Why Scotland fans are backing Australia at FIFA World Cup 2022 finals as ‘Jockeroos’ push for knockout stage

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Scotland might not be at the World Cup finals in Qatar but there’s an obvious choice for the Tartan Army to lend their allegiances to.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, Scots and Australians are surely natural enemies? Just like Englishmen and Scots, or Welshmen and Scots, or Japanese and Scots, or Scots and other Scots... but, did you know that over eight percent of the population of Australia, per a 2021 census, have Scottish ancestry? That’s over 2,000,000 expats and their descendants who call the world’s sixth largest country their home.

It makes sense after all with Captain James Cook, the first European to make recorded contact with the eastern coastline of Australia, being the son of a Roxburgh farmer. The connection between the Scots and the Aussies is an old one and a lasting one that is brilliantly reflected in the current Socceroos squad competing in Qatar.

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Jason Cumming (right) won two caps for Scotland in international friendlies before switching allegiances to Australia Jason Cumming (right) won two caps for Scotland in international friendlies before switching allegiances to Australia
Jason Cumming (right) won two caps for Scotland in international friendlies before switching allegiances to Australia

Ten of the 26 players initially named in Graham Arnold’s squad currently or have previously played for clubs in Scotland while three are Scottish by birth. Hibs star Martin Boyle, who had to withdraw from the tournament through injury and has now been ruled out for the rest of the season, is one of the most exciting attackers in the SPFL while Stoke City defender Harry Souttar is the brother of current Scotland international John. Not only that, but one man was even capped by Scotland but only in friendly internationals which has allowed him to switch his allegiances.

Jason Cummings, known affectionately as ‘Cumdog’ in his homeland, may be best remembered by English football supporters for a 2020 FA Cup tie between Shrewsbury Town and Liverpool where the striker came off the bench to net twice in an incredible 2-2 draw for the EFL club. Back home, Cummings was a Scottish Cup and Scottish Championship winner with Hibs and also turned out for Rangers and Dundee.

It’s not just about the players though and Australia have the one thing that Scottish supporters will always be drawn to and something that England, no matter how much their fans and pundits play down their expectations despite us knowing fine well you’re singing ‘It’s Coming Home’ all the time in your head, will never have. The Aussies, just like Scots always are in sport and in life, are the underdogs and started the tournament as 500/1 outsiders to lift the trophy.

There’s an affinity there that perennial contenders like Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions will never have with their neighbours. “But what about Wales?”, I hear you ask. Well, to paraphrase Scottish treasure and Succession star Brian Cox in his portrayal of the brilliant Neil Forsyth character Bob Servant - “Aye, good luck tae them, but they’re no oor gang.”

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Our gang are your Hemsworths, Jackmans and Minouges. Our gang are Men at Work, John Farnham and Gotye. Our gang have won The Ashes 140 times to England’s 108 and are already better loved in Eurovision despite their land being located on the opposite side of the planet. Our gang are Cumdog and the ‘Jockeroos’, to use a phrase coined in the media for this tournament, and that’s something you could never understand. So to you I say, ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR!

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