Scotland had their first chance to meet their hosts, AS St Etienne, at their joint training camp this afternoon.
Captain Jason White exchanged shirts with his footballing counterpart Loic Perrin after the club’s president officially welcomed Frank Hadden and the national squad to L’Etrat. The two sets of players and management then had a chance to sit down together and chat over lunch
Addressing the Scots, St Etienne’s president Roland Romeyon said: “I’m delighted to welcome you all. I would like to congratulate you for winning the match against Portugal last Sunday. I feel the fighting spirit of all your players on the field is exactly what we want from our footballers in the cauldron.” Le Chaudron is the nickname for the club’s Geoffroy-Guichard stadium where Scotland played their opening pool match.
He also thanked the Scottish contingent for the way they conduct themselves at the training camp, and continued: As I am French, I will always support France first, but Scotland is the second team I’ll be supporting throughout the World Cup.”
In reply, Hadden thanked the club for use of their facilities, saying the catering, pitch and accommodation creates the “perfect atmosphere” for match preparations. And ahead of tonight’s Euro 2008 qualifier between France and Scotland in Paris, he said jokingly: “The bad news for the French is that the Scottish management team beat our French liaison officers 7-3 in today’s early morning seven-aside football game, so let’s hope that will be an omen for tonight’s match at the Parc des Princes!”
After lunch, some of the Scotland coaches and players held a coaching clinic at a sports complex near the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium. Around 50 children from local schools, aged between seven and nine, took part in the session.
Given the youngsters have just taken up the sport, one of the areas they concentrated on was tackling to overcome their fear. One boy, who was around 4’5” tall, certainly seemed brave enough when he took on Ross Ford and sent him crashing theatrically to the ground.
The Scots will continue training in L’Etrat near St Etienne before returning home for their second Pool C match against Romania at Murrayfield on Tuesday 18 September at 8.00pm.