Over the years, the Tartan Army – as fans of the Scottish national team are widely known – have established a reputation as being among the friendliest, most colourful and most peaceful set of travelling fans in world football.
What is less well known is that they are also among the most generous thanks to the efforts of a small group of volunteers who form The Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal.
The Sunshine Appeals origins started in September 1999 in Sarajevo, which was still reeling from the aftermath of the civil war, when Scotland played a Euro 2000 qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Since then not a single away game has been missed, with 59 donations in a row made and over £100,000 handed over in donations – this has gone on to make differences for those who receive it from building a playground at a psycho-neurological hospital in Moldova, providing computer training for children suffering from cancer in Austria, medical care for a Special School of Arts for Children with Impaired Vision in Ukraine, and incubator units for premature babies in Croatia.
This tradition will continue in Malta where a donation of £5,000 will be made to the Puttinu Cares Children’s Cancer Support Group on Saturday, the eve of the World Cup qualifying game between Malta and Scotland.
Making this event all the more special is the fact that this will be the sixtieth consecutive away game where a donation will be made, meaning that the Sunshine Appeal will be celebrating its diamond anniversary in Malta.