At-a-glance: What Covid restrictions are easing from May 17?

First Minister confirms that most of mainland Scotland will move into level two of coronavirus restrictions from next Monday.

Pubs can serve alcohol indoors until 10.30pm from Monday. SNS Group via SNS Group
Pubs can serve alcohol indoors until 10.30pm from Monday.

Most of mainland Scotland will move to level two of the Scottish Government’s five-tier Covid-alert system as scheduled from next Monday.

A decision will be made later this week on whether Moray should remain in level three. Covid rates – at 94 cases per 100,000 people – are around four times higher in that area than across Scotland as a whole.

Many of Scotland’s islands will move to level one due to vaccination coverage and low case numbers.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday that Scots will be able to hug their loved ones again as social distancing restrictions during meetings indoors or in private gardens are dropped.

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Eight adults from up to eight households will be able to meet up outdoors from next Monday.

The FM also confirmed Scotland will join with the rest of the UK in implementing a ‘traffic light system’ for international travel from next week.

The Scottish Government’s updated framework on the planned easing of restrictions is available here and the key changes can be viewed at a glance below.

All of the indicative dates are subject to change in accordance with the prevalence of the virus and the progress of the vaccination programme.

From May 17:

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Levels: Most of mainland Scotland will move to level two of coronavirus restrictions. A decision will be made on Moray later this week. The Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland will move to level one, as will all islands in the Highland Council area, except Skye. Most islands in the Argyll and Bute council area will also move to level one.

Socialising: Six people from three households can socialise indoors in a public place, such as a pub, cafe or restaurant. Six people from three households can also socialise inside a house and stay overnight. Eight adults from up to eight households are able to meet up outside.

Hospitality: Venues can open and sell alcohol indoors until 10.30pm or outdoors until 10pm.

Sport: Outdoor adult contact sport and indoor group exercise can restart.

Recreation: Cinemas, theatres, amusement arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, snooker/pool halls, and bingo halls can open.

Further education: Universities and colleges can return to a more blended model of learning. Non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors.

Worship: Communal worship can open, subject to capacity constraints.

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Weddings and funerals: Up to 50 people can attend weddings and funerals

Stadia and events: Outdoor seated and open space events are advised to operate with a maximum capacity of 500 people. Outdoor grouped standing events are advised to operate with a maximum capacity of 250 people. Small seated indoor events are advised to operate with a maximum of 100 people.

Not permitted to reopen: Soft play, funfairs, nightclubs and adult entertainment must remain closed.

From early June:

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Levels:  Scottish Government plans to move Scotland into level one in early June.

Socialising: Under level one restrictions, up to eight people from three households can socialise indoors in a public place, such as a cafe or restaurant. Six people from three households can socialise inside a house. Twelve adults from up to twelve households are able to meet up outside.

Hospitality: Hospitality can remain open until 11pm.

Events: Attendance at events can increase, subject to capacity constraints.

Weddings, funerals and places of worship: Up to 100 people can attend weddings and funerals.

From late June:

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Levels: The Scottish Government plans to move Scotland into level zero by the end of June.

Socialising: Under level zero, restrictions up to ten people from four households can socialise indoors in a public place, such as a cafe or restaurant. Eight people from four households can socialise inside a house. Fifteen adults from up to fifteen households are able to meet up outside.

Offices: A phased return of some office staff.

Tartan Army fans celebrate Scotland’s 0-0 draw with England

Supporters were out in force celebrating the result which keeps Scotland's Euro 2020 hopes alive.

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Tartan Army fans gathered in London to celebrate Scotland’s 0-0 draw with England.

Scotland put in a superb performance to earn a draw with England at Wembley on Friday night in their second game of Euro 2020.

A win over Croatia at Hampden on Tuesday should be enough to reach their first ever major tournament knockout stage.

Supporters were out in force in London celebrating the result which keeps Scotland’s Euro 2020 hopes alive.

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Clean-up under way at Leicester Square.
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A large-scale clean-up is under way on Saturday morning at Leicester Square after fans congregated in the area the night before to celebrate the much-anticipated match.

Red flares were set off as crowds gathered together following the result.

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Euro hopes: Scotland fans celebrate draw with England.

Many fans were wearing kilts and draped in Scotland flags, singing and cheering in the popular tourist spot.

Others kicked footballs and many belted out the Scottish national anthem and chanted “No Scotland, no party”.

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The Metropolitan Police said officers entered Leicester Square at about 12.45am and encouraged those still at the scene to leave the area, with the square finally cleared by 1.15am.

