Scotland Finding European Success

Report by ASF Sports Ambassador and reporter Cameron Steer 10/18/20

Scotland’s European soccer fixtures got off to a fantastic start with a 5-3 semi-final win on penalties against Israel to send them through to the Euro 2020 play-off .

Steve Clarke’s men now face Serbia on November 12th in Scotland’s first chance to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in over 20 years!

Scotland vs Israel

The game was tight, nervous, and absent of end quality for the most part, going through a whole ninety minutes and half an hour of extra time without either side being able to register a goal, the closest chances for Scotland coming from set pieces, McTominay heading a chance wide and Liam Cooper then hitting the post in the final minute of extra time. Eran Zahavi missed his chance to convert the first penalty of the shootout with Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall denying Zahavi in a tense moment.

In the build up to the game, Clarke stated that “Israel have a lot of very good attacking players” and talked of the threats that this would pose to his team. In reality, the Israeli players created very few troubling chances for David Marshall, apart from one which looked to be the game winner, Elhamed whipping in a cross which Weissman failed to get on the end of.

Overcoming Adversity

Even more impressive about this result is that Clarke and his men had to rearrange tactics with last minute injuries and positive covid tests in the camp, but it wasn’t just Scotland suffering the losses, six Israel players were ruled out due to positive tests. Twenty-four hours prior to the game, Stuart Armstrong came back with his positive result, meaning that another two key players, Kieren Tierney and Ryan Christie, as close contacts had to be quarantined as well. In addition to these three key players, right-back Liam Palmer was ruled out along with centre-back Scott McKenna. In accordance to these absences, Clarke changed his starting line-up slightly with midfielders Scott McTominay and Declan Gallagher and defenders Liam Cooper coming into the fold. Clarke also tested out a new strike partnership of Sheffield United’s, Oli McBurnie and Lyndon Dykes, of QPR.

It must be noted that this wasn’t just Scotland’s first penalty shootout win at men’s international level, but also their first in general. You wouldn’t be able to tell either, with the Scots converting all five of their penalties to win the game. Clarke and his men will now face Serbia on the 12th November to battle for a place in England’s Euro 2020 group in the first play-off final game for Scotland since Holland thumped us 6-1 over two legs in the Euro 2004 qualifiers.  

Scotland vs Slovakia

Following on from victory over Israel, Scotland came out confident against a Slovakia team weakened by nine changes to their starting line-up. Lyndon Dykes’ second goal in four games extended Scotland’s unbeaten run to seven games.

Four changes to the starting lineup from the Israel game meant that Clarke came good on his word to rotate the squad for these quickfire three games. Mcgregor, Cooper, Jack and McBurnie all started on the bench for a much needed rest. In their place Fraser, McClean, Fleck and Considine started. The importance of the occasion wasn’t lost on Considine who was making his international debut for Scotland at the mature age of 33. A very well deserved debut for a veteran whose impressed services over the last decade or so in an Aberdeen shirt. Considine’s debut started off a little shaky but after ten or fifteen minutes he grew into the game, looking generally solid and working hard to preserve a clean sheet.

Previously, Clarke expressed his concern for the strange environment created for his players by an empty Hampden Park for these games, however this doesn’t look to have affected the Tartan Army too much in recent games as they now look as if they are finally getting used to the absence of fans and the noise they bring. By the same token it does seem to take a while for the players to warm into the games with no fan atmosphere, the half chances and scrappy play of the first half standing testament to that. That being said, no less than ten minutes after the second half restart, Scotland took the lead through an excellent move with Fraser setting O’Donnell for an inch perfect cross that Dykes could sink his teeth into, 54 minutes in, Scotland 1-0 Israel. The next key chance fell to Sheffield United’s Ollie McBurnie who saw his header graze the bar in the 79th minute. McBurnie has not yet opened his goal account for Scotland but seems to grow into his role as the national team’s target man with every game he’s involved in.

Scotland vs Czech Republic

Scotland held on at 1-0 for 84 minutes of the game after a sixth minute goal from Newcastle’s Ryan Fraser which capped off a nice little bit of link up play between O’Donnell and Dykes. The previous two wins for Scotland looked to have taken a toll on the players fitness wise however with the Czeck Republic dominating the game for the most part and Scotland only registering one shot on target in comparison to the Czech Republic’s six. 

