Back in November, in the wee hours after the echo of the Belgrade Boogie had faded, I was compelled to write about our squad and what they had just achieved. I wrote about why I loved every one of them.
Tonight, I feel the same. What a likable group of players that are about to carry out hopes and dreams into a Major Finals.
Steve Clarke has managed to select a squad of 26 equally built for the summer and the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, Scotland’s Euro 2020 Squad.
Steve Clarke (57) – The Manager
First, the man in charge.
Berti Vogts couldn’t. Walter Smith couldn’t. Alex McLeish couldn’t. George Burley couldn’t. Craig Levein couldn’t. Gordon Strachan couldn’t. Alex McLeish couldn’t again.
Steve Clarke did. Legend forever.
David Marshall (36) Derby County – 43 Caps
Eran Zahavi, Aleksandar Mitrović… Harry Kane? Who will be next to fall at the altar of Marshall’s penalty spot?
Craig Gordon (38) Hearts – 56 Caps
The great survivor of this Scotland side. Made his Scotland debut when Nathan Patterson was two years old.
Jon McLaughlin (33) Rangers – 2 Caps
McLaughlin has been a regular in Clarke’s squads and, for continuity and existing relationships, has earned his place.
Andy Robertson (27) Liverpool – 43 Caps
Andy’s played almost every minute for Liverpool this season. He’s made excellence look normal.
Greg Taylor (23) Celtic – 4 Caps
Two assists in four caps, He’s had a lowkey productive Scotland career so far.
Kieran Tierney (23) Arsenal – 19 Caps
Left back. Right back. Centre back. Kieran hasn’t found a position he can’t excel in yet. Got a hat trick of assists in March from LCB.
Liam Cooper (29) Leeds United – 5 Caps
Marcelo Bielsa loves him, making him captain of Leeds United. That’s enough for me.
Grant Hanley (29) Norwich City – 32 Caps
The comeback king. Almost four years between competitive caps, strolls back like it’s nothing – scoring a great header against Austria. He arrives at the Euros with the EFL Championship trophy in his back pocket. Norwich captain, another leader.
Declan Gallagher (30) Motherwell – 7 Caps
Rumour has it he’s still got Aleksandar Mitrović tucked in his back pocket.
Jack Hendry (26) Oostende – 5 Caps
Another comeback story. Didn’t work out at Celtic. Injured in Australia, now bossing Belgium. The Space Cadet flies even higher.
Scott McKenna (24) Nottingham Forest – 19 Caps
Another leader at the back. Built like he’s hewn from granite. I’d like to see Harry Kane challenge for a header with him.
Stephen O’Donnell (29) Motherwell – 18 Caps
What a journey he’s had for Scotland. Cried tears of pride in Peru after his debut, he’s arguably grown in confidence and stature with every subsequent appearance. Has more than earned the starting jersey at Euro 2020.
Nathan Patterson (19) Rangers – 0 Caps
A vision of the future. A really exciting prospect, a performance school graduate. What a future this young man has ahead of him.
John McGinn (26) Aston Villa – 32 Caps
He’s hit ten goals for Scotland in the last year and a half. He’s one away from Joe Jordan. He’s the first name on the team-sheet. He’s a fan on the pitch. It’s time for Europe to get Meatball Mania.
Callum McGregor (27) Celtic – 29 Caps
Played his finest game in a Scotland shirt in Belgrade. A big game player, we’ve got three massive ones coming up.
Stuart Armstrong (29) Southampton – 24 Caps
He’s been growing in influence for Southampton, linking up well with a certain striker…
Scott McTominay (24) Manchester United – 22 Caps
What a player. Whether in defence, midfield or running a 5k, this young man gives everything. It is my ambition to get the Lion King inspired chant going this summer.
John Fleck (29) Sheffield United – 5 Caps
For every door that closes, another opens. Ryan Jack’s injury likely opened the door for Fleck’s inclusion. He’s had a tough season, let’s end it on a high.
Billy Gilmour (19) Chelsea – 0 Caps
He’s shown he can do it for Chelsea. If he’s good enough, he’s old enough. I can’t wait to see him play for Scotland.
David Turnbull (21) Celtic – 0 Caps
Six months ago he was riding the bench for Celtic with little to no chance of inclusion. Today, he’s been Celtic’s bright spot this season, a PFA Young Player of the Year and deservedly sits in Steve Clarke’s squad.
James Forrest (29) Celtic – 35 Caps
Mr ‘Money in the Bank’ – despite his injury worries this season, Forrest offers width in the squad and brings so much experience for Celtic and Scotland.
Ryan Christie (26) Celtic – 18 Caps
Scored in Belgrade. Blubbed after. Deserves his place on those alone.
Ryan Fraser (27) Newcastle United – 16 Caps
He’s managed to time his spells of fitness with international windows this season. Speaks so highly of the manager, he’d run through brick walls to get in the squad.
Lyndon Dykes (25) QPR – 10 Caps
Didn’t score in March but with his link-up play and driving runs was able to punch holes in defences for team-mates to take advantage of. Our Giroud? Not for me to say (but yes).
Kevin Nisbet (24) Hibernian – 1 Cap
He’s played in all four leagues in Scotland and hasn’t found one he can’t score in yet. Next stop international football. Don’t bet against him.
Ché Adams (24) Southampton – 3 Caps
Showed in March that he has all the technical ability, work-rate and desire to be an absolute star for Scotland.
For many of us, we’re entering uncharted territory.
I couldn’t be more excited.
Eyes on The Tartan Scarf as we get closer to Euro 2020.