"We owe them a result" is the old cliché footballers wheel out when asked about their loyal fans after a chastening defeat.

For Scotland though, who have been joined at Euro 2024 by up to 200,000 of the Tartan Army, it really would be rather rude not to give them something to cheer about against Switzerland on Wednesday.

Towns and cities across Germany have become little Caledonian colonies, with supporters going to extraordinary lengths, be they technical or financial, to back Steve Clarke's side.

One such group are the six who piled into an old Volvo with more than 200,000 miles on the clock and drove the entire way from Darvel, East Ayrshire for the opening game against Germany and the second in Cologne against Switzerland.

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That's a journey of close to 800 miles, taking in a ferry crossing, starting on Thursday morning and taking in England, France, Belgium, a ferry and a train to Munich in time for the first match on Friday.

The group are now in Cologne for the all-important Switzerland tie, and hoping their epic efforts will be rewarded.

Scott Jardine told The Herald: "A lot of us go to the Killie and Scotland games together so as soon as we knew we had qualified we started looking into possibilities for the trip.

“A lot of people had the logical idea of flying over but we wanted to go a bit more old school, we remember all the stories of people going to Sweden in ’92 with tents, or France ’98 getting the train down.

"We left Darvel last Thursday, drove right down through England to Dover, on to the ferry for about an hour and a half where the driver tried to grab a little bit of sleep, and then again straight through the night.

Scott Gray, driver, tries to get some sleep on the ferryScott Gray, driver, tries to get some sleep on the ferry (Image: Supplied)

“We wanted to make a bit more of an adventure of it, so one of the guys had an old Volvo seven-seater, we decided we could get six people in that and just go for it.

"Me and my younger brother had tickets for the opening game, and one of the other guys was with his twin brother so it was a bit of brothers’ road trip.

"It was a long slog but it went in a lot quicker than you’d expect, it was a great laugh going down."

Scott Gray, owner of the Volvo in question, adds: "It just a big seven-seater Volvo with six of us crammed into it, we left at 8am on Thursday morning and got here about 29 hours later, the car ticked over to 205,000 miles on the way here so it’s done us proud.

"We just kind of said it as a joke last year, ‘ach who wants to jump in the car and we’ll drive?’. Before we knew it we had a car filled up and that was us.”

Fraser Jardine concludes: "It’s a proper experience if you drive with your mates rather than just getting a flight, you make a full experience out of it that you’ll remember forever.”

Scotland fans in a Volvo van header for GermanyScotland fans in a Volvo van header for Germany (Image: Supplied)

The group were extremely fortunate in terms of traffic and roadworks, but admit they had to contend with the notion of driving on the wrong side of the road and dealing with European roundabouts - as well as the obvious tiredness factor.

For Scott Jardine though it was all worth it once they made it to Munich - despite Scotland taking a 5-1 shellacking.

He says: "Out of the six of us it was only me and my brother who had an opening match ticket but when we were on the train down to Munich that morning at about 3pm I got a call from a friend in Kilmarnock saying that there was a guy in Egypt who couldn’t get his visa approved so there was a spare ticket.

Scott and Fraser Jardine at the Allianz Stadium in MunichScott and Fraser Jardine at the Allianz Stadium in Munich (Image: Supplied)

“As you can imagine the other four guys were pretty excited so we had to do a little name generator draw on the train to see who was going to get the golden ticket.

"Munich was honestly second to none. 

"I’ve genuinely never experienced anything like it, the German hospitality was unbelievable.

“Having the big steins and getting the sing-song going non-stop was unbelievable, it felt like all the Germans wanted to be Scottish! They were asking us all the words to our songs so they could sing along with us.

"I was in the second back row of the second tier and there were a lot of Germans in the hospitality and they were handing us down beers and stuff.

"I was sitting next to a guy from Shetland, so everyone that was there had done everything they could to get there - he had a plane held up at Aberdeen for him so he could make it.

“I suppose everyone had the old Scottish optimism of ‘we can pull something off here’ which I genuinely thought we could, but unfortunately the Germans were on a different level.

"It’s just an absolute bucket lister, once in a lifetime. For Scotland to qualify a tournament is difficult enough but to qualify and then be drawn in Group A and get the opening game – it won’t happen again.

“I paid a little bit over the odds for my ticket, I won’t lie, but I had to be there with my brother and there was no question about it.

“The national anthem did bring a tear to my eye, I can’t lie. It’s been a long time coming, I remember my brother and I running home from Galston Primary to watch the opening game of France ’98 so to think that the two of us were together at this opening game was well worth it, regardless of the result."

While the drive down was fuelled by camaraderie and optimism, defeat to Switzerland on Wednesday would eliminate Scotland from the tournament - realistically if not mathematically - and surely make the journey home less of an enticing experience.

Scotland fans in Cologne after driving from Darvel in a Volvo vanScotland fans in Cologne after driving from Darvel in a Volvo van (Image: Newsquest)

Scott Gray says: "It’s going to be difficult, there’s not loads of confidence in the team just now, we need to build up some confidence even if it is just by getting an early goal. But I’m pretty hopeful.”

Fraser Jardine says: "I've never felt an atmosphere like Munich before the last one and I can't wait for the next one, I think it'll be even better."

Scott Jardine adds: "I don’t think there’s much between ourselves, Switzerland and Hungary. As much as it was a great occasion we were maybe unfortunate to play the Germans in the first game, I think maybe if we’d played one of the other two we could have got more than a performance – at least a shot on goal!

“I don’t think there’s anything between the sides, I don’t see any reason we can’t get a result. I didn’t see much from the Hungarians and even the Swiss aren’t the team they were.

“I think we’ve definitely got a chance against these two – if we get zero points it wouldn’t shock me and if we got six points it wouldn’t shock me.”