It’s very surprising that Scotland left Hampden Park with a win when viewing the games statistics but this is also a testament to the new found defensive solidarity which is fast becoming a key part of Clarkes teams results based philosophy. Perhaps its that, perhaps its luck, the Czech Republic certainly had some clear cut chances to equalize throughout the game, sixteen to be exact. First chance to equalize fell to Matej Vydra who found himself open at the back post, skewing his shot wide. The shots that the Czech Republic did get on target were excellently covered by goalkeeper David Marshall, most notably his improvised save to prevent Soucek from nodding home a header. Soucek then went on to misscue a shot from less than six yards from goal leading to Scotland countering, creating a chance for Ollie McBurnie who rattled the bar with a dipping effort which was the last action of the game.

Scotland leave this international break with three straight wins to teams we have historically struggled against in the past. That makes it eight straight games unbeaten in a run which stretches back to last Autumn. It certainly seems like the pin has dropped for the Scotland National Team who seem hungrier than ever to do well at the international level. Now it’s on to Serbia in November for the European Championship Playoff Final for the chance to join England’s group.

Highland and Island Voices

The Highland and Islands of Scotland are understandably much romanticized owing to no lack of films, tv shows and books which have depicted these areas and the people who live there with a great deal of fantasy and historical intrigue.

If you’ve ever wanted to hear about what life is actually like in the Scottish Highland and Islands then there’s a brilliant platform called HI Voices which features new guest contributors every week sharing their experiences, perspectives and insights and it’s well worth checking out.

Set up as a rotational Twitter account with accompanying blog by Domhnall Macsween in 2013 HI Voices offers a glimpse into the people who live and work in the Highland and Islands and it’s a real treasure to take a look at.

Recent contributors include Eilidh Smith who describes her experiences living in Strathpeffer and spending time in Achmore on the Isle of Lewis. Currently Eilidh is working at the Gairloch Museum and in a recent post she shared this insightful comment about Highland life:

” Living and working in the Highlands and Islands, we have a canny ability to adapt, to change our plans and make the most of whatever is thrown at us. Maybe that comes from years of coping with ever-changing weather, knowing we need to change tack and adjust to fit the fronts as they move through. Maybe it’s that our communities are close and small enough that we know someone who can help, or someone who knows someone who can help… “

The feeling of community spirit and togetherness that Eilidh describes is a central theme in a lot of the contributions on HI Voices as the people who live and work in the Highland and Islands seem to be very aware of the importance of kinship, of working together in harmony with each other as well as the land itself in order to thrive and survive.

Although the Highlands and Islands are wonderful destinations for tourists, drawing visitors from all over the world, they are places where people have lived for thousands of years and where distinct culture, customs and language has managed to survive despite many challenges and the never ending march towards globalization. The people who live there are rightfully proud of their roots and their identities.

Rhoda Meek from the Isle of Tiree shares some insights: “For me, our Scottish islands and especially the one I am lucky enough to call home, are so much more than a destination. They are living breathing places with an incredibly rich cultural heritage – and I see that culture sitting on the cusp of survival.”  

HI Voices moderator Linda Ross had this to say on the project:

“With the Highlands and Islands Voices account we go beyond the mythology of the region and hear from those who make the region what it is – a diverse area that, although steeped in a remarkable heritage, is so much more than the tartan and castles in the mists for which it is often celebrated. Our weekly curators show off the area as progressive, exciting and characterised by a landscape which is for living. Through them, the area has an online presence which reflects everything from the rich cultural scene to the industrial and technological developments which have been an ever-present part of modern life in the region. Perhaps more importantly, it gives a platform to the intricacies of daily life and leaves us with a tangible record of the reality (both positive and negative) of Highlands and Islands life. It picks up on the area’s inherent diversity and pride to remind us that there is no singular voice of the region; although people come together as ‘Highlanders’, the account shows us that being ‘Highland’ means different things to different people.”

www.hivoices.wordpress.com

Scots In Us Podcast – Our Global Community October 12th

In this podcast we are joined by Sean Cairney, Director of The Scottish Banner. Based in Sydney, Australia, The Scottish Banner has been keeping our Scottish global community informed for over 40 years! Sean joins us to share insight as to the beginnings of The Scottish Banner and it’s origins. Sean tells us what the Scottish global community means to him and shares some of his favorite stories about The Scottish Banner and it’s many readers across the globe.

