Dejected Tartan Army locked out of Macedonia defeat

September 6, 2008

The misery of hundreds of Scotland fans at today's World Cup qualifying defeat in Macedonia was compounded after they were refused entry to the ground.

Up to 1,000 supporters were locked out of the stadium in Skopje before kick-off after being told they had bought tickets for the home end and would not be allowed in on safety grounds.

Riot police were called in to ensure order was maintained, forcing supporters to return to town if they wanted to watch the game on television.

Scottish Football Association security advisor Derek Kirkwood said travel club members had been allowed entry with no problems.

But he added: ''There's probably about another thousand who have come over to Macedonia in the hope of maybe getting tickets for the match and they've been buying them off people in the street.

''Unfortunately, they're for the Macedonian section of the stadium and the police commander in charge of the event is not allowing these people in.''

The Macedonian FA had repeatedly warned in the build-up to the game that if they suspected spectators entering the home section to be Scottish then they would not be admitted.

Kirkwood insisted the SFA had made representations before the game to let these fans in but the efforts were refused, even though the stadium was not full as he had been told it would be.

He said: ''We've done absolutely everything we can in our power to say to them (the police), 'Look, these guys are known as the greatest fans in the world, won't you please just let them in. I know they shouldn't be buying tickets in the street but there''s room in this stadium. We can assure you they''ll go in there and not cause any bother'.

''But the police chief has just said, 'Absolutely not'.''

Kirkwood admitted today's scenes could be repeated in Wednesday's qualifier in Iceland.

''We've only got 1,000 tickets for the stadium up in Reykjavik and again the Tartan Army want to see the game,'' he said.