Safeway has expressed disappointment at reports in the Scottish press that it created a fiasco in the sale of tickets for Scotland’s Euro 2004 soccer match against Holland at Hampden Park on November 15.

Safeway sold 8,800 tickets across 48 of its stores in Scotland but the media said its voucher system gave preference to its staff and allowed some people to buy up to 50 tickets in one transaction.

However, Safeway said they abided by very strict instructions from the Scottish Football Association to restrict sales of tickets to two per adult or a family ticket of one adult and three children. And Safeway staff could also only buy tickets if they were off-duty and queued up with the rest of the public.

A spokeswoman for the supermarket chain said the stores had expected demand to outstrip supply. As a result it gave out vouchers to those queuing outside in the cold - some from as early as 3.00am - so that no one would queue unnecessarily to find out that the tickets had sold out.

Safeway has been selling tickets for Scotland’s international football games since August 2002 when its sponsorship of the national team began.