The National:

UNTIL very recently, Scotland’s men’s team have been conspicuous in their absence at major football tournaments.

As well as causing untold amounts of heartache, the absence has made us accustomed to experiencing tournaments through the prism of English exceptionalism, via the BBC and ITV.

This exceptionalism reached its nadir last night as ITV’s Sam Matterface drove viewers crazy with his increasingly unhinged rants about Gareth Southgate’s side.

Broadcast on STV for those of us in Scotland, the night began with the usual bleary-eyed proclamations of destiny, as well as a blatant disregard for the opposition, neutrals’ favourites Denmark.

The jingoism came to a head in extra time.

Co-commentator Lee Dixon did his best to match his colleague in the partisan stakes. Asked about England’s controversial late penalty, awarded after Raheem Sterling appeared to go down suspiciously easily in the Denmark box, Dixon declared: “I don’t care.” Top-notch analysis.

The National:

But it was Matterface who stole the show.

Continuing the theme of largely ignoring Denmark’s presence at Wembley, it took the commentator a full 11 minutes to realise that the plucky underdogs were down to 10 men after Mathias Jensen hobbled off injured. Denmark were unable to replace him having made all of their substitutions.

When he eventually took his eyes of England long enough to notice, an increasingly delirious Matterface blurted out: “The Danes have one less member of staff … on the pitch. They’re down to nine men … 10 men.”

But worse was to come.

Launching into a seemingly endless monologue, the ITV commentator appeared to declare the pandemic was over.

Ignoring the fact that a sizeable chunk of the viewers weren’t even in England, he said: “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."

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The speech was not well received on social media.

BBC pundit and National columnist Michael Stewart replied: “Does Sam Matterface think that no other nation has suffered from COVID?”

Sports broadcaster Tom English added: “Sam Matterface. I have no words. And I really wish he hadn’t either.”

Matt Greer wrote: “Sam Matterface telling viewers in Scotland ‘you deserve this’ is without doubt, the worst moment of the last 18 months.”

Others warned there was even more to come.

Terrace TV’s Robert Borthwick wrote: “The worst thing about this isn’t the dive, it isn’t the impending England win and 4 more days of finding out about Luke Shaw’s slippers. It’s listening to Sam Matterface for another full match on Sunday. My word.”

During his increasingly manic monologue in extra time, Emma Kennedy quipped: “Someone needs to escort Sam Matterface to a safe room.”

Guardian sport journalist Ewan Murray commented: “Sam Matterface has lost the plot entirely.”

If this is what “it’s coming home” means, it’s all yours, England.