The Scots are off to Germany!

Published on 19 October 2023 at 13:00

After a scrappy 1-0 victory for Spain in Norway, it is confirmed that the tartan army will be 'boogie-ing' all the way to Germany for Euro 2024. After a historic qualification campaign in which Steve Clarke's men won maximum points from the their first five matches, it begs the question, just how far can the Scots go next summer?



Throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's Scotland regularly qualified for major tournaments, however things have been pretty bleak since then. Whether it be Craig Levein's 4-6-0 formation against Czech Republic, Chris Iwelumo's miss from point blank range against Norway or simply being embarrassed 3-0 in Kazakhstan, the Scottish National side always seemed to find new ways to outdo themselves in terms of qualification failure since the turn of the century.

That was until May 2019, when Steve Clarke was appointed manager and instantly put his stamp on the team. Clarke adopted the 5-3-2 formation, giving the team a bit more defensive solidity and in turn, created a system where both Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney could be utilised, a problem that had given previous managers nightmares.

Clarke's defensive approach wasn't always the most popular with the tartan army, however it paid off when he guided the team to Euro 2020, through two penalty shootout victories in the Nations League playoffs against Israel and Serbia.

The tournament itself didn't go quite as planned for the Scots as they were knocked out in the group stages but by breaking the 22 year old qualification curse, it was clear that Clarke had got the country believing in the National Team again...


The Journey

Scotland would go into the Euro 2024 qualification campaign confident with the the added buffer of the Nations League playoffs. That being said, with the likes of world class players, Erling Haaland, Rodri, Martin Odegaard and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in the group, it was never going to be easy.

The Scots never set the world alight against group minnows Cyprus in the first game but still won 3-0. Clarke's men knew they'd need to step it up if they were to get anything against Spain - and they did. Unplayable at times, Scotland defeated the salty Spaniards 2-0 in what was a memorable night at Hampden Park.

Scotland conceded their first goal of the campaign in Oslo, courtesy of an Erling Haaland penalty, however managed to claw their way back into the game with two late goals in two manic minutes. Three days later, they played in rain of biblical proportions against Georgia at Hampden and made it four wins from four.

Another 3-0 victory against Cyprus meant Scotland were just one point away from qualification before they headed to Spain. In a match that included one of the most controversial VAR decisions to date, the Scots were robbed of what could've been a special night in Seville. A header from Alvaro Morata, an unfortunate slip from Aaron Hickey and Dutch referee, Serdar Gozubuyuk have more than likely ensured Spain will top the group.


Read more: Is VAR fit for purpose?


While the manner of the defeat in Seville was a tough one to take for the tartan army, they soon became Spain's biggest fans as all they needed was a point in Norway to ensure Scotland's qualification. In another game with controversial VAR decisions, the Spaniards eventually emerged victorious, a second half goal from Gavi was enough to see Scotland through.




In Scotland's best ever qualification campaign, it's almost unfair to pick one individual outstanding performer. That being said, the team wouldn't be in the position it was in if it wasn't for their unlikely goal machine, Scott McTominay.

Since McTominay opted to play for Scotland in 2018, it hasn't always been sunshine and roses for the midfielder. Despite playing for one of the biggest clubs in the country, he was often benched for his national team, behind McGinn, McGregor and Gilmour in the pecking order and was even deployed at centre back at times to fit him in the team.

It was in fact from the bench where he first made an impact in the qualifiers, as he came on against Cyprus to score a late brace. He then started against Spain, where once again, he netted twice to give Scotland a famous victory.

In his new role where Clarke has allowed him more attacking freedom, McTominay has already bagged six goals (same as Mbappe and Haaland) in this year's qualifiers and has been a revelation in a thriving Scottish side. Furthermore, with almost 50 caps at the age of just 26, he is also on course to be the country's record appearance holder.




You'd have to go pretty far back to find a Scotland squad that had so many players plying their trade in the Premier League; Andy Robertson, John McGinn, Scott McTominay, Billy Gilmour, Aaron Hickey, Nathan Paterson and Ryan Christie all compete against the best players in the world week in, week out and the Scottish National side have massively benefitted from that.


Read more: Top 10 Scots to play in the Premier League


Not only the Premier League players but also the likes of Ryan Porteous, Angus Gunn, Jack Hendry and Callum McGregor are all performing well at their respective clubs and displaying consistent performances for Scotland.

With the current crop of talent, it does feel as if the sky is the limit, however first and foremost the aim will be to get by the group stages, something the Scots are still yet to achieve at a major tournament after eleven appearances.

After recent friendly defeats to England and France, perhaps the Scots aren't ready to compete at the very highest level just yet, however with a favourable draw in the tournament a good run into the knockout stages seems very plausible.

We don't yet know who Scotland will face at Euro 2024, although one thing's for certain, the tartan army WILL be there.

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