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No Scotland, no party: Crowds gather in Leicester Square.

A total of 30 people were arrested in central London as part of the policing operation for the Euros clash.

The force added 25 of the arrests were in central London while five people were arrested in the vicinity of Wembley.

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Fans were seen climbing into the fountain of William Shakespeare.

Scotland Yard said in a tweet: “13 arrests were for public order offences, six for drunk and disorderly, four for assault on police, three for assault, two related to Class A drugs and one each for breaching a dispersal order and breaching a banning order.”

Meanwhile in Scotland, fans displayed their home support by gathering in Glasgow’s George Square to celebrate the result.

Supporters also gathered at an official Euros fan zone in Glasgow to watch the Auld Enemy clash.

It was the biggest event in the city since the pandemic began despite concerns it could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases.

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Home support: Scots watch the game at Glasgow’s fan zone.
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Up to 6000 people each day – split into two 3000 sessions – have been able to watch Euros matches at Glasgow Green if they have a ticket.

Following the game, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Yes, sir, you all boogied.”

This week, thousands of Scotland fans travelled to London despite warnings they should not go unless they have a match ticket, or a safe place to watch the game.

Wembley only had 25% capacity for the game, and Scotland supporters were not able to access the traditional Trafalgar Square meeting place as it had been reserved as a fan zone for key workers.

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We’ll be coming: Scotland fans in London.

The First Minister urged members of the Tartan Army to “please, please, please try to behave in a way that is a safe as possible”.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s Covid briefing on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon said: “The virus doesn’t care about football, it is not going to give you a free pass because you are there celebrating a football match.”


‘England draw was a big moment for Steve Clarke’

STV pundit David Moyes says the Scotland manager deserves plenty of praise for Wembley performance.

West Ham United manager David Moyes gave his views on STV.

STV pundit and West Ham United manager David Moyes gives his assessment of Scotland’s draw with England at Wembley.

Well done to Steve Clarke and the Scotland players – they did a great job.

Considering the team we were up against and all the hype about England winning the tournament, it was a good performance.

As a manager, that is a big moment for Steve Clarke, who would have been feeling a lot of pressure after not winning the first game then having to come to one of the favourites.

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So I have got to say ‘well done, Steve’.

We were all saying beforehand that we would take a draw all day long as we knew that would give us a shot of getting through.

It was huge and now we have to be ready for the next game, when a win against Croatia should see us qualify.

The players can enjoy it, then we are back into the battle again and getting ready for Tuesday.

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David Moyes was speaking to STV presenter Raman Bhardwaj

Scotland v Croatia is live on STV and the STV Player from 7pm on Tuesday.


In pictures: Scotland’s hard-fought draw at Wembley

Some of the best images from Scotland's 0-0 draw with England at Wembley.

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Lyndon Dykes has a shot cleared off the line.

Scotland picked up a crucial Euro 2020 point by drawing 0-0 with England at Wembley on Friday night.

Here’s some images which sum up the Scotland performance.

Stephen O’Donnell nearly opens the scoring

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Billy Gilmour runs the show

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Scots show great team spirit

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Scotland survive late stramash

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Steve Clarke salutes the Scotland fans

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Tense times for the Tartan Army at the fan zone

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Che Adams goes close

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Smiles at full-time


Funding of £215m pledged to close schools’ attainment gap

It will see head teachers across the country share £147m in Pupil Equity Funding in 2021-22.

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In addition, the nine councils with the highest concentrations of deprivation in Scotland – known as Challenge Authorities – will share a further £43m.

Schools will receive a record £215m funding for efforts to close the poverty attainment gap this year, with the new education secretary saying such work is “more vital than ever” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shirley-Anne Somerville said the cash, the largest sum ever handed out in a single year to tackle the issue, will fund “targeted help” for the most disadvantaged students.

It will see head teachers across the country share £147m in Pupil Equity Funding in 2021-22, with the money going directly to schools for them to determine how best to use it.

In addition, the nine councils with the highest concentrations of deprivation in Scotland – known as Challenge Authorities – will share a further £43m.

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Work to help improve the attainment of youngsters who have been in care, including through schemes such as mentoring programmes, will receive up to £12m.

A further £7m will be shared between 73 additional schools with the highest concentration of pupils from deprived areas, with the same amount going to national programmes, including those run by the third-sector, which work to raise attainment.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously pledged that tackling the attainment gap is a top priority, but her SNP Government has come under fire from opponents on its record in this area.