We’re joined for an introduction by Cameron Steer, our Sports Ambassador and Sports Reporter who will be bringing us news and updates on sport from Scotland and on leading Scottish athletes in North America.

We have music from Mark Copeland, Mara Shea and Kodak Ghosts.

Presented by Jamie McGeechan with ASF President Camilla Hellman, MBE.

Listen to our podcasts on Spotify , on Apple Podcasts and on Anchor.

Sounds From Scotland Online Music Concert October 18th

The next Sounds From Scotland Online Music Concert on Facebook Live is coming on Sunday October 18th!

The next Sounds From Scotland Online Music Concert on Facebook Live is coming on Sunday October 18th!

www.facebook.com/americanscottish  3PM – 5PM ET / 8PM – 10PM GMT

Featuring the talents of Craig Scott Music, The Jamie Clark Experience, Jamie McGeechan and Mark Copeland.

Join us for this live experience on our Facebook page as we enjoy brilliant contemporary sounds from Scotland!

Scottish Soccer Preview with Cameron Steer

Our Sports Reporter and Sports Ambassador Cameron Steer shares his insight on Scotland’s upcoming European Nations League game against Israel on October 8th.

European Championship Qualifier vs Israel @ Hampden Park

Cameron hails from Lanark, and represented Scotland as a member of Scotland Men’s Lacrosse National Team and the Scotland National Football Team before coming to the US to study at Medaille College in Buffallo NY three years ago.

ASF Sports Ambassador Cameron Steer

“You have to respect the magnitude of the game” said Scotland boss Steve Clark, fully aware of the gravity of the upcoming match versus Israel in the European Championship Qualifiers.

Scotland have been on a solid run of recent form and are now a few good results away from qualifying for a major championship for the first time in over twenty years.

Recognizing the huge importance of the game, Clarke said his players “have a chance to make a little bit of history for their country.” It really is an exciting time for the Tartan Army, and especially for young people like myself who have never had the chance to experience Scotland play in a major tournament, is this the time?

The size of the Scotland squad has also increased for the upcoming fixtures, and understandably so, as Clarke went on to state, “Indeed the squad is bigger but we have three games in a very short space of time, it’s important we have options in the squad.”


Scotland manager Steve Clark gives a press conference ahead of Scotland’s big game against Israel.

Fitness concerns for the squad as a whole have also been expressed by the press in the build up to the fixtures. These concerns stem from the fact that thirteen members of the squad will play for their clubs the Sunday (4th October) prior to the international fixtures.

In response to these concerns Clarke said, “We’ve had good work in previous camps, so I think now that I feel comfortable that the principles of the way we want to play are more cemented.”

With Scotland sitting on potentially their biggest success of the last twenty years, it’s almost agonizing that they can’t have the famous Hampden roar around them as they strive for this incredible accomplishment.

Steve Clarke spoke on this noting, “the home advantage is eradicated by having no fans there, it’s something that we have to get used to, there’s not much point going on about the fans, we know that they are watching and supporting, socially distanced wherever they are.”

Playing against Israel is always a tough game for Scotland, with the sides sharing the points in a 1-1 draw last time out. Important then that we learn from our previous ties and use the experience to make ourselves better.

It really seems like Steve Clarke is starting to get things right in developing the identity of his team and their style of play, the quality of players has also increased with many of the squad representing some top English Premier League clubs.

Personally, I am very excited for the next couple months of international football and to see what Scotland can produce, but more immediately, I am so excited to watch them this coming week!

Cameron Steer

American Scottish Foundation announce partnership with The Scottish Grocer

The Scottish Grocer is offering a great way for you to support ASF – with every order placed from their great range of Scottish products, ASF will receive a donation from the Scottish Grocer.

Based in Charlotte, NC, Scottish Grocer offer a wide range of products that will help your larder stay stocked with Scottish products…. AND helping the ASF too!

