Dundee man Mark makes 10,000-mile round-trip to watch Scotland in Kazakhstan

Mark McArthur (middle) and friends Colin Murray and Ali Armitt explored Istanbul on their stopover.
Mark McArthur (middle) and friends Colin Murray and Ali Armitt explored Istanbul on their stopover.

Dundee football fanatic Mark McArthur is getting ready to watch Scotland take on Kazakhstan as part of his 10,000-mile round-trip from the city to the Astana Arena.

The 51-year-old left for Central Asia from Edinburgh Airport with a group of friends on Sunday afternoon to watch Alex McLeish’s men face the Kazakhs in their opening Euro 2020 qualifying match on Thursday, and they have only just arrived in the capital Astana.

Their journey took in a 20-hour stopover in Turkey where they were able to see the sights in Istanbul and prepare for the final leg of their trip to the giant former Russian outpost.

The lads have had to brave freezing conditions of as low as -12C in the Kazakh capital today.

Speaking to the Tele, Mark, who works off-shore in the North Sea, said: “I’ve never been as far as this before, I think all in it was a 10-hour flight.

“We had 20 hours until our next flight but part of the deal with Turkish Airlines was we got a free tour of Istanbul and lunch, so we did that!

“We flew out last night from Istanbul and it was five hours to Kazakhstan. We got there at about 4am their time today.

“We’re here today, tomorrow, Thursday for the game, Friday and then back on Saturday.”

Mark is looking forward to taking in Thursday’s game at the 30,000-seater Astana Arena.

Although, he hasn’t picked up a ticket for the match yet, Dundee fan Mark is hopeful for a good result in freezing conditions for the Scots, who also take on San Marino at the weekend.

And he recalled some of the other memorable trips he’s had following the boys in dark blue down the years.

He added: “My mates have theirs but face-value tickets over here are £1, so I’m sure I’ll get something.

“My mate Colin’s brother flies in from Arizona every time.

“It’s a brand new stadium the Astana Arena so it’ll be good to see that. It’s a brand new city, they made it the capital in 1998.

“Kazakhstan, as one of the former Russian states, will be good to see. There’s some jet lag, though, so we’re all over the place.

“It’s the first time I’ve been to Kazakhstan but I’ve been to a few games before, away trips to Lithuania, Belgium and Ireland.

“I was at Euro 96, that was my first away trip when they drew 0-0 with Holland at Villa Park, that was good and a few games here and there.”

“They should win comfortably on Thursday – 2-0 or 3-0.”