Many comparisons can be drawn from Scotland’s first home matches in the Euro 2008 and Euro 2016 qualifying campaigns. Both were away from Hampden, against unattractive opposition, but with the national team on a high.
In 2006, the Faroe Islands were beaten 6-0 at Celtic Park in front of a crowd of 50,059. This time round, Georgia lost 1-0 with a crowd of 34,719 at Ibrox.
Why, then, with so much to compare about the two matches, coupled with the expansion of the European Championships giving us our best chance to qualify for a major tournament since that very campaign for Austria and Switzerland, was there a 16,000 difference in the crowd? The answer is simple. Scotland supporters were priced out of watching their national team.
Tickets for the Faroes game started at £12 for adults. For the Georgia game, they started at £35. The SFA claim tickets had been under-priced for years, and the rise compared to earlier campaigns – where tickets started at £25, with a £115 season ticket – was fair.
A small increase would have been fair enough on the grounds of losing event income while Hampden is reconfigured after the Commonwealth Games, but a rise of a minimum of £10 a ticket is taking Scotland fans for granted.
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