Scotland's new football anthem Yes Sir, I can Boogie means the score is Eurodisco 1, Eurosceptics 0 – Aidan Smith

Suddenly the kids were wailing “Dad, can we have our tea?” and before I knew it this had turned to uncontrollable sobbing: “Dad, put us to bed, please!”

Eurodisco troupers Baccara may be much-mocked but their fans include historians, glove puppets, the Sex Pistols and now the Scotland football team (Picture: Ralf Juergens/Getty Images)
Eurodisco troupers Baccara may be much-mocked but their fans include historians, glove puppets, the Sex Pistols and now the Scotland football team (Picture: Ralf Juergens/Getty Images)

Where did all the time go? The thing is – and you know the sensation, I’m sure – I’d fallen down a YouTube rabbit-hole. Headfirst and at speed. One hundred and twenty beats per minute, to be precise. Thankfully there was a soft landing: chiffon and shimmery silk and a mountain of feather boas. I’d come round right back where I started: the Top of the Pops dressing-room of Baccara who were just about to go out and perform – one more time for the people – the hoary disco floor-filler Yes Sir, I Can Boogie.

How had I got there? A momentous Scottish victory at football, that’s how. I didn’t know there were so many versions of the song. But then I didn’t know our national team were going to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time in 22 years.

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Yes Sir, I Can Boogie duo congratulates Scotland team
The Scotland players celebrate their Euros playoff triumph, just before getting stuck into Yes Sir, I Can Boogie (Picture: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Bizarre and bonkers choice

Last Thursday after the dramatic penalty shootout against Serbia which clinched our place at next summer’s European Championships, the Scotland team celebrated with a raucous rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. The players formed a huddle and bounced up and down. It was a beautiful moment – we don’t get many in Scottish sport, so they’re to be cherished – but also one of some strangeness. What a bizarre and bonkers choice of tune.

Well, bizarre and bonkers if you’re a music snob, which I confess to have sometimes been. If there was such a thing as good disco – a moot point – this wasn’t it. 1977’s Yes Sir… was cheesily naff (and naffly cheesy). It was Spanish (and please sir, what exactly has been that country’s contribution to pop?). It was a grab-a-granny ditty sung by two women who looked like your mum (though that can be read as a compliment – my mum was beautiful).

The song was the musical equivalent of the airport-shop donkey complete with sombrero, a bullfighting poster crumpled on the flight home or 200 duty-free Embassy Regal in a special sleeve, “Adios, Espana”. Naturally, the lyrics rhymed boogie with “woogie”, although this kind of came out as “voogie”. Naffest of all was the breathy intro, suggestive of a knee-trembler round the back of a Torremolinos discotheque, not the desired image when you’d earlier been thinking about your mother.

Cummings and Cain

But Yes Sir... as performed by a bunch of sweaty, delirious footballers had a weird effect and it was easy to get carried away in the moment. Revelling in the celebrations after the final whistle in Zagreb, Pat Kane, the popster-turned-political activist, tweeted: “Scotland rejoins Europe. Stage 1.” Then, just a few hours later, Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain quit Downing Street.

If you were to have asked passionate Remainers like Kane how Stage 2 might best be effected, then the break-up of No 10’s Vote Leave lads’ cabal and the departures of the two hardest Brexiteers would have been right up there. At the very least now, in the wake of all the bullet-headed aggro from this pair, the predictions are for the mood-music from Westminster to turn more mellow.

Can Ryan Christie, scorer of Scotland’s goal on the night who gret most joyfully in his post-match interview, take any credit for this? Can penalty-stopper David Marshall? Can Mayte Mateos and Maria Mendiola, alias Baccara? Oh yes, I think so. One duo has eclipsed another. This score just in: Eurodisco 1, Eurosceptics 0.

I reckon that Cummings studied the algorithms, counted the sweat globules popping on Cain’s napper, and decided: “Nah.” Hairless like his accomplice, he feared them being engulfed by the Farrah Fawcett flicks of Mateos and Mendiola and the C U Jimmy wigs of the Tartan Army as both the Scotland support and the Spanish duo rode the wave of their surprise joint rejuvenation.

Cerebral historian a big fan

Before last Thursday, our footballers had wondered where their next elite tournament was coming from – just as Baccara, who actually went their separate ways a few years after hitting No 1 right across the continent, must have been anxiously checking their diaries for upcoming gigs. But any moment now I expect Mateos and Mendiola to reform and announce a full Scottish tour for 2021 culminating in a 14 June performance on the pitch at Hampden Park before Scotland’s return to big-time football against the Czech Republic.

Eurodisco may have been easy to mock and Baccara among it’s most mockable exponents but just don’t tell that to Simon Sebag Montefiore. A journalist turned up at the home of this author of “fiercely cerebral works of history” and was surprised to hear Yes Sir, I Can Boogie belting out of the speakers. It turned out the song had been a favourite accompaniment during the completion of the epic studies of Stalin and Catherine the Great. And when the history of 1977 is written about, no one recalling how ex-beauty queen Joyce McKinney was accused of manacling a Mormon to a bed for sex can avoid mentioning that the tune topping the UK charts that week was you-know-what.

My lost night on YouTube turned up covers by Sooty’s sidekick Sweep and Simon Cowell’s glove puppet Louis Walsh, the latter for a chocolate commercial. Too-cool acts like Goldfrapp and M.I.A. have paid homage to the song. Sophie Ellis-Bextor performed it on a TV show called Guilty Pleasures and Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious danced to it during their last-ever British gig, a benefit for striking firefighters.

But all of them pale next to the team wearing dark blue. It’s the new unofficial Scottish anthem, and who knows, maybe a song for a new Europe as well.

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