Somerville, who was appointed education secretary after May’s Holyrood election, stressed “closing the poverty-related attainment gap and ensuring every young person has the chance to fulfil their potential remains central to this Government’s work”.

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She added: “Our ambition is a long-term one and we know that the challenges presented by the pandemic mean our efforts to deliver equity in education are more vital than ever.

“This first instalment of the expanded Attainment Scotland Fund, with record funding of more than £215 million, will allow headteachers, schools, councils and other partners to provide targeted help for some of our most disadvantaged pupils.

“We are providing investment across a number of diverse programmes which will benefit looked-after children, support pupils in our most deprived areas and empower headteachers to invest their funding on initiatives that are right for the children in their schools.”


Person struck by train between Falkirk and Linlithgow

Emergency services were called to the scene between Falkirk Grahamston and Linlithgow at around 9.45pm on Friday night.

Jane Barlow/PA via PA Wire
Emergency: Person hit by train.

A person has been struck by a train between two railway stations.

Emergency services were called to the scene between Falkirk Grahamston and Linlithgow at around 9.45pm on Friday night.

Train services travelling on the route were suspended until shortly after midnight.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, we’ve had reports of a person being struck by a train between Falkirk Grahamston and Linlithgow.

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“We’re working closely with emergency services and will keep you updated.”

They later added: “Lines have now reopened. Disruption is expected until 12.30am.”

British Transport Police have been contacted for comment.


Scotland prove a point with pulsating performance at Wembley

The national team produced a confident display against England to keep their Euro 2020 hopes alive.

Craig Williamson via SNS Group
Scotland matched England in every department in a well-contested game.

Scotland took a point from England but left their mark on Wembley after a statement performance from Steve Clarke’s side saw the national team keep their hopes of Euro 2020 progress alive.

A draw was a fair result after both sides had chances but failed to take them, but Scotland leave London with more credit after matching a team with a higher reputation and loftier aspirations.

Clarke and his players can now relish Tuesday’s encounter with Croatia at Hampden, hoping to replicate a performance of energy, discipline and purpose, but with added goals if they are to progress to the knockout stages.

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Steve Clarke salutes the Tartan Army at full-time.

After the deflating disappointment of their opening day defeat to Czech Republic, Scotland needed a lift and a pulsating 90 minutes under Wembley’s arch proved that the team aren’t out of place at Europe’s top table this summer.

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Clarke and his players had arrived in London full of hope despite the opening day defeat to the Czech Republic that saw the excitement of being back at a major tournament turn to dismay. The head coach had been adamant that the performance of the team had been encouraging, though he knew that his side couldn’t pass up as many chances again.

Both he and Scott McTominay said during their pre-match duties that Scotland would need to take at least a point but for both, not to mention the thousands of fans who had invaded the capital, the appetite was for a victory in this historic fixture.

The supporters, and the squad, were boosted with news that Kieran Tierney had been passed fit to play after the calf injury that kept him out of the loss to the Czechs. Tierney is one of a handful of elite-level players in the squad and the national team would need every one against an England side that has quality in depth.

Craig Williamson via SNS Group
John Stones hit the post with this first-half header.

As expected, the Arsenal defender took his place in the starting line-up in front of a quarter-full Wembley, where the 3200 Scotland fans were making their noisy presence known.

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Clarke had a surprise in his selection with four changes, including one bold choice. Billy Gilmour, the 20-year-old who has made a breakthrough into the first-team picture at Champions League winners Chelsea, was handed a starting spot. The midfielder was alongside Callum McGregor and John McGinn in the centre of the park, with Scott McTominay part of the back three. Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams were partnered up front in a team that, on paper, had solidity but also a chance to ask questions of England.

Gareth Southgate had seen his England selection questioned before their opening game but a 1-0 win over Croatia had ensured a positive start for the hosts.

It was Scotland who made a positive start on Friday, with Che Adams taking a touch to control a Stephen O’Donnell cross before firing in a shot that John Stones had to block but the England defender went closer minutes later.

An England corner was curled in and Stone rose unmarked to powerfully head towards goal but saw the ball come off the post. Soon afterwards Phil Foden had a chance and after John McGinn was booked and England’s support smelled blood, things began to look a little fraught.

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Stephen O’Donnell’s shot forced a great save from Jordan Pickford.

It just took a spell of possession to restore Scotland’s calm. After holding on to the ball for a little longer than the Wembley crowd expected, murmurs turned to boos from the home fans as the direction of play turned. Gilmour, McGregor and McGinn started to gain the upper hand in midfield, Tierney shot over the bar and Adams and Lyndon Dykes turned over play with constant hustle. There was an intensity in the stadium with what some had predicted as a one-sided game turning out to be a well-matched battle.

