Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Euro 2020: Thousands of Scotland fans descend on central London
18 June 2021, 15:42 | Updated: 18 June 2021, 15:56
Thousands of Scotland fans have headed to the south ahead of the team's game against England on Friday night.
Around 20,000 ticketless Scotland fans are understood to have travelled south, gathering in central London before watching the game in pubs and bars across the capital later tonight.
Concerns have been raised about a lack of Covid-19 secure fan zones in London. Fans are likely to gather in large numbers in unofficial fan zones.
The Met urged fans to observe social distancing amid the pandemic and officers arrested a man for the attempted theft of a police officer's hat, assault with intent of avoiding arrest and assault of an emergency worker.
A 25-year-old man was taken into police custody for indecent exposure in Hyde Park and cautioned before being released.
Chief Inspector Joe Stokoe, spokesperson for the Met's policing operation during Euro 2020, said: "London also remains in a public health crisis. There are government guidelines in place and we ask people to follow these and remain socially distanced.
"We have contingency plans to deal with any number of potential incidents as they arise but my message is clear: if you don't have ticket to the matches, fan zone or officially booked into a pub, bar or club, please do not come to London – you could end up missing the game.
"Last night we took the precaution of issuing a section 35 dispersal order that is in place until 15:00hrs on Saturday, 19. We have a flexible policing plan in place to reduce the likelihood of crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour."
🏴 Scotland fans arriving at London Euston station this afternoon 🎶 pic.twitter.com/sIsMsYjS75— Andrew Maclean (@AndrewMaclean_) June 17, 2021
Leicester Square's fountain was last night filled with washing up liquid by travelling fans.
One Scotland fan posted on Twitter: "Going to head to Hyde Park and see. We think that's where most Scotland fans will be. A sort of unofficial fanzone."
Another said: “Just put a big screen up in Hyde Park next Friday and keep us aw happy, doesn’t take much.”
And a third wrote: "Hyde Park is seemingly little Scotland for the day."
Scottish fans last night gathered outside King's Cross and Euston train stations in London after arriving for Friday's Euro 2020 Group D match against England at Wembley.
Dozens of fans were filmed dancing and singing their adopted anthem Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, a 1977 hit by Baccara, outside the travel hub.
They were also heard singing: ""We've got McGinn, super John McGinn."I just don't think you'll understand. He's Steve Clarke's man, he's better than Zidane, we've got super John McGinn."
England and Scotland fans are predicted to buy 3.4 million pints during the Euro 2020 clash later today.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) estimates that 14.8 million pints will be sold across England and Scotland on match day, with over 3 million sales during the game itself.
But the trade association warned that due to Covid-19 restrictions, including social distancing, rule of six and no standing, that beer sales will be reduced by almost 850,000 pints.
This would result in a revenue loss of around £3.2 million for pubs across England and Scotland.
Chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association Emma McClarkin said: "Whether you're supporting England or Scotland, nothing beats watching the game at the pub.
"Given pubs have been closed or faced restrictions for more than a year in both England and Scotland, every little helps and is critical to their recovery and survival.
"Given the delay in England to the lockdown and with rumours suggesting a similar delay could be coming in Scotland, it is a real great shame that fans will not even be able to enjoy the tournament without restrictions in the latter stages.
"All restrictions on pubs in England and Scotland must be removed as soon as possible for our sector to survive and recover."