SO much has been said and written about why Scotland were able to put the mauling they suffered at the hands of the mighty Germany in their Euro 2024 opener last week behind them and resurrect their hopes of ascending to the last 16 with their gallant draw with Switzerland in recent days.

Myriad theories have been put forward since the final whistle blew in the Group A game in the RheinEnergieStadion Cologne on Wednesday night.

It was because manager Steve Clarke “kicked a few backsides” in training in the days following the humiliating reverse in the Allianz Arena. It was down to Billy Gilmour being restored to central midfield alongside Callum McGregor. It was the result of Grant Hanley starting at centre-half. It was a consequence of a different system.

All of those suggestions, though, are wrong. Do you want to know the real reason for the dramatic and unexpected turnaround in fortunes by our brave boys? It was an act of divine intervention. Confused? All will be explained. 

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Covering Scotland at Euro 2024, their first proper finals since France ’98 some 26 years ago, has been fantastic. Alas, the early mornings, heavy workloads, tight deadlines, late nights and incessant travel have been somewhat discombobulating for your correspondent.

He was feeling pretty darned pleased with himself as he rocked up in Munich city centre last Saturday morning in plenty of time to catch his bus back to Garmish-Partenkirchen for the national team’s daily press conference.  Three hours sleep and a half hour rail journey to make the connection? Not a problem. Bring it on.

(Image: PA) Then he realised he had left his work mobile phone on the train. Disaster for Scotland! And this idiot has the temerity to slaughter players, managers and officials for their bungling incompetence?

Incredibly, several hours and numerous attempts later, somebody finally answered when I called my number. Even more incredibly given the individual spoke no English or German, I was able to determine both where he worked and what time he would be there until.

So a race against the clock to reclaim my ringer began. I got my phone – which a kind-hearted doorman at, as God is my witness, a battle rap venue had picked up on his way to start his shift – back with minutes to spare. Glory be! Praise the Lord! Allahu Akbar! 

The UEFA press credentials which hung on a lanyard around my neck piqued the interest of my fellow passengers on my carriage as I made my way, relieved but bedraggled, back to Austrian border alone.

They were concerned to discover I came from the country which had been obliterated by the host nation the evening before and offered kind words of consolation, encouragement and support. 

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It transpired they were, like millions of people before them, making a pilgrimage to Oberammergau.

The residents of the Bavarian town vowed to perform a regular Passion Play – a dramatic depiction of Christ’s trial, suffering and death – in 1633 after 84 people there died of the bubonic plague. Nobody passed away from pestilence again and religious types have been flocking to the site of the miracle ever since.

(Image: PA) My new-found buddies pledged to do their bit for Andy Robertson and Co as they got off at their stop. We will all pray for Scotland in Oberammergau! We will light candles for Scotland! Jesus will save Scotland! Believe in your saviour, Scotland! It clearly worked a treat. Thanks guys.

All joking aside, such warmth, camaraderie and solidarity have not been in short supply during the past eight days.     

Euro 2024 has not, it is fair to say, been without its glitches. The famed German efficiency has been distinctly lacking at times. Fans have been left frustrated and on occasion furious by the dysfunctional train service and questionable match day organisation. 

But most if not all of those who have travelled here have, once they have reached their intended destination or got inside a ground, found it to be a joyous, uplifting, almost cathartic experience. 

There are some who sneer a little about international football these days and maintain the club game is vastly superior to it in every respect. I take the entirely opposite view. 

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It can be a little wearying, depressing even, writing about all of the infantile squabbles, petty politicking, nonsensical grudges, financial chicanery, corporate malfeasance, administrative ineptitude, crowd violence and vile tribal hatred which contaminate club football at times. 

There have certainly been outbreaks of fighting here and there in Germany. But in the main the tournament has been devoid of animosity and trouble. Fans of different nationalities, religions, backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures have mixed freely in the streets and the stands, in pubs and in restaurants. They have sung songs, drunk beer, made friends and generally had a rare old time. The Tartan Army have been the undoubted stars of the show.

Euro 2024 is a timely and welcome reminder that football has the power to bring disparate groups together and be a major force for good in what is an increasingly divided and fractious world. Amen to that.

All we need now is Scotland to batter those horrible Hungarians in Stuttgart tomorrow.