The Tartan Army are coming
Scotland have qualified for a major international tournament for the first time in 23 years. The Tartan Army are off to Euro 2020 thanks to a nail-biting penalty shootout win over Serbia on Thursday evening, edging their hosts 5-4 from the spot.
Goalkeeper David Marshal was the hero of the hour, saving Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty, sparking scenes of joy in Belgrade for the dark blues and their long-suffering supporters back home. The drought has ended, and the Scots will finally be back rubbing shoulders with football’s elite.
In an emotional post-match interview, manager Steve Clarke acknowledged it has been a difficult year for everyone and the players took pride in giving Scotland a reason to smile. The gaffer was full of praise for his battle-weary squad, from the starting 11 to the bench.
Clarke’s battlers can’t be written off
There was double joy for the Scotland support. The team worked through qualifying for the first time since France 1998 and were dropped into Group D alongside Croatia, Czech Republic, and the Auld Enemy – England.
The party begins on Monday 14 June against the Czech Republic and Scotland will believe they have a great opportunity to get off to a winning start. They enjoy home advantage with the match played at Hampden Park and everyone with a passion for football dreams of a full house. Supporters of the home team take further encouragement from Scotland’s two Nations League wins over the Czech Republic this year.
Four days later, it’ll be the big one – England vs Scotland at Wembley Stadium. The feuding neighbours haven’t met in competitive action since a thrilling 2-2 draw at Hampden in 2017. Leigh Griffiths netted a memorable double that night but a stoppage-time leveller from Harry Kane denied Scotland victory. That draw means Scotland haven’t beaten England since 1999 but it would be a brave tipster who was willing to write off Clarke’s warriors.
The Group D campaign ends against World Cup runners-up Croatia on 22 June, but Scotland will again boast home advantage. Interestingly, Scotland and Croatia have met only five times before and the Scots hold an unbeaten record of two wins and three draws. The most recent clash took place in 2013 in Glasgow when Robert Snodgrass and Steven Naismith goals gifted a stunning World Cup qualifying win.
Scots a nice price to qualify
Betfair traders wasted no time adding Scotland to the Euro 2020 betting, offering supporters a chance to back their side next summer. Clarke’s men are outsiders in the Group D winner market with odds of 14/1 available. That quote places them fourth in the list behind 4/11 favourites England, the 11/4 of Croatia and 12/1 Czech Republic.
Scotland are slightly more competitive in the betting to qualify with 5/4 trading at this early stage. England are 1/100 to progress to the knockout stages, Croatia 1/5 and 5/6 for the Czech Republic. The odds on teams qualifying are short because, from four of the six groups, three teams will qualify.
The fact two of Scotland’s three group games will be played at home is sure to encourage interest in them.
To do that they’ll have to beat some of the best teams in Europe, with England, Belgium and world champions France three-way joint favourites at 5/1.