Scotland v The Netherlands
Ground: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
For my first ever visit to an SPL ground I went to Aberdeen, but not to watch The Dons play. Instead, I went to the international friendly between Scotland and The Netherlands. Both teams had a very disappointing qualifying campaign for the World Cup in which they failed to reach the play-offs. Scotland were hoping to qualify for their first major tournament since 1998, but finished third in their group behind England and Slovakia. The Netherlands finished 2nd and 3rd in the last 2 World Cups, but failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and finished behind France and Sweden in their qualifying groups. Both sides started poor in qualifying, improved later on but it turned out to be too little, too late.
The game wasn’t played at Hampden Park, Scotland’s usual home ground, but at Pittodrie instead. Friendlies are sometimes played at different venues to give people in other parts of the country the chance to watch Scotland play as well. Pittodrie was built in 1899 and renovated in 1993. The ground has been the home of Aberdeen FC from when they were founded in 1903. The club plan to leave the ground now, claiming that the club can’t grow any further in this ground. As much as I like the ground, a traditional real football ground, it’s not difficult to understand that they need to move as the ground is clearly quite old. The current proposals for a new stadium seem uncertain though, many of their fans don’t mind that as the proposed new stadium is too far out according to them.
As a “Dutch Scot” I obviously couldn’t miss this game. The game was on a Thursday, I finished work early and drove around 90 minutes to get to Aberdeen, where I stayed overnight. The atmosphere in the pubs before and after the game was great. During the game it wasn’t as great, but the game was very poor. Neither team created many chances and the Dutch won 1-0 due to a goal scored by Memphis. This really was a good trip out slightly spoiled by 90 minutes of football.