Some of our favorites are:- Mrs Bridges wonderful range of Jams, jellies and chutneys (our favorite is Mrs Bridges Lemon Curd!), Hamlyns Scottish Porridge Oats and Oatmeal ensuring a great bowl of porridge but is an essential ingredient for so many of our baking needs- A great variety of Haggis products including Mackie’s Potato Crisps – Haggis crispsStockan’s Oatcakes, produced in Orkney – so many ways to enjoy- Plus great Gift items …

Visit the Scottish Grocer website to see all the wonderful products!

www.thescottishgrocer.com

If you are a Member of ASF your Special 20% Discount Code also applies.

If you have lost your discount code email us at americanscottishfoundation@gmail.com

Scottish football roundup from ASF Sports Reporter Cameron Steer

ASF Sports Reporter & Ambassador Cameron Steer

Scores Around The Grounds – Scottish Premiership

The Scottish Premiership has kicked off and it looks set to be an exciting season as Celtic chase a potential 10 league titles in a row. Arch rivals Rangers will be keen to see that this doesn’t happen though with Rangers manager and ex Liverpool ace Steven Gerrard needing to prove to fans and the board that his appointment as manager was a wise one. Can Rangers stop Celtic this season and when will fans return to games with the current COVID-19 situation rolling on and causing significant financial difficulties for some of the smaller clubs. Whatever happens it’s sure to be an exciting season ahead!

Saturday September 26th

Game One: Livingston FC vs ST Johnstone FC

The game started off with both sides going at each other pretty evenly, however the game began to come alive for Livingston after they were denied a penalty, following that Jason Holt was booked for a tactical foul on a St Johnstone counter attack, and the momentum of the game fully shifted to the Livingston boys. A few minutes later, in the 34th minute Scott Tiffoney passed the ball into the bottom left corner after the ball popped out to him from a messy period of play in the box. No longer than one minute later, Tiffoney laid the ball off to Alan Forest on the edge of the St Johnstone box to calmly slot home the second goal of the day for Livi. The game ended with a very good chance for St Johnstone which looked to be curling home into an open net, but Lee Miller saved his Livingston side by heading the ball clear from the line. Overall, a pretty balanced game in terms of statistics, Livingston just did more with the momentum and chances they had, scoring in quick succession and so early on decided the game in the first half. ​Full Time score: Livingston 2-0 St Johnstone.

Game Two: St Mirren vs Kilmarnock

The game started off with St Mirren on the front foot, narrowly missing a chance on a counter attack early on. After that the game went back and forth with both sides creating fantastic chances on the counter. St Mirren then hit the crossbar from a corner kick, the bullet header from Joe Shaughnessy. After this missed opportunity, Kilmarnock went down the other end and fashioned together a nice six-yard tap in, the chance scored by Nicke Kabamba, taking his tally for the season up to 4 goals. For the rest of the game, St Mirren looked very dangerous on set pieces but couldn’t convert a crucial chance in the end to draw the game level. Which was a shame as for the closing stages of the game, St Mirren looked to cause the most trouble. ​Full Time score: St Mirren 0 – 1 Kilmarnock.

Game Three: Hamilton vs Dundee United

Lawrence Shankland Scores Again! This matchup only took 4 minutes for the first piece of excitement with Shankland stabbing home a tidy cut back into the box. After this quick start, the game became rather scrappy with Dundee United attempting a wayward shot from range which swerved high and left away from the goal. Hamilton answered this by going down the other end, squandering a cross to the back post which somehow found its way through the Dundee defence. Not long after this, Dundee wasted what appeared to be a clear cut chance down the right hand side, just inside the box, but Logan Chalmers sliced it wide. A Dundee goal line clearance following a set-piece from Hamilton looked to have kept the clean sheet hopes alive for Dundee, further reinforced by a shocking headed miss from Hamilton striker ​T​unde Owolabi. Following this, another fantastic opportunity went begging for Dundee as David Mayo flashed a left footed cross across the face of goal from the right hand side. The game then proceeded to go back and forth with numerous slight chances until the 75th minute when Hakeem Odoffin steered home a corner kick to draw Hamilton level. After the equalizer, the game and its momentum petered out with both sides snatching at some chances with some pretty poor attempts during crunch time at the end of the game.  ​Full Time score Hamilton 1-1 Dundee Utd.

