COME Saturday at 2pm, it’ll be just like the old days as the entire nation, some draped in patriotic gear, sits down to watch the television. We will raise our arms in the air then clap them slowly and rhythmically, shouting “Ooh!” on every clap.

This is, of course, the Viking Thunderclap, and it’s performed by everyone supporting Iceland’s football team, as we will all be on Saturday. Well, most of us, I guess.

We need to get the England thing out of the way first. As regular readers know, this column is so far ahead of the curve that it ends up staring at its own buttocks. Against that inspiring backdrop, I have to point out that I supported England at footer long before it became fashionable and politically correct.

The reason? Well, it wasn’t anything ideological or anything worked out with my head. It’s just that, deep down in my heart, when watching a game in a competition, I wanted them to win.

Why wouldn’t you? It’s boring when they go out. I’m familiar with the players from watching Match of the Day every week and, as far as I can make out, they’ve little to do with our colonial oppression or whatever the current constitutional position is.

Besides, however peculiar the English are, they’re basically the same people as us. Just going to read that last sentence back. Hmm, something not quite right. Never mind.

I must admit that, when the position of supporting England started to appear a little pious, I felt uncomfortable with it. After all, the Dutch don’t support the Germans and vice-versa, and it’s the same with most neighbourly rivals. Alas, of course, we are not as other men, who do not have an equivalent of our Craven Scotch Unionists in their countries.

With their usual brazen dishonesty, they’re always trying to portray independence supporters as “anti-English”, which has led many people to go out of their way to prove the opposite, even to the extreme extent of supporting England at footer.

Ironically enough, the virulent anti-Scottish invective online nearly persuaded me against my support for England. But it has survived and, on Monday at 7pm, I shall be Morris dancing in front of the television and chanting “Inga-land, Inga-land, Inga-land!”

Their opponents are Tunisia, whom I’ve no incentive to support. I don’t know any Tunisites. Their national dish? No idea. Is it crinkle-cut oven chips? Their centre-forward? Haven’t a clue. Chap with two feet?

That said, I only know two Icelandic players and, as their national dish is whale meat, I haven’t much incentive on the face of it to support them either. As quondam Nordic people, they’ll have a fine conceit of themselves, and their modern literature is the usual blood-spattered fare, which makes them psychologically dubious (rather like us).

Their ancient literature isn’t much better, being unbearably prosaic sagas about feuds, greed, murder, revenge, betrayal and lust. It’s like a Nordic version of River City.

All that said, there’s plenty to like. They’re the underdogs, they’re small and independent, and they’ve got that chant. Actually, they nicked that from, of all people, Motherwell supporters. And a lot of their DNA is Celtic. And they’re northern. And they drink. Why, it’s just us in plastic Viking helmets! It’s Ketils Bielinsson and Helga Jimmysdottir.

According to a newspaper report at the weekend, Icelanders have been ordering their team-tops here, because they’re cheaper (Iceland follows the ancient Nordic tradition of making everything bracingly expensive).

Some have even taken city breaks to come and buy them in person, and one Glasgow sports shop reported a dozen Icelandic women swooping in like bargain-hunting Valkyries to buy tops.

Fortunately, obesity is rarer in Iceland than here where, for some strange reason, only fat people wear team tops to domestic games. Honestly, if you’ve a blob about your person, these tops will highlight it. They’re made for athletes, not Scottish people.

Speaking of which, the same Glasgow shop reported that sales of Belgium, Panama and Tunisia strips were going well, these being England’s opponents in the competition. This is disgraceful, if a bit comical. Indeed, English people online are tweeting that it’s OK not to support England. It’s just a bit of a larf, innit?

Well, I didn’t get where I am today by treating life as a laugh. Accordingly, while I’ll be supporting Iceland on Saturday, I won’t be dressing up in Viking costume as, unusually in north-western Europe, I’m not a fan of Dark Ages terrorism.

However, as I’ll also be supporting England in the tournament, I’ll scoop a few Martin Miller gins – distilled in England and blended with Icelandic water – with a splash of Irn Bru to salute the Caledonian ghost at proceedings.