but as Martin Geissler reported on the post-match mood, it was clear the fans were over the moon.

Some raved about the performance, one gave it a simple thumbs-up and there seemed to be a feeling that all was now on track for the knockout stages.

It wasn't all about the football either. A Tartan Army footsoldier didn't even mention the game, instead telling the folks back home that he had been in a 300-person conga.

The Scots were, as Geissler said, "very much in the World Cup and off into town for a party".

Brief concern

Only Morocco stood between the Scots and history and Jim White said there would be "no doing it the hard way this time".

Brown admitted to "a sense of anticipation" but insisted: "We're not getting too carried away at the moment." At the moment.

The big focus was on the shortage of tickets for the final group game. Plenty had travelled hoping to pick one up at the ground but the price was rising and many were asking: "How much is too much?"

Final countdown

Nobody knew that the clock was counting down on Scotland's last major tournament appearance for two decades but there was still a sense that this match was as big as they come.

"An entire nation will grind to a halt about an hour from now," predicted John MacKay, wearing a tie that would never have made it through a MacKay Mail vote these days.

Nobody would want to accuse the nation of being overconfident but there were bookmakers in STV's report saying that all the money had gone on Scotland.

People were wearing kilts to work.

Touts were charging £2000 for a ticket to see the Scots reach the knockout stages.

The report ended with the line: "St Etienne is bracing itself for what could be one almighty party."

We all know what happened next ...

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1416165-france-98-flashback-to-scotland-s-last-world-cup/ | default

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