“In 2017 Jason Gold was diagnosed with cancer. In 2018 he lost his fight. Our lifelong dream was to watch Scotland at a Major Finals.
Those were the words Tweeted by Gordon Sheach, 32, who runs Tartan Scarf, the website and podcast about the Scottish national team.
As he quietly closed his laptop that Sunday night to join his wife, little did Gordon know that his post about his absent friend, who was from Ardrossan, and Gordon met alone in the Tartan Army crowd, would strike a nerve with thousands of Scots who also had lost a loved one.
He told the Herald: “When I posted this thread, I was thinking about stories about Jason and how we met.
“Jason was based down in London, didn’t have any Scottish pals in the city, so he came down to Trafalgar Square – on his own – for the Scotland v England friendly- with 5,000 other Scotland fans.
“I’d flown down from Edinburgh that morning with a friend of mine, and I met Jason in Trafalgar Square. I was on the plinth of Nelson’s Column and helped pull him up.
“Jason was a pilot, and he very quickly became my ‘cool friend’ that I would tell my other friends stories about that would make me cooler by association.
“I had it in my mind I wanted to post something about Jason, I posted it about half past nine on Sunday night and I just walked away from my laptop.
“To be honest, I had a bit of a cry and spoke to my wife. I’m still on my honeymoon, and by the time I went back to my laptop it had went crazy.”
After the initial Twitter post gained nearly 13.5k likes and was shared by 2,000 people overnight, Gordon posted again, this time at Hampden where he snapped a photo of him with Jason, taken in the stadium before the Czech match.
He said: “The fact that Scotland have been away from international competition for 23 years, everyone across Scotland will have lost somebody in that time. It is about taking a step back and reminding ourselves how lucky we are to still be here to see it, because there are so many of us, our friends, family and our neighbours, who would have loved to have seen it and they aren’t here. So a bit of perspective is always beneficial I think.
“The Tartan Army has that unique ability to bring people together. You go on an away trip, as we did many times, and you meet somebody on a town square somewhere and you are best friends for that two hours, you all have a beer together, and maybe you’ll never see them again.
“In Jason’s case, I was so lucky that we stayed friends, stayed in touch and we went on more trips together. That’s what the Tartan Army is about, inclusivity and acceptance, and I love it.”