Not that Scotland could get comfortable. After a quiet start, Harry Kane reminded the defence of his danger when he headed wide of David Marshall’s goal. The flag was up but the striker’s ability to slip away and find space needed to be noted.

Scotland soon served notice of their own danger with a golden chance of their own. Tierney and Robertson combined on the left and the Arsenal defender arced a ball to the back post. O’Donnell met it as it dropped and his volley was saved by Jordan Pickford and Adams headed the rebound wide. The Tartan Army made their approval known.

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England continued to probe and hold possession at length but looked short on ideas and unable to create and with Scotland settling in, the crowd grew restless and a little nervy. As half-time drew near, the sporadic outbreaks of Three Lions has faded away and been replaced by frustrated whistling. England knew they were in a game.

If Clarke had the easier half-time team talk, Southgate had the most effective. England came out roaring, forcing an early corner and then keeping Marshall on his toes when Mason Mount put a shot on target after Kane, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden had combined in the build-up. The Wembley crowd were won over again and were behind their team.

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Scotland players celebrate their point at full-time.

A Robertson break down the wing showed it wasn’t one-way traffic but England were alive again and Foden was electric, bringing fans to their feet with one mazy run and causing concern in the Scotland ranks with his pace and movement.

After riding out a tough spell, the visitors forced a corner just after the hour mark and it brought respite as much as opportunity.

Scotland had another major chance when a corner found its way to Dykes. The forward smashed in a powerful shot but saw Reece James head it away.

England made a change, surprisingly withdrawing Foden to introduce Jack Grealish but the substitution of one elite talent for another made no real impact on Scotland, who continued to defend resolutely but also build play and look for openings in a controlled and confident manner.

Clarke’s side still had to soak up pressure in spells and be wary of England’s big names but there was a demonstration of their effective defending, but also England’s slightly lacklustre showing in attack, when Kane was subbed off for Marcus Rashford.

Scotland made a change of their own when Stuart Armstrong came on to replace Gilmour, who was feted for a performance as good as any on the pitch.

Sterling had claims for a penalty waved away and England seemed desperate as the game entered the final ten minutes. Scotland stroked the ball about to provoke boos from the home support and Kevin Nisbet replaced Adams in a move that signalled that there was still more than a single point to be aimed for.

A chorus of Flower of Scotland started in the 88th minute and its rise in volume over the grumbling of the England fans told the story of who was happier as the final whistle neared.

After a disciplined and clever showing, there was still time for brief panic though. A traditional stramash in the Scotland box had hearts in mouths before McGinn thumped the ball upfield and seconds later the contest was brought to an end.

England trudged off to face questions about their disappointing showing but Scotland took plaudits to go with their point.


Scotland ‘proved how good they are’ in Wembley draw

Steve Clarke was full of praise for his players after drawing 0-0 with England at Wembley.

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Steve Clarke believes Scotland “proved how good they are” in their 0-0 draw with England at Wembley.

Scotland produced a superb performance and created a number of good chances to win, but the draw is enough to keep their Euro 2020 hopes alive.

A win over Croatia at Hampden on Tuesday should be enough to reach their first ever major tournament knockout stage.

Scotland manager Clarke had particular praise for debutant Billy Gilmour and right wing-back Stephen O’Donnell, who he felt had been unfairly criticised after Monday’s game with Czech Republic.

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O’Donnell came close to opening the scoring, while Gilmour was named man of the match.

Clarke told STV: “I am delighted for the players and staff, it was a great performance.

“We knew we would have to suffer a bit at times out of possession, but I was delighted with the way we played with the ball as well.

“We created chances, I have always said that we are a good team.

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“I thought the reaction after the game on Monday was a little bit over the top, but it’s nice to close a few voices down.

“I think we showed the real Scotland on Monday, and we were harshly criticised for it.”

Clarke made four changes from the opening game defeat, bringing in Gilmour, Che Adams and Callum McGregor, while Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney returned from injury.

He believes his squad answered those who criticised their performance in the 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic.

He said: “I have said for a long time that we have a good group of players and they proved that again tonight. We hope it will get us into the next stage of the competition.

“I was hoping Stephen O’Donnell would score as he was very unfairly criticised the other night and his performance tonight was outstanding.

“If he scored that goal, it would have been justice for the boy, he’s a good player.

