It was 7.15am in the morning and I was sharing a flight with perhaps the drunkest man in the history of aviation. 

This Scotland supporter was seemingly travelling alone, though that was hard to decipher at first as he slurred his stream of consciousness toward every red-eye around him. He sported a Nessie hat and a thousand-yard gaze that could only have been achieved by deciding the best way to wake up for an early flight after getting on the lash was simply not to go to bed. As the flight to Cologne from Edinburgh went on he got increasingly more legless. It didn't take a master sleuth to decipher the cans of Fanta being thirstily guzzled down contained more than just fizzy juice.

Other passengers tried to keep this stumbling Euro 2024 holidaymaker in check as he banged on the fuselage shortly before landing, but he would soon hold up the bus to the terminal having been the last person off the flight, fall into the double doors after the bus arrived, and then skip half of the passport-control queue only to make a wrong turn and wind up at the back of the line again.

While I was very much looking forward to traversing Germany as I followed Steve Clarke and the boys around each of the host cities in the group stages, despite having tickets for just one of them, it was this type of Scotland supporter that stirred a mild anxiety around how this trip was going to go.

The Tartan Army have always held a sterling reputation for their ability to sing, laugh, joke and drink to excess without becoming the enemy of local patio furniture, unlike our English counterparts. But this was a different kettle of fish. There were going to be far more Scotland supporters travelling abroad to see their side – estimated between 150,000 to 200,000 – than ever before. Would some of these more fair-weathered fans (and I absolutely include myself in such a description) let the side down with behaviour that wasn't typical of everybody's favourite kilted-invaders. Turns out, I need not have worried.

Last week, Scotland supporters were voted the best at the tournament by a German TV station. It's easy to understand why. We are absolutely everywhere. Even in Dusseldorf, where I've largely been based and Scotland are not playing any matches, there appear to be more Scots here than any other travelling team. Yes, Cologne is just along the road, but Scots were dominating the streets of the old town over a week before their team played nearby. I've heard similar reports from those who've been in Essen and Nuremberg.

There's a real pride to be felt from being Scottish in Germany over these past couple of weeks which has nothing to do with the team on the park. There are 24 countries at this tournament, many of them have larger populations than us, yet we've been the one to take over.

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There are some reasons for this, of course. A football-obsessed nation was starved of this experience for so long. Even when we did qualify for the last tournament it was played at home and in front of half-empty stadiums, the latter due to Covid. It's also an experience we may not get again in the near future. The next Euros will also see our matches played at home, or at least in the UK, while the next World Cup is split up over the United States, Mexico and Canada. In order to embrace that tournament with the same gusto as they have this one, Scottish football fans would have to spend a small fortune.

There's also cultural tendencies to consider. Speaking to a Swiss fan the other day, he noted that their supporters wouldn't travel to a Euros match away unless they had a ticket for the match. That's not an issue which has stopped many Scots, who were happy to take in games from the fan zones, bars and even many restaurants who pulled TVs out to the entrance for everyone to gather around tables outside.

Would it be the same if we hadn't gone so long without appearing at a tournament? Maybe the numbers would be reduced slightly, but it doesn't take much to convince Scots into partaking in a bit of revelry.

READ MORE: Is Clarke still the man to lead Scotland after Euros flop?

'No Scotland, No Party' has become the soundtrack of the group stages. I've even seen supporters of other countries chanting it at England fans whenever there's been a bit of friendly back-and-forth in one of the many packed-out bars. It's also the first thing quoted at you whenever you get into a discussion with a local about the Euros.

Football creates memories which last a lifetime, both on and off the park. Having travelled to Cologne and back the day before our game, it was an incredible revelation to come out of the main train station for the second time in as many days and just come upon a sea of blue and white. A similar feeling of awe flowed through me as I looked upon the thousands who shuffled their way into the main fanzone in Munich, a terrific experience and atmosphere even if the ridiculously lengthy queue for the bars (and the football, of course) did their best to take a little shine off the occasion.

If there's a lesson in all of this it's that Scotland football fans are not an enemy of the people, as we're often painted back in the everyday travails of the SPFL. Could we be better behaved at times? Undeniably. But ultimately for a people with so much passion for the beautiful game, and coming from a culture with a penchant for drinking cheap lager, we typically keep ourselves in check, raise a glass to a rival rather than throw a punch, and just want to sing until we can't stand any more. Then we get up and do it all over again.