Game Four: Motherwell vs Rangers

The game began with a fantastic cross from Rangers captain James Tavernir which was met by a seemingly accidental header on target from Alfredo Morelos which looked to be going in, but was instead saved by the Motherwell goalkeeper. Tavernir then stepped up to slot home a penalty in the 12th minute following an accidental handball from Motherwell’s Mugabi. Then in the 28th minute, Jordan Jones smashed a curled effort across goal from the right hand side after making an incredible sprint to get on the end of his teammates pass. The ball hit the far post and ricocheted into the otherside of the goal, fantastic goal. Richard Tate then gave another penalty away for Motherwell in the 37th minute of the game, handballing Ryan Kents inswinging corner. Up stepped James Tavernir to slot home his second penalty kick of the day. Cedric Itten then made his presence known, thumping in a screamer of a volley from the top of the box for Rangers in the 75th minute, before slotting home the ball in the 80th minute as it fell kindly to him following a scramble in the six yard box from a corner kick. The game then ended with Motherwell getting on the scoresheet through a comical error from the Rangers defender George Edmunson, as the corner kick just slipped his view and bounced off his face into his own goal from no more than six yards out.​ Final score Motherwell 1-5 Rangers.

Game Five: Celtic vs Hibernian

Celtic started early through Callum Mcgregor who passed the ball into the net from the top of the box in the 7th minute to take the lead over Hibs. By the 35th minute, this lead was doubled, Albain Ajetti calmly slotting home a rebound from the goalkeeper on the edge of the six yard box. Celtic would go on to dominate Hibs all the way to the 79th minute where Mohammed Elynoussi would put a cap on an excellent team performance for the celts. Celtic also ended the game with the lion’s share of possession at 65%. ​ Final score: Celtic 3-0 Hibernian.

Game Six: Aberdeen vs Ross County

The game began pretty slow but soon became scrappy and looked up for grabs for either team with chances going begging at either end. However it was Aberdeen who snatched the momentum in the 42nd minute through a Marley Watkins bouncing header off a cross from out wide left. The next significant action came in the 60th minute with Iain Vigurs bringing down Mccrorie inside the box at the end of an Aberdeen counter attack. Lewis Ferguson stepped up to slot the ball home to the keepers right. Just sixteen minutes later a handball was called on Ross County‘s number 43 Reid. Ferguson stepped up again and slotted his second in the exact manner of the first. The game ended Ross County 0-3 Aberdeen.

That’s all for this week! Cameron will be back with his sports report next week!

You can get in touch with Cameron with any sports tips or questions at cammisteer02@gmail.com

SCOTTISH NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY CONFERENCE

Planning is under way for The 17th Annual Scottish North American Community Conference which will take place December 4th – December 6th in New York Virtually (and we hope in person).

Reservations will be taken shortly but as we ask you to Mark Your Calendar we ALSO ask you to lend your voice: Please take the On Line Survey HERE.

Hosted by The American-Scottish Foundation® together with Chicago Scots, St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit, Council of Scottish Clans & Associations, Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada and The Scottish Studies Foundation and The Centre for Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.

With grateful thanks to our sponsors The Scottish Government.

The event will be streamed as a live online event which we hope you will join us for as we join with our event partners.

Details on panelists, discussions and how to join us will be available soon on our Conference website at www.scottishleadershipconference.com

ScotsInUS Podcast

CURRENT EPISODE: MONDAY SEPTEMBER 21ST: ‘2020: THE CHALLENGES AND WAY FORWARD:

In this episode we are honored to be joined by Joni Smith, the Scottish Government’s Counsellor for Scottish Affairs to North America

and

Gus Noble, President of Chicago Scots and CEO of Caledonia Senior Living and Memory Care.

As we discuss the unique challenges that this year has presented us all. We learn all about the work of The Scottish Government in the USA, their mission and we draw attention to the vital work that they do for us all in the Scottish community in North America.

Gus Noble shares with us some of the many wonderful experiences and stories of community and friendship that he has experienced this year with Chicago Scots and Caledonia Senior Living and Memory Care. The Chicago Scots are great friends to us here at The American Scottish Foundation and we are always so pleased to speak with Gus.