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“It was never in doubt with Billy, he is a really top player, we know what he has got. Unfortunately his legs ran out towards the end, but he doesn’t get much football for Chelsea. He has trained really well with the group and we were delighted to get him on the pitch.

“It’s going to be a big game on Tuesday, I hope the fans enjoy the night and behave themselves and get back home safely.”

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All adults ‘expected to receive first Covid vaccine by July 18’

The time between doses of the coronavirus vaccine has been reduced from 12 weeks to eight.

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All adults in Scotland are on track to receive their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by July 18, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The coronavirus vaccine rollout is being sped up after the lifting of restrictions in Scotland was delayed.

Those who have received their first dose of a Covid-19 jag will wait a month less for the second with the timescale reduced from 12 weeks between doses to eight weeks.

The First Minister said: “Vaccines are the way back to normality. I think we are increasingly confident of that.

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“Quite literally every single one of us who gets these jabs is representing a step back towards normal life.”

On Thursday, Scotland recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases in a day since late January.

Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement at a briefing on Friday afternoon, where she said plans for how the country will move beyond the least restrictive stage of the government’s five-tier system – level zero – will be published next week.

She said that all 18 to 19-year-olds should have received their vaccine appointment invitations by next week.

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She said: “If you are aged 18 to 29 and you haven’t had an appointment sent to you by next weekend, please go to the appointment checker page on the NHS Inform website so that you can make sure you can get an appointment arranged.”

The First Minister announced a temporary travel ban between Scotland and a number of virus hotspots in England.

Non-essential travel is no longer allowed to and from Manchester and Salford and existing bans for Bolton and Blackburn remain in place.

Sturgeon said: “Anyone travelling elsewhere in the Greater Manchester or Lancashire area, I’d ask to think carefully about whether your journey is really necessary, because we do see cases rising across that region.”

However, travel to and from Bedford will be allowed from the weekend as will travel to the Republic of Ireland – although visitors to Ireland are still expected to quarantine.

Sturgeon also said the government intends to extend the increased notice period for evictions.

Legislation to extend the protection, along with other emergency measures such as changes to how courts operate, by six months will be presented to parliament next week.

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Sturgeon said: “Although we are on that journey back to normality and some measures are no longer needed, we are not quite there yet, so we need to keep some of these in place for a bit longer.”

The Scottish Parliament extended the emergency law until September 30, 2021, but there is no eviction ban in areas that are in level two or lower.

But from January 22, 2021, if you live in an area under either coronavirus protection level three or four, Sheriff Officers cannot currently evict you.

Plumber finishes run from Hampden to Wembley in time for match

Alex Woodward decided to take on the charity challenge after a cancer scare last year.

Alex Woodward via Instagram
The 26-year-old from Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, completed the 390 mile journey at 2pm on Friday.

A plumber has completed an epic run from Hampden to Wembley in time to see the long-awaited Scotland v England Euros clash.

Alex Woodward, ran the 15 marathons in 15 days to raise funds to build a football centre in Glasgow’s east end.

The 26-year-old from Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, completed the 390-mile journey at around 2pm on Friday.

“It’s just the best feeling ever. Seeing my family and friends, everybody just there it’s easily one of the greatest feelings of my life,” Alex told STV News.

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Alex Woodward set off from Hampden and ran to Wembley in 15 days.
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“Because I took it one day at a time, I was so in the zone, I wasn’t thinking about anything else. It almost feels like [I was] running, running, running… then I’ve lifted my head and here I am at Wembley.

“It was only possible because I took it one day at a time, so I almost surprised myself when I turned up here, I was like ‘wow, that’s it done’.”

Family and friends had travelled down to welcome him at Wembley where he also bumped into Scotland midfielder Scott Brown.

Alex has already raised more than £38,000 through the gruelling challenge and, having reached the finish line, is looking forward to Friday night’s match.

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A shock tumour diagnosis and cancer scare last year inspired Alex to take on the challenge. In August, medics discovered a growth on a nerve on his lower back. 

Although he found out he was cancer-free, he could face surgery to remove the tumour which may lose him the use of his right leg.

But, Alex said, despite it being the most difficult time he has ever been through it has granted him a “new lease of life”.

He wanted to celebrate his ability to function healthily and use his battle to help others by raising £50,000 for a community football centre in Glasgow.

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Finnart AFC was established in Bridgeton in 1979 to create a community club and safe environment for youngsters to play football.

The new facility will be a home for the club and be a centre for sport, health, education and wellbeing for children in need.

To find out more and donate to Alex’s fundraiser visit here.

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