Wed, Jun

SCOTLAND may not be at this year's World Cup finals, but a shirt carrying the country's name has already become the must-have fashion item for Scottish fans.

The official jersey of the Trinidad and Tobago striker Jason Scotland, who plays for St Johnstone, is in so much demand that the maker, Adidas, is sending extra deliveries north of the Border.

The shirt has been adopted as the "streetwear" of choice for members of the Tartan Army.

Trinidad and Tobago holds a special place in the hearts of Scotland supporters. As well as sharing frequent underdog status, the Caribbean team is facing the Auld Enemy, England, during the World Cup and has five squad members who play for Scottish clubs.

Retailers are expecting the collectable shirts, which will sell for about £30, to be among the most popular of the season.

John Kaylor, chairman of the Perthshire branch of the Tartan Army, praised the sale of the shirts.

He said: "I am a St Johnstone supporter and I shall be singing, 'I'd walk a thousand miles' if [Jason] Scotland scores a goal in the World Cup. There is no doubt that is who everyone in the Tartan Army will be supporting. A lot of people have got the older shirts with 'Scotland' written on the back, and there are already loads of bidders on eBay. They will all be Scotland supporters buying them, there is nothing surer.

"These football shirts will be very common this summer. Jason Scotland will be proud, no doubt."

Tahlia Hughes, the manager of Sport World in the St James Centre, Edinburgh, said: "I have already had 50 inquiries from people about the Trinidad and Tobago shirt. It's mainly because they are playing England and the shirt is nicer than the other ones in the group. I think it will be our top seller this season."

A manager at Sports World in Dundee said: "We are definitely expecting the Trinidad and Tobago Scotland shirt to be our most popular one of the season."

At Footlocker in Argyle Street, Glasgow, the manageress said: "I have had about 20 to 30 people asking for these particular shirts."

A spokesman for Adidas said he was aware of Trinidad and Tobago's expected cult status with the Tartan Army. He said: "We do expect a high level of interest in Trinidad and Tobago merchandise in Scotland - as we do from any team that's playing England, really. "

Owen Coyle, the St Johnstone manager, said: "It would be nice if Scotland was actually playing in the World Cup, but I suppose in a way this is one means of saying Scotland is in the World Cup."

As for Jason Scotland himself, he said: "It's great just to be in the team, but to have Scotland's support as well makes it special. It would be extra special if we beat England - I think the fans at my club would be pleased."