Eilidh Barbour is hoping her dream football season is going to extra-time.
Hard on the heels of St Johnstone’s memorable cup double, the highly regarded sports presenter made the four strong BBC line-up for the European Championships, joining Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan and Mark Chapman.
Dunkeld-born Eilidh – a lifelong Saints supporter – is counting down to Scotland’s eagerly anticipated group opener with the Czech Republic on Monday.
She was a guest on the latest sports webinar hosted by Perth-based Carbon Financial, following on from Tour golfer Richie Ramsay and adventurer Mark Beaumont, with tennis star Jamie Murray next up on June 23.
“I was expecting to be the in-camp reporter with Scotland, which I was absolutely delighted with,” said Eilidh, whose summer of sport also includes presenting the Scottish Open and The Open from Royal St George’s for the Beeb.
— Eilidh Barbour 💙🤍 (@EilidhBarbour) June 9, 2021
“But they added on the presentation role for the first game at Hampden. It’s not something I expected at all.
“I can’t wait to stand on that little studio platform inside Hampden and bring the moment to the nation.
“It feels really real now.
“We had a few sit-down interviews with the players recently in Spain and they are absolutely buzzing to get going.
“The game against the Czech Republic is a big one.
“It is one they can look at as being capable of winning.
“Three points is usually enough in this format to get to the knock-out stages and Scotland have never done that before.
“It would be incredible to finally get that box ticked off.
“England at Wembley is a game where anything can happen.
“Then you wonder what kind of team Croatia would play if they have already qualified.
“The Czechs and Croats were meant to be based in Scotland but now they are flying in for games. How will that affect things?
“But I think Scotland can target three points against the Czechs. Do that and you are well on your way to making a bit of history.”
Eilidh’s studio celebrations alongside pundits James McFadden and Darren Fletcher went viral, alongside the “Yes Sir I Can Boogie” dressing room scenes, Ryan Christie’s tearful interview and, of course, keeper David Marshall’s crucial spot-kick save against the Serbs which ended the 23-year wait to make a major men’s tournament.
Superb reaction in the Sky Sports studio last night after Scotland took the lead against Serbia and then when they sealed their place at Euro 2020! 🏴🔥pic.twitter.com/SbSj4kef9Z
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) November 13, 2020
“You always remember where you were when you watch big moments in sporting history,” she said.
“James and Darren have been up there among the best players to have worn a Scotland shirt.
“Being beside those two guys watching Scotland qualify for a major championship once again was special in itself.
“You see how high they were jumping. They were thrilled for this group of players. They know more than anybody what it feels like to miss out as a player.
“I’m not sure there was a better place to be that night than next to those two.”
Eilidh, who plans to slip in golf at Gleneagles and other Big County courses on rare down time over the summer, is still pinching herself after St Johnstone’s extraordinary campaign.
— Eilidh Barbour 💙🤍 (@EilidhBarbour) February 28, 2021
“I didn’t think I would ever experience a cup double in my life as a St Johnstone fan,” she admitted.
“Incredibly, somehow this season it happened.
“It’s just such a shame none of the supporters were able to be inside Hampden to enjoy one or both of those moments.
“It shouldn’t really happen to a team outwith the big two in Glasgow.
“But wee St Johnstone have gone and done it and upset the odds in so many ways.
“I wish I had put a couple of quid on it at the start of the season!”
She added: “It has been a blessing in disguise being a St Johnstone fan.
“There’s no rival within the city or any association with Rangers or Celtic – that definitely helps.
“During the 90 minutes of the match with no cameras on us I watch it like a fan and give a little fist pump if Saints or Scotland get a goal.
“But you have to detach yourself from it in a big way in the studio. It’s another day at work.
“But it’s no secret I am a Saints fan so I sometimes get a bit of stick from Kris Boyd or James McFadden!”