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The Tartan Army in camouflage

By David Taylor
First published in
SFOR Informer #70, 15 Sept, 1999.

Sarajevo, Kosevo Stadium - Saturday September 4, the Scottish national football team played Bosnia and Hercegovina in a tough qualifying game for the year 2000 European Championship. Scotland won 2-1 to the great satisfaction of the Tartan Army, the hard-core group of supporters who literally travel the world over in support of their nation. So what has this got to do with SFOR? Well, apart from the fact that Scotland is a traditional recruiting ground for the British Army, and Scots are therefore quite well represented in the Headquarters at Ilidza, the game also coincided with a tour in Bosnia by the Royal Highland Fusiliers (RHF). For the occasion, their commander decided to bus down a contingent of his men.

These combined with large German and Italian groups along with English, Welsh, Swedes, Irish, Americans and French(to name but a few) from the Headquarters, to form a significant SFOR presence. The pipe band of the RHF marched onto the field at the beginning of the game - side-by-side with the BiH bandsmen - to play "Flower of Scotland", the national anthem.

There can have been few football crowds that have ever looked like this one, with the local crowd howling support for their team and whole sections of supporters in camouflage uniform - all topped of by the white hackles of the RHF. There was even a piper of the Lowland Gunners in the crowd entertaining the crowd through the half-time interval. And we should not forget, of course, the tartan kilts and the tam o'shanters of the Tartan Army.