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EURO 2020 inside track: Scotland

UEFA.com's Scotland reporter Alex O'Henley on the pain of EURO '96 and the pleasure the current crop are generating.

Meet the teams: Scotland
Meet the teams: Scotland

Group D fixtures

14/06: Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic (Glasgow)
18/06: England vs Scotland (London)
22/06: Croatia vs Scotland (Glasgow)

Team profile

Coach: Steve Clarke
Captain: Andrew Robertson
Nickname: The Tartan Army
How they qualified: play-offs (0-0 5-3p vs Israel, 1-1 5-4p vs Serbia)
EURO best: group stage (1992, 1996)

Every goal on Scotland's road to EURO 2020
Every goal on Scotland's road to EURO 2020

Where they could play their knockout games

Round of 16: London, Copenhagen, Seville, Glasgow or Budapest
Quarter-final: Saint Petersburg, Munich, Rome or Baku
Semi-final: London
Final: London

Final 26-man squad

Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Hearts), David Marshall (Derby), Jon McLaughlin (Rangers)

Defenders: Liam Cooper (Leeds), Declan Gallagher (Motherwell), Grant Hanley (Norwich), Jack Hendry (Celtic), Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest), Stephen O'Donnell (Motherwell), Nathan Patterson (Rangers), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal)

Highlights: Serbia 1-1 Scotland (4-5 pens)
Highlights: Serbia 1-1 Scotland (4-5 pens)

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Celtic), John Fleck (Sheffield United), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Newcastle United), Billy Gilmour (Chelsea), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), David Turnbull (Celtic)

Forwards: Ché Adams (Southampton), Lyndon Dykes (QPR), Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian)

UEFA.com Scotland team reporter: Alex O’Henley

I have been privileged to be covering EUROs for UEFA since 2004, but this one is special because it’s the first time Scotland have reached the finals since 1996. I was at the England vs Scotland game that year as a fan and wonder to this day what might have been had Gary McAllister’s penalty gone in! My best EURO moment goes back to 2004 when I had the honour of interviewing the great Johan Cruyff over a cup of coffee in Porto. A cherished memory with a football icon.

Classic rendition of Scotland anthem
Classic rendition of Scotland anthem

How they play

Steve Clarke is a pragmatic coach by nature, but since qualifying on penalties against Serbia this team has grown in confidence. He favours a 3-5-1-1 formation with the wing-backs providing width. Usually it’s one striker up top with one in behind, but he has experimented with a front two and might start with Lyndon Dykes and Ché Adams against Czech Republic.

Key player: John McGinn

With ten goals from 32 appearances, McGinn is the top scorer in the squad. His high energy sets the tempo for the rest, and his late runs from midfield make him a danger to any opponent. Much depends on where Clarke deploys the Aston Villa man. He can be on the fringes of the game in right midfield, but for me he's at his most dangerous just off the forwards.

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Coach: Steve Clarke

Clarke is already assured of hero status as the manager who took Scotland to their first major finals in 23 years. He has done so by building a solid defensive base which has served the Scots well with just two defeats in their last 16 matches. Since breaking their hoodoo in Belgrade they have grown in stature and go into the championship with no fears.

EURO '96 flashback: Scotland's last EURO win
EURO '96 flashback: Scotland's last EURO win

One to watch: Billy Gilmour

The Scottish public are hugely excited by the Chelsea midfielder’s cameo appearances in pre-tournament friendlies against the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Clarke has a real dilemma whether to start the young playmaker at the expense of Callum McGregor. More likely Gilmour will be kept in reserve but expect him to make an impact when he gets the opportunity.

Can they win it?

Scotland are just delighted to be in a major finals after such a long absence. They will be the underdogs in Group D, but there’s real excitement among the public that this squad could be the first Scottish team to progress to the knockout stage of a major tournament. That in itself would be a huge success.