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify , Anchor or over on Apple Podcasts.

With music from Starry Skies, Sean C Kennedy and Anna Sweeney.

Presented by Jamie McGeechan with ASF President Camilla Hellman MBE in conversation with our guests.

HIGHLAND GAMES UPDATES AND NEWS October 12, 2020

October has arrived and the US Games season is coming to a quiet close  – 

If this were 2019 then Scotland’s Highland Games season would have just ended in September with the Pitlochry Highland Games, the Braemar Gathering and the Blairgowrie & Rattray Highland Games but, as has been the case in the U.S. virtually all games were cancelled this year, with a few replaced by virtual events, like Braemar and Sterling Games in Scotland, and New Hampshire and Chicago Highland Games in the US and Fergus Highland Games in Canada – AND Oh to be experiencing the Highland Games in 2021 in person 

Here is a list of cancelled games and related events for the months of October and November, followed by those events which are still scheduled either as in-person or as virtual events:

Cancelled: October – November

Indianapolis Scottish Highland Games & Festival – October 10

Kerr County Celtic Festival (TX) – October 10-11

Seaside Highland Games CA) – October 10-11

Scotland Connecticut Highland Festival & Games – October 11

Tucson Celtic Festival – early November

Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering – November 7

Austin Celtic Festival – November 7-8

Mount Dora Scottish Highland Games (FL) – November 7-8

Salado Scottish Gathering and Highland Game (TX) – November 13-15

Scottish Ball (NYC) – early November

Celtic Music Festival & Highland Games (MS) – November 13-14

Tartan Ball (DC) – mid-November

Still scheduled October – November Virtual

Celtic Colours International Festival (NS) – October 9-17

Stone Mountain Highland Games – October 12 In Person

Association of Scottish Games and Festivals (Orlando, FL) – November 13-15, hotel tbd [sic]

Scots on the Rocks, Moab Utah – November 6-8 – in person

Pending

Austin Celtic Festival – November 7-8 (tentative – decision was to be made in August, but is still pending)

St. Andrew’s Highland Ball (Omaha) – early November (still on their list of upcoming events, but with no particulars, not even a date)

Scots on the Rocks, Moab Utah – November 6-8 – in person

Austin Celtic Festival – November 7-8 (tentative – decision was to be made in August, but is still pending)St. Andrew’s Highland Ball (Omaha) – early November (still on their list of upcoming events, but with no particulars, not even a date)

————————————————————————————————————————————–

This weekend, September 19th & 20th , will see a virtual celebration of the 45th New Hampshire Highland Games as a live online experience which we can all enjoy.

The New Hampshire Highland Games draws crowds of over 45,000 to New Hampshire each year for the three-day festival which is one of ASFs favorite Scottish Games and Festivals to attend.

The American Scottish Foundation has for the past few years taken part in heading up The Scottish Village tent sharing information on Scottish experiences – we cannot wait to be back in 2021 celebrating our love of Scotland.

Situated on the beautiful Loon Mountain, the NH Games is a must attend event for those who love to come together to celebrate their Scottish heritage, to enjoy the incredible Highland Games experience and to have fun!

Although the NH Games can’t go ahead as it normally would this year the Virtual Highland Games will be a wonderful celebration of the 45th anniversary of the New Hampshire Highland Games.

ASF President Camilla Hellman with the amazing Wolfhounds!

The organizing committee have programmed an exciting weekend of music, dance and activities for us all to enjoy and promises to ‘Showcase the Sights, Sounds and Smile of the Games’.

The events will begin on Saturday afternoon as a wonderful video will go live to represent the Opening Ceremony of the Games, always a wonderful experience and a sight to behold.

There will be lots of exciting Scottish goodies and crafts at the Virtual Vendor Village and we are strongly encouraged to show our support for the vendors, all small businesses selling Scottish goods who have had their businesses significantly affected this year.

Saturday night will feature a live concert by Albannach, one of the New Hampshire Highland Games favourite bands who have a large army of fans in the Scottish Festival circuit in the US.


Albannach – Ready to rock!

You can make a donation to the New Hampshire Highland Games HERE

You can watch the concert live on the NH Games YouTube channel HERE 

For more information, programming and links see www.nhscot.org