IAN MAXWELL, the Scottish Football Association chief executive, has said that qualification for the EURO 2020 finals this summer can act as a catalyst for the next generation of young people in the country.

Scotland are due to face Israel in a play-off on March 26 and, should they win that match, either Norway or Serbia five days later for a place at the finals. Victory in those two games would end a 22-year wait for qualification to a major tournament and Maxwell stressed the importance to the country of achieving that feat.

“It's massive. If we want to drive participation and drive interest in the game, there is no better way to do that than bounce off the fact that everybody will be talking about it, from the minute that we qualify,” he said.

“We have been without at finals tournament for a long, long period of time. I've got an 18-year-old son who has never seen us [at a finals] . . . never even thought about going to a finals so to get that generation really engaged in football again – so that there are benefits from a participation perspective, financially it would benefit the association which lets us look at what we want to do with those finances and how we can best benefit Scottish football as a whole – it is hugely important across a number of areas.”


Maxwell was speaking at the launch of the UEFA EURO 2020 Glasgow Football Memories project where a special set of 60 European Legends cards was unveiled at Hampden as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the European Championships.

The Football Memories Scotland project is a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Football Museum supporting volunteers who spend time at group meetings with football fans living with dementia, memory loss, loneliness, depression and social isolation. The groups use old pictures, artefacts and other objects to trigger memories and encourage conversations.

Maxwell was asked to pick his favourite players from the pack of cards and had two Scots near the top of the pile with a couple of Dutchmen included for good measure.

“Having seen Danny McGrain and Denis Law, I would absolutely have to pick them. I remember Marco Van Basten against the Soviet Union in 1988 [when the Dutch won 2-0 in the final]. I would have been 13 or 14 then when you are really starting to fall in love with football. It was Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and all of those guys. You remember the big games, you remember the big goals. It would be great if the current national team were able to inspire this generation of young players by watching them at a national finals.”

The deck also includes other famous names such as Johan Cruyff, Lothar Matthaus and Sir Bobby Charlton and will be sent out to 250 Football Memories groups across Scotland over the coming weeks.