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Fans urged to be on the ball over restrictions and enjoy games responsibly as pubs prepare to welcome punters for Scotland's Euro 2020 matches

By Ian Duncan

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Billy McKechnie is ready to welcome fans to Blackfriars during Euro 2020. Picture: Gary Anthony
Billy McKechnie is ready to welcome fans to Blackfriars during Euro 2020. Picture: Gary Anthony

Football fans planning to watch Scotland’s Euro 2020 matches in city pubs and bars are being urged to act responsibly.

The tournament kicks off tomorrow, with Scotland’s first game against the Czech Republic taking place on Monday.

A number of city centre pubs are planning to screen fixtures – especially those featuring Scotland’s national team, which has qualified for a major competition for the first time in 23 years.

However, all Covid-19 safety measures – including social distancing, track and trace and table service only – will remain in place.

Billy McKechnie of Blackfriars in Academy Street, said safety was the top priority, for both customers and staff.

“We’ve been geared up for Covid-19 and have been following all safety procedures,” he said.

“Nothing has gone wrong so far, and it is a smoothly oiled machine now. We have to ensure that everybody is safe.

“When it comes to the competition everybody is behind Scotland of course.”

Gavin Stephenson, owner of The Gellions in Bridge Street, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that Scotland are in a major tournament.

“Hopefully, as the summer progresses and Covid-19 cases continue to decline with more people vaccinated, we will be in a better position to properly celebrate.

“For now, 100 per cent we are very clear that all the social distancing rules, all of the behavioural rules, absolutely still apply.

“The games will be shown as background entertainment.

“They are not events that are being focussed on or ‘pushed’, but if people want to come up and watch some telly in a nice atmosphere with a relaxing drink they are very welcome.”

Superintendent Maggie Pettigrew of Police Scotland’s Highlands and Islands Division, said: “Euro 2020 will be one of the most prestigious and high-profile sporting events taking place across the continent this year, with 51 matches in 11 countries and a global viewing audience of around two billion people.

“With the hospitality sector reopening and the increase in visitors to our region, we have increased patrols to engage with the public. This approach will continue over the summer months.

“We have a policing plan in place to ensure everyone is able to enjoy Euro 2020 wherever they are watching, and to minimise disruption to our communities. Our officers join the rest of the country in wishing our national football team the best for what will undoubtedly be a first-class sporting event.”

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