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A famous victory - and the best part is, Scotland's dream lives on


* Nation in state of disbelief at 1-0 victory over World Cup finalists France
* Scotland have maximum nine points from three games in Group B
* 2,000 fans expected in Kiev when Scotland play Ukraine on Wednesday

Key quote
"I have no doubt that we'll blunder in the middle of the campaign, probably against one of the smaller teams, before we pick it up again and get right back in it when it's too little too late" - TONY BARRETT, FAN

Story in full SCOTS awoke to find the dream was very much alive yesterday as celebrations continued following the momentous footballing victory over France.

A result this big deserved a party to match and there was little sign of the wave of elation ebbing last night as the immensity of the result sank in.

Across the country Tartan Army fans shared their recollections of the moment Gary Caldwell swept home a Paul Hartley corner from just outside the six-yard box and the nation erupted in joyous disbelief.

Commentators lined up to hail the 1-0 Euro 2008 qualifier victory as one of Scotland's greatest sporting achievements of recent years, while former players put it second only to the national side's defeat of England in 1967.

One thing was certain, after so many years of misery, Scottish football was back on a roll and the team is now sitting proudly at the top of Group B with a maximum nine points from three games.

Former player turned coach Ally McCoist called it the best result in Scottish history, while Scotland captain Barry Ferguson described it as "one of the best days in Scottish football".

"It was a great victory, a fantastic result," said Tommy Docherty, a former Scotland player and manager.

"But if you're asking what was Scotland's greatest-ever victory, it has to be the 3-2 win at Wembley in 1967 when Jim Baxter absolutely dominated the game," he added.

"England were the world champions then and were playing at home, whereas France were playing away and are World Cup runners-up. Our biggest problem now is not getting carried away."

Dave Mackay, like Docherty a member of the Scottish squad at the 1958 World Cup, also rated 1967 as the greatest Scotland game, alongside another match at Wembley.

He said: "The greatest match I was involved in with Scotland has to be our 2-1 win against England in 1963," said the former Hearts and Tottenham Hotspur legend.

Fans yesterday applauded the result. Paul Marroney, a 24-year-old student from Edinburgh, who watched the game with his French friend Axel Louchie, 32, said: "I think this is one of Scotland's best results, without question."

Even Mr Louchie had to concede the Scotland performance had been stunning. "I had a feeling Scotland would do something," he said. "I certainly knew they would be competitive, but maybe a draw was the best I expected them to achieve."

Kerry Stewart, 23, watched the match with her friends Tony Barrett, 23, and Iain Deacon, also 23.

"What a great performance, and I don't believe we're going to have the usual hard-luck story," she said. "It's definitely going to happen this time. With Walter in charge we'll qualify."

Mr Barrett, however, displayed a rather more fatalistic view of the team's chances.

"I have no doubt that we'll blunder in the middle of the campaign, probably against one of the smaller teams, before we pick it up again and get right back in it when it's too little too late," he mused.

It was France's first away defeat in a qualifying match for 14 years and leaves Scotland at the top of their group for the 2008 European Championships with a maximum nine points out of nine.

Scotland manager Walter Smith is hoping to see his team qualify for their first major tournament since the World Cup in 1998.

Jack McConnell, the First Minister, who was at the match with 57,000 other fans, said: "That was a terrific performance from a team of heroes, and I am glad that I was there to witness it."

SNP leader Alex Salmond also joined in the praise, proclaiming the match as "one of the great nights in Scottish football".

All eyes will now be on Scotland on Wednesday to see if the team can repeat their success when they take on Ukraine.
Glorious games that have gone down in history

So where does Saturday's victory belong in the pantheon of Scots football triumphs?

England 1 Scotland 5
The "Wembley Wizards" match has long been hailed as one of the greatest attacking displays by Scotland.

England 1 Scotland 2
Two years after a record 9-3 humiliation by their oldest opponents, Scotland returned to Wembley and shocked the home side. Jim Baxter scored both goals.

Scotland 1 Italy 0
Rangers' John Greig scored the only goal of the game in this World Cup qualifier against one of the best teams in the world.

England 2 Scotland 3
The World Cup holders were beaten on their own soil for the first time since their 1966 triumph as Baxter taunted the home defence.

Scotland 2 Czechoslovakia 1
Jim Holton and Joe Jordan got the goals which took Scotland into the 1974 World Cup finals.

Netherlands 2 Scotland 3
Archie Gemmill scored one of the most famous goals in World Cup history, but the win was not enough for the Scots to go through from the group stage.

Scotland 3 Spain 1
Kenny Dalglish was on the mark with a superb goal in this World Cup qualifier. Maurice Johnston scored the other two.

England 0 Scotland 1
A brave display in this Euro 2000 play-off came close to negating the 2-0 deficit from the first leg.

Scotland 1 Netherlands 0
A remarkable result against a far more gifted team - but swiftly annulled by a 6-0 defeat in the second leg.

Scotland 1 France 0
The World Cup runners-up were first frustrated and then defeated by Walter Smith's side. Gallant defence and a Gary Caldwell goal made the difference.
Can Kiev be another high point?

SOME 2,000 fans are expected to travel to Kiev this week as Scotland hope to maintain an unbeaten record in their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign against Ukraine.

For fans who have never been to the eastern European city, here are a few pointers.

• Kiev has a population of just over 2.6 million. Only 46.7 per cent are men.

• After football, the most popular spectator sport in Kiev is ice hockey.

• In 2005, Kiev hosted the Eurovision Song Contest.

• It is said that one can walk from one end of Kiev to the other in the summer without leaving the shade of its many trees.

• When in Ukraine, one should: never shake hands and offer anything over a threshold; never drink your host under the table; never put an empty bottle on the table; never get a young, unmarried woman to sit at the corner of the table and always bring an odd number of flowers to a house (even numbers are considered unlucky).

• Typical foods include borshch, a vegetable-based soup, usually made with beets and beef or pork meat; holobtsi, cabbage rolls usually stuffed with rice and meat; varenyky, stuffed dumplings, also known as perogies, and pyrohy, a fried, dessert version of varenyky, filled with fruit instead of meat or cheese. Typically, bread is a core part of a meal and must be included for the meal to be "complete".

• Those ordering a drink should get used to asking for a horilka, which is Ukrainian for vodka.

Taken from the Scotsman

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