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North Highland councillor and sons set to be furthest travelled Scottish football fans as they prepare for Wembley encounter

By Mike Merritt

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A HIGHLAND father and his two sons will travel further than any other Scotland fan on mainland UK to watch their beloved team take on England at Wembley.

They are Scotland's remotest most dedicated Tartan Army family trio - and now they are celebrating after getting a hat-trick of tickets for the England game at Wembley.

For Hugh Morrison, 55, and his sons Derek, 21 and Alan, 19, hail from Durness in Sutherland - the most north-westerly village on mainland Scotland.

Hugh Morrison
Hugh Morrison

But despite their location, they attended all but one of Scotland's Euro qualifiers, including travelling to Cyprus, San Marino, Belgium and Russia -and over the years have gone to more than 25 countries locations including Macedonia, Poland, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands, Norway and Iceland.

Because they have accrued so many points with the official Scottish fans' travel club they have managed to get three tickets for the Wembley game on June 18.

"Derek and Alan were not even born when Scotland last played in a tournament's competitive finals, so it is an especially big deal for them," said Hugh, who is also a Highland councillor and runs the famous Smoo Cave Hotel in Durness.

"We go to most home and away games and I was at Wembley when we beat England in 1999 with a Don Hutchison goal. I would take that scoreline again and I'm optimistic that Scotland will have a good tournament and upset England.

"Over the years we have spent a lot of money on the games but the camaraderie has made it worthwhile whatever the result, though obviously it's better when we win. We meet up with other fans from Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire and the islands. It's great.

"The only away game we missed in the qualifiers was in Kazakhstan. I think some of the hardest places to get to over the years have been in Eastern Europe, and the most difficult travel-wise was the Faroes because of the flights at the time. But we got there.

"I was surprised, but overjoyed when we got the tickets for Wembley. We will enjoy ourselves and it will involve a three or four-day trip. We will stay overnight in London and let's hope it is a happy trip home!"

The Morrisons are also avid Inverness Caley Thistle fans and with eldest son Gary, 27, make the regular 150 miles return trip in a minibus to most home games as well as long distance away matches.

Mr Morrison also backed former Scotland manager Craig Brown, who has hit out at touts charging more than £10,000 for a pair of tickets to the England game at Wembley.

Scotland’s allocation of seats has been slashed to just 2700 due to the need for social distancing.

Ticket touts are advertising VIP tickets on the Livefootball tickets.com website for £3999 each. By the time you add the £1199 “service fee”, the bill for a pair comes to £10,397.

Brown, the last manager to lead Scotland to a major tournament, said: “I am disgusted at the prices these ticket touts are charging – it is exploitation on a huge scale.

“I thought that even the legitimate tickets were priced very expensively, with a Category 1 ticket costing £161.

“But to slap a price of £10,000 on a pair of tickets to Wembley is unforgivable. Efforts should be made to find out who is behind this.”

Mr Morrison agreed:"It is disgusting," he said.

It is 23 years since Scotland took part in a major tournament, at France 98.

Tens of thousands travelled to see their opening match against Brazil in Paris but when Steve Clarke’s men run out at Euro 2020 few will be there to see it.

Scalpers are cashing in on the scarcity of tickets. A website called Seatpick runs a price comparison for available black market briefs, ranging from £505 on Viagogo to £3211 on Stubhub.

Scotland’s matches at Hampden Park in Glasgow have also attracted the attention of profiteers. With just 12,000 supporters allowed in to the 52,000-capacity stadium for the game with the Czech Republic on June 14, they are demanding £193 on Viagogo and £600 on Livefootballtickets. com.

For the Croatia game at Hampden on June 22, touts want between £250 (Viagogo) and £673 (Sportsevents365).

Standard non-VIP tickets have a face value of £43, £107 and £161.

To comply with social distancing, supporters have been allocated an individual arrival time on their ticket. Some fans have been told to come three hours before kick-off.

Fans without tickets may struggle to take in the action at Wembley if they to London as many bars have an “England only” policy.

Since 1998, Scotland have failed to qualify for ten consecutive tournaments, missing out on the Samba beats of Brazil, the vuvuzelas of South Africa and even the big party in France five years ago when all of the other home nations qualified for Euro 2016.

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