IT was a straight red. Admittedly our wee hallway wasn’t the obvious pitch for a “three and in”, and when a speculative overhead chip smashed the glass front of the barometer the Ref (AKA the mammy) ha, had enough. Dad and daughter banished to the back garden.

I was six when my dad took me to my first real game. The teenage brother was no sports fan, so I was hauled off the subs bench. And thus the addiction began. ­Being chronologically gifted, I’m luckier than most Scotland fans… been to several World Cups where Scotland had qualified (we used to always, honest) and one where we didn’t. Much easier on the central nervous system.

So I understand how the England fans can get to the hysterical side of euphoric when their team progresses to the latter stages of a tournament. Though, ­admittedly, I don’t speak from personal experience here. What I fail to comprehend is how every other aspect of English life and times becomes utterly focused on the team regardless of what else ails the rest of the planet. A fair bit, right now.

The National: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie look from the stands before the Euro 2020 semifinal match between England and Denmark at Wembley  Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

There can be few more ludicrous sights than Boris Johnson sporting an England T-shirt over his proper shirt since, ­obviously, T-shirts of any stripe are not standard Old Etonian get up and nobody had explained how to wear them. Anyway, he might at least have splashed out on a proper strip.

Or watching him perched ­uncomfortably on the edge of an antique table since, obvs, that’s how everybody relaxes in front of the box when their team takes the field. Or standing, arms akimbo, on a giant flag of St George, outside his front door.

Or debating which date would be the new holiday Monday if football “came home” ­tonight.

The other evening I was sharing an STV gig with former Tory MP Peter Duncan. Ever courteous, he mildly chided me for suggesting they might be a tad over the top down south, asking how I imagined ­Scotland would behave in similar ­circumstances. Dunno, Peter. My imagination has never been required to stretch that far. Yet.

What I do know is that many Scots who began the tournament prepared to support their nearest neighbours’ endeavours have been comprehensively scunnered by how events have been covered, most especially in what bills itself as UK media sources.

My colleague Stuart Cosgrove explains below the various constraints under which Scottish broadcasters labour in terms of providing local output. Yet that can’t ­excuse the rabid tone of those UK-wide commentators who chose to forget their audience comprised more than one ­country.

The National: Gary Lineker

No matter who was playing whom, the experts marshalled for Gary Lineker’s pre, mid and post match discussions focused almost entirely on the next/last England encounter. Even when they had a token foreign guest like Jurgen Klinsman he was swiftly folded into what had seamlessly morphed into the English Broadcasting Corporation.

Over the years, when National readers complained about BBC Scotland, I sought to defend the many good journalists with whom I’d worked there. I’d give well more than a penny for their thoughts as they watched their London colleagues break every rule in the BBC book about the need for balance and impartiality.

TH E sheer ubiquity of the coverage has been extraordinary. Consider the 8.10 slot on Radio Four’s flagship morning news programme, Today. It is normally a spot for a cabinet minister or his or her opposition equivalent. Somebody expected to respond to the main national or international issue of the day. The morning after England beat Denmark the guest was ­former England striker Alan Shearer. Just in case we’d missed him as a panellist the previous evening.

Not that ITV can claim bragging rights here. The match commentator for that game behaved like a tanked up fan – ­urging viewers to take the next day off work, and not to send their weans to school, given this was a victory of epic proportions. (Shall we draw a veil here over the “penalty” award?) His tone was swiftly echoed by all those calling for a national holiday to celebrate an English victory this evening.

And never mind the tabloids, the once august Times had a columnist suggesting that the extra bank holiday could be celebrated all over the UK except for Scotland where “Nicola Sturgeon would declare a day of national mourning”. ­Honestly guys, you don’t make it easy for us to love you. Though I discount the twitter bampottery about “effin’ jocks”. We have those eejits too.

However all that might be filed under froth and nonsense – albeit froth that will bubble endlessly should Southgate’s finest win. But there is a more ­serious issue.

The National: Home Secretary Priti Patel leaves 10 Downing Street, Westminster

Take the odious Priti Patel – anyone, please, anyone! She went on the new anti-woke channel and refused to condemn those fans who booed the England players taking the knee since it was little more than “gesture politics”, and her boss agreed. Fast forward and we find this most noxious of Home Secretaries ­posting a pic of herself in an England shirt, fist raised in triumph.

Perhaps she missed the rather clever picture of the England starting 11 with only three players of English origin not crossed out. And you really can’t win with a goalie and two defenders, whatever Gary, Alan and Rio might tell you. Sterling, undoubted star of the piece thus far, was born in Jamaica. Kane’s dad migrated from the Irish republic; Saka’s mum and dad are Nigerian. In fact no fewer than half the current England squad could have played for another country. Come on Marcus, surely you have a Scottish granny stashed somewhere or other.

Had we had a Patel style Home Secretary when the families of those talented young men decided to migrate to the UK, they might have found themselves ­swiftly deported or worse. Her latest ­hostile ­gimmick is to “process” would-be ­migrants in Rwanda.

This from a woman who occupies one of the former great offices of state, and whose parents came from Uganda and whose paternal grandparents were ­Indian. Her adopted country was built on inward migration, and under the current UK administration is doomed to become the worst kind of insular Little England. I try not to loathe anyone in politics, but I’m happy to make an exception in Patel’s case.

SO it is that brand of hypocrisy, allied to the aforementioned hysteria, which has made so many Scottish viewers decide on lasagne washed down with pinot grigio for tonight’s menu. It’s not in any way hostility to Southgate who self evidently has more dignity in his little finger than Johnson could ever muster. And it’s not because they fail to recognise the soccer artistry of a Sterling or a Jude Bellingham. This is a team of which their manager can rightly be proud.

The National: Raheem Sterling has helped England make the final of Euro 2020

But we know, do we not, what the ­penalty clause will be with an England victory? Even this morning, I watched TV broadcast grainy footage of Alf ­Ramsey’s lot lift the World Cup in 1966. In fact, like the rest of the UK, I am, by now, word perfect in Kenneth Wolstenholme’s ­commentary. Constant repetition gives you that skill.

As the Euros got underway, that loop was replaced by the one of Gazza scoring a screamer in the 1996 European Championship. Against Scotland. Just the very thing to cement relationships in this “precious Union”.

So, should England beat the Italians tonight, I shall raise a glass to Gareth, and then find some way to shut down all my media for 48 hours. Or the next six months. Or for as long as it takes for the neighbours to regain some sense of proportion. Yes sir, they will deserve to ­boogie. Just not for the next half century.