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Wednesday, June 24, 1998 Published at 00:56 GMT 01:56 UK


Tartan Army on the retreat

Fans' faces show the agony of defeat

The Tartan Army - Scotland's devoted following of football fans - are on their way home after less than a fortnight in the World Cup finals.

The highs and lows - Scotland's short stay in France 98 captured by the BBC's World Cup programme
There were tears of despair and frustration in the French town of St Etienne on Tuesday night after Scotland's 3-0 defeat at the hands of Morocco.

There was just one crumb of consolation for the Scots - the team that put them out of the finals also failed to qualify for the second round after group stablemates Norway scored a surprise win over Brazil.

[ image: Scotland coach Craig Brown sees hope slipping away]
Scotland coach Craig Brown sees hope slipping away
Scotland's boisterous, but never aggressive, supporters have been one of the highlights so far in the France 98 tournament.

Bedecked in kilts, tartan caps and blazing orange wigs (known as "See You Jimmy" hats), and sporting the blue and white flag of St Andrew on their faces, the fans have been a colourful back-drop to the contest.

The BBC's Kevin Geary: "Yet again the Scottish team proved unworthy of their fanatical support"
But their premature return across the Channel echoes all the team's previous World Cup efforts.

Despite being a consistently strong qualifier - Scotland have reached the finals eight times - the team have never progressed further than the first round.

[ image: Before the match, fans were confident of victory]
Before the match, fans were confident of victory
It was a fact not lost on the Scottish rock band Del Amitri who penned the national side's official 1998 World Cup anthem, "Don't Come Home Too Soon."

Both at home and in France, the mood among Scottish fans had been buoyant before the tie with Morocco.

There was hope and expectation as followers genuinely believed Scotland could finally break their World Cup jinx and progress beyond the group stage.

Carnival atmosphere

In St Etienne fans paraded through the streets blasting their bagpipes and bringing a carnival atmosphere to the city.

Scottish fans leaving the match give their reaction: "We're still Scottish. We'll still support them"
Throughout the match the streets of every Scottish town and village were deserted as millions tuned into the live television coverage.

But after the 90 minutes of play - in which Scotland's midfielder Craig Burley was sent off - the optimistic revellers put the champagne on hold and set about drowning their sorrows.

The party rolled on - next stop World Cup 2002.

Click here to get all the latest news from France at the BBC World Cup 98 website.

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