A LARGS man has the inside track on the Scottish football team's biggest match in 13 years after being sent on a fact-finding mission to Serbia.

Long-serving Largs Thistle committee man Campbell Crawford is also the head of football operations for Police Scotland and travelled to Belgrade in preparation for Scotland's big play-off final tomorrow.

The 53-year-old, who is due to retire this month after 30 years in the service, believes a lack of fans and partisan atmosphere could turn the tide for Steve Clarke's side.

He said: "The Rajko Mitic Stadium has one of the longest tunnels in world football.

"It takes the players five minutes to get from the changing rooms to the pitch and you are normally brought out right in front of the Red Star Belgrade Ultras. It is the equivalent of entering the field of play right beside the Green Brigade at Celtic Park or Union Bears at Ibrox, so you can just about imagine what the atmosphere would have been like if fans had been allowed in."

Earlier this year, Campbell visited both Norway and Serbia to assess the stadia from a policing point of view.

He said: "One of my roles to is prepare for away fixtures and I attend a pre match site visit with representatives of the Scottish FA in order to look at the security arrangements, policing operation and stadium facilities.

"The fixture was originally due to be held in March 2020 and I had to perform site visits to both of Scotland's potential opponents, Serbia and Norway, to plan for all eventualities.

"I attended along with the SFA, Serbian FA, Serbian police and a representative from the British Embassy.

"Scotland was originally intended to have an allocation of around 3,500 before Covid-19 struck. We even look at tiny logistics such as whether bagpipes are allowed inside.

"I raise any concerns at the time and following the trip I submit a full report on any issues I foresee."

Campbell expressed the hope that fans would be allowed back into stadiums in time for the reschedule Euros next summer.

He said: "I would hope to be back at Hampden watching as a fan.

"I have been lucky enough to be a paid up Tartan Army member for 30 years and have been fortunate to have gone to World Cups and European Championship finals."

Campbell's high level police role means that he deals with the SFA, SPFL, and the Scottish Government.

He said: "One of my many roles includes attending matches across Scotland looking at policing operations, ensuring fans are not treated differently from Dingwall to Dumfries - if good practice is identified, we will look to roll that out nationally."

Campbell's role meant he was also involved in the recent test events which saw 300 ticket holders return to Aberdeen and Ross County for SPFL matches.

He said: "Our position was that we were happy with how the test events went and Police Scotland are ready to go with whatever rules or legislation are put in place in future to allow fans back in."