Extra reason to cheer on Scotland in the Euros: Pubs could stay open until 1am…IF we reach the semis!

Pubs across Scotland could see their opening times extended till 1am if the national side progresses in the Euros, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The ‘home guard’ of the Tartan Army could be free to celebrate into the ‘wee’ hours as councils up and down the country stand ready to grant bars, pubs and clubs extended licenses if the team make the semi finals.

Last night Stephen Montgomery, Director of the Scottish Hospitality Group expressed delight at the news.

He said: ‘I am sure the Tartan Army in Germany heard the home guard cheers as Scott McTominay scored against Switzerland, so lets get behind the team as they face Hungary in the belief of making the knockout stages.

‘If we see Scotland make the semi finals, I think it will be more than a two hour extension our pubs will need.

Crunch game: The Tartan Army will be cheering on Steve Clarke’s boys today against Hungary

‘In fact, I would go as far as saying that if they make the finals, the First Minister should make it a national holiday! We are fully behind Steve Clarke and his team, and wish them the best of luck.’

It comes after the Scottish Borders Council agreed to give permission for opening two hours beyond the normal terminal hour of 11pm if Steve Clarke’s team reach the last four of the competition in Germany.

Council solicitor Ron Kirk said: ‘All licensed authorities have been asked that in the event of Scotland reaching the semi-final – now don’t laugh, we can all hope – would its licensing board be likely to issue late licences to licensed premises.

‘The semi-finals are scheduled to take place mid-week at the beginning of July on a Tuesday and Wednesday evening with the kick-offs at 8pm. If the match is concluded in normal time that would be around 10 o’clock but if it goes to extra-time and then penalties it would be nearer 11pm.’

Now, The MoS has contacted all 32 local authorities across Scotland to ask if they will also grant extended licenses if Scotland gets to the next stage of the tournament, following their draw against Switzerland on Wednesday and their upcoming match against Hungary tonight.

Galvanised by the Tartan Army spirit, the majority of councils have now urged pubs and clubs to get in touch so they can potentially extend their licences.

Ann Davie, Chief Executive of East Dunbartonshire Council, said that although ‘the Licensing Board does not currently have plans for a general extension of terminal hours for the tournament,’ it ‘would consider any individual applications for an extension from a licensed premises based on its merits’.

Meanwhile an Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: ‘It has been agreed by the Aberdeen City Licensing Board that for the duration of the 2024 European Championships the showing of matches, together with commentary, will be permitted in external areas.

‘Additionally, if the match goes to extra time or a penalty shoot-out which results in the game continuing past the terminal hour of the external area (10pm), this may be extended until the conclusion of the match.’

Although in Scotland, it is up to individual council licensing boards to allow an extension to licenses, the Home Office has already announced that in England and Wales, pub and bar licensing hours will be extended to 1am, if England and/or Scotland reach the semi-finals or final of Euro 2024 this summer. When the House of Lords approved the move, one member jokingly claimed it would allow football fans to ‘get properly on the lash’.

Talisman: Hopes are riding high that Scott McTominay  can help us progess in the competition

Talisman: Hopes are riding high that Scott McTominay  can help us progess in the competition

Conservative peer Lord Sharpe of Epsom, told the Lords: ‘So much of the business at the Home Offices is difficult, so it gives me particular pleasure that my last outing basically enables people to get properly on the lash.

‘My Lords, please drink responsibly.’

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, welcomed the move in England and Wales, saying: ‘Euro 2024 is set to be a huge event for hospitality businesses this summer, as fans pack pubs and bars to cheer on the home nations. We support the Home Office proposals to extend licensing hours for the semi-finals and final, should we reach that stage of the tournament.

‘Major sporting events provide a huge revenue boost and extended hours are essential to allow venues and fans to take full advantage.’

Last night Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross also welcomed councils standing ready to extend licenses for Scottish pubs, and said: ‘Here’s hoping Steve Clarke’s men can build on the draw with Switzerland as reaching the semi finals would be a major boost for Scotland’s hospitality sector.

‘The Tartan Army out in Germany and here at home are backing them every step of the way and daring to dream.

‘That starts with tonight’s match against Hungary which will already be providing a shot in the arm to our pubs as fans gather to cheer on Scotland.’

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