EURO 2020 is only just over and we're missing the competition already – there were immense highs and lows for Scotland fans and more political charge than ever in the wake of Brexit.

In the aftermath of it all, but while the buzz is still fresh, it's the perfect time to reflect and pick out seven of the top moments of Euro 2020.


It certainly felt that way, anyway...

After a disappointing start to the tournament, Steve Clarke's men picked themselves up and put in an incredible performance against eventual finalists England.

The National:

The game ended scoreless. However, Scotland had outplayed our auld enemy and in that moment we were filled with hope that we could finish the job against Croatia and qualify. Alas!

2. Billy Gilmour's masterclass

Part of the reason for defeat in our final group game was no doubt the loss of Billy Gilmour to Covid self-isolation.

The National:

The 20-year-old Chelsea star from Ardrossan was a vision of hope for the future for Scottish football fans.

His man-of-the-match performance against England will no doubt be the first of many, with his cool head and decision-making at the heart of our midfield set to be a feature for years to come.

He can only get better.

3. Jeremy Vine attributing England’s success to Brexit

Yes, we consider this a top moment! This is because it was such an illuminating, crystal-clear message to undecided voters in Scotland on how bizarre the British Unionist media can get.

Journalist Mike Parry said: “Can I tell you why this is so important to the country? 1954, West Germany beat Hungary in the World Cup Final and that created the German revolution which led them to become the most powerful country in Europe.

The National:

“That’s what a football victory can do for a country. From the ashes of the Second World War Germany became great again due to winning a football match.”

Vine replied: “To Mike’s point there, this is actually about Brexit. This is about Britain, the whole of the UK, becoming self-confident post-Brexit. We can do it."

Truly bizarre. “The whole of the UK” didn’t vote for Brexit, Scotland was clearly opposed – and it was backed most vociferously by the Tories.

4. England stars calling out the Conservative Party

The Tories were one of the big losers of Euro 2020. While we were cheering Italy on all the way in the final, credit has to be given to the likes of Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Gareth Southgate (bizarre war analogy aside) for their courageous stance against racism throughout the booing – utterly and heartbreakingly vindicated by the abuse levelled at Black players following the final.

Not many put it better than Tyrone Mings. Even after all the grief of that heartbreaking final, he wasn’t going to let Priti Patel get away with rewriting history.

The National:

Patel and Boris Johnson had refused to condemn those booing the England squad for taking the knee. Then, when the racist abuse flowed in after the tournament, she decided to speak out.

Mings hit back: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”

Perfectly put.


It wasn’t a good tournament for flags.

There was Boris Johnson trampling all over a giant England flag, Boris Johnson decking Downing Street head-to-toe in so many smaller England flags and UK Government attempts to inflict an eight-storey Union Jack on Cardiff.

The National:

So, it was welcome relief when, in the final, we saw a much more amusing offering.

“We’ll be back”, read the message on a Saltire also featuring the man who made that line famous – Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator.

Yes, we will! And full credit to the Scotland fans who made it to the final and the perfect seats to deliver that message.

6. ITV commentator Sam Matterface losing the plot

If you listened to Sam Matterface’s commentary during Euro 2020, you might be wondering how on earth he could be anywhere near a “top” list.

But remember: The National is Scotland’s only pro-independence daily newspaper, and there can be no doubt that Sam has given our movement a poll bounce.

Those of us watching England play Denmark on STV had to endure totally unhinged jingoism from the commentator and his assistant, Lee Dixon, that annoyed far more than ardent Yessers.

The National:

It took him 11 minutes to realise Denmark were down to 10 men due to an injury, with no substitutions left.

It got worse. Ignoring the fact a sizeable chunk of his viewers weren’t in England, Matterface monologued: “If this comes off, you can do what you want tonight.

“You’ve had a terrible 16 months; kids you can stay up, don’t you dare go to bed. The rest of you, call your boss, you ain’t coming in in the morning.

“You deserve this. England deserve this. Feel it, ride it. All that outpouring of emotion is just 50 seconds away.

“Just try to be safe and follow the rules. Otherwise, I’m going to be in one hell of a load of trouble."


That last sentence came after a fairly clear realisation that he’d entirely forgotten the pandemic existed.

And an honourable mention to Lee Dixon declaring that he “didn’t care” whether England’s penalty should actually have been a penalty or not.

7. The National gained a very famous new reader

It all started on Friday night, ahead of Sunday’s final. We released our front page on social media, portraying Roberto Mancini as William Wallace in Braveheart. He was our “Final Hope” against another 55 years of torture from the English media.

The National:

It went viral. Debate in the UK raged – was this bitterness, or some self-aware banter? In the continent, it was taken as entirely tongue-in-cheek and proved an undisputed hit. The viral front-page reached America too, with coverage in the New York Times.

Then, in the pre-match press conference, Mancini described the front as “nice” – adding that he had chuckled. Captain Giorgio Chiellini said that it made him “smile”.

What happened next made people think our Photoshop gurus had been at it again.

The National:

In a video released by the Azzurri showing their triumphant flight home, eagle-eyed social media users spotted a copy of The National tucked under the Euro 2020 trophy itself, in a position of honour by “Roberto the Bruce” Mancini’s right-hand side.

It was real – and a welcome reminder of the love Scotland and Italy have for each other.

We couldn't quite squeeze in Jim White calling us an "independence rag", but what were your top moments not included here?