The pictures show Gemma and baby Josh Fraser; Stevie Woods and his son, John, with the Scottish Cup, Stevie Woods at a coaching session with Jose Mourinho; John McGinn with his grandfather, Jack, and the Scottish Cup, and Stevie Woods with his son, John, and the Scottish Cup.

By Bill Heaney

Dumbarton has been described as the Cradle of Scottish football. The town, plus Renton and Vale of Leven, has a long and illustrious career connected with the people’s game for a century and more.

It’s no surprise then that the town will have a presence and a special interest at Euro 2020/21, which is scheduled to kick off spectacularly tomorrow.

Scotland has a brand new mascot it didn’t have until a couple of months ago – and Josh Fraser is wearing the dark blue colours of his country.

His uncle is Stevie Woods, the Scotland goalkeeping coach, one of the most important members of head coach Steve Clarke’s backroom team.

Stevie Woods played football as a youngster for Dumbarton United before joining Old Kilpatrick Boys’ Club.

He also played Gaelic Football for St Patrick’s, Dumbarton, before stepping up to the senior soccer ranks with Hibernian, Motherwell, Preston North End and Clydebank.

Woods has created a reputation for himself as one of the finest goalie coaches in the country and former Celtic goalkeepers Gordon Marshall and Fraser Foster are just two big international names – one capped for Scotland, the other for England – who have come under his tutelage.

Wee Josh, recently born son of Stevie’s sister Gemma Woods and her husband Kyle Fraser, whose parents live in Balloch, is already giving indications that he may have football genes.

Gemma tells me he never drops his bottle and keeps a firm grip on it until she replenishes it with milk.

Another Dumbarton connection is John McGinn, the Scotland star who has caught the public imagination to the extent that the supporters have even written a song about him.

McGinn is the grandson of Jack McGinn, the former Celtic director who was chairman of the famous club in their centenary year in 1988.

McGinn, one of three footballing brothers, all of whom are professionals, currently plays for Aston Villa and is a former Scottish Cup winner with Hibernian.

His grandmother, Mary Quinn McGinn, was well known in the West End community where she lived in Hill Street, Brucehill, and worked in Hart’s newspaper shop on the brae.

Stevie Woods’ wife, Paula, is the daughter of West End couple, the late Chick and Patricia [Holleran]  Kerr.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament is getting behind the team.

Tory leader Douglas Ross, who is an SFA referee,  said: “I am sure that I speak on behalf of the whole Parliament in wishing Steve Clarke and his entire squad all the very best for the Euros.

“It has been a long 23-year wait for the men’s international team to qualify for a major finals and I know that, in their first match against the Czech Republic on Monday, against the auld enemy on Friday and in their final group stage match against Croatia on 22 June, they will have the support, hopes and backing of the entire country.”

FM NIcola Sturgeon and Tory Douglas Ross – standing up for Scottish soccer.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stepped in to block the possibility of of any attack on the SNP.

She said: “I also take the opportunity today to wish Steve Clarke and all of the Scotland men’s football team all the best as they prepare to embark on the European championship campaign.

“On Monday afternoon, 23 long years of frustration, pain and standing on the sidelines will come to an end.

“The team has done us proud already but—to echo Douglas Ross and, I am sure, everybody across the chamber—we will all be absolutely behind them as they kick the first ball and all the way through the tournament.

“We all hope that that will be for a considerable way into the tournament or—who knows?—perhaps the whole way. We wish Steve and all of the team good luck.”

Labour leader Anas Sarwar, pictured,  said: “I join others in wishing the Scotland men’s team all the very best for the European championships.

“This is their opportunity to catch up with the great leadership that has been shown by the women’s team in recent years.

“I wish good luck to Steve Clarke and to captain Andy Robertson. I also thank them, because they will—I hope—give us a summer of hope, optimism and cheer after what has been a really difficult year for us all.”


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