How can I support Scotland during the Euros?

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1. Home alone

As a Scotland fan of old, I grew up taking big championships for granted. After spending my student grant on a trip to the 1974 World Cup in Germany, I’ve been lucky enough to follow the Tartan Army to championships in Mexico, Spain, Italy and France.

But at the 2016 Uefa European Championships, the only Scotsman on the pitch will be a referee, Willie Collum. And if this failure wasn’t sour enough, our neighbours are rubbing our faces in it – England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are all heading to France.

It’s now been 18 years since we qualified for a major tournament. But there’s more to sport than football. So instead of sitting at home brooding, we should throw our support behind someone else.

2. Pick another team

Maybe it doesn’t matter too much that Scotland haven’t qualified. You can enjoy watching an international tournament if you can find another team to back.

Green and White Army

A big chunk of the Northern Irish squad play their club football in Scotland, so maybe there is a little bit of Scotland going to the Euros after all.

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Northern Ireland

There are six players in the NI team playing in Scotland’s football leagues. Their main goal threat is Kyle Lafferty, who spent four years at Rangers.

The Dragons

Wales have waited a long time to qualify for a major tournament – they're perennial underdogs like Scotland.

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Wales

Plus they have Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale. Before qualifying for Euro 2016, Wales' only appearance at a major finals came in the 1958 World Cup.

The Boys in Green

Many of us can trace part of our family tree to Ireland, which means for many Scots there is a natural kinship with the Irish.

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Republic of Ireland

Lots of Irish people have emigrated to Scotland over the years, particularly in the 19th Century. Plus, the Irish fans are some of the most entertaining around.

The Three Lions

Are Scots really stuck with the ABE - Anyone But England - approach when it comes to choosing who to support?

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England

England may traditionally be our biggest rivals, but with Premier League strikers like Jamie Vardy and Wayne Rooney, at least they'll be entertaining.

3. Other Scots to support

But there’s more to life than football. We could just ignore it completely and become fans of other sports. There’s a whole host of Scots stars in action this summer. Click or tap below to find out who you can cheer on instead.

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4. Why aren't we there?

In recent years, our truly world class sports stars have used racquets or bikes, not footballs. It's as if the gods are taunting Scotland fans and forcing us to confront the dire state of our national game.

Do our tennis and cycling coaches know something that our football coaches don't? Probably not. From time to time, incredibly talented and determined individuals like Chris Hoy and Andy Murray will come along and rise to the top of their chosen fields. And let's not forget, both men left Scotland as young men to train and develop into champions.

The conveyer belt of great natural football talent seems to have been halted. This, along with the erosion of the working-class era obsession with football and the poverty of our facilities, has left our national team struggling.

None of these factors fully explain the demise of the Scottish national team. Under manager Gordon Strachan there have been green shoots of recovery, some close contests and great goals. But in the final analysis we are not yet good enough.

But there is reason for hope. Smaller nations than ours, like Iceland and Northern Ireland, have shown that it is possible to build teams that can take on those with greater natural resources.

5. Vote: 2018 World Cup?

Once again, the World Cup qualifying draw has not given Scotland an easy ride. England will be favourites to win Group F, with Scotland expected to fight it out for second place – and a chance to get into World Cup via the play-offs. Do you think Scotland will finally qualify for a major championship after 20 years of waiting?