Euro 2020 preview, Group D – Scotland: Ally McCoist backs Scotland to reach knockout stages
Our Matchday Squad will cover every nation at the Euros
For Euro 2020, we’ve assembled 24 expert journalists to give you the latest insight and tips on every team throughout the tournament.
Here, former Scotland international Ally McCoist gives us his take on Steve Clarke’s men…
Give us an overview of your team’s chances at Euro 2020
It’s a huge achievement for Scotland to qualify for their first major tournament since 1998. I am delighted we are back.
I look at the group and I don’t think there is much pressure on us. All the pressure will be on England and Croatia so that could work in our favour.
Our first game is absolutely vital against the Czech Republic. If we have any hopes of qualifying from the group, we have to win that game and I believe we can. You can finish third in this format and qualify so it would give us a huge chance. Anything from the other two games would be a big bonus.
What would you say are your team’s major strengths?
It’s the middle of the park. Steve Clarke will probably go with three in there. We now have players who play at a very good level and for big teams like Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa.
It is the first time we can say that for a long time. McTominay, McGinn, McGregor and Armstrong are all good players and have a lot of experience. We are solid enough defensively without being brilliant. Hopefully that will make us a tough team to beat.
And any weaknesses?
Goals may be the biggest problem for Scotland. Unlike teams like England and France, we don’t have a Harry Kane or Kylian Mbappe.
Che Adams have been an excellent acquisition for us but in terms of a player who can guarantee four or five goals, we don’t have that. What we will be hoping is that we can keep it tight as much as we can and then you never know. Set-pieces are going to be important for us and that may be where we get a lot of our goals from.
Give us the lowdown on your team’s star player?
Andy Robertson is the obvious one for Liverpool. He has turned into a superstar. What he has gone on to achieve at Liverpool is incredible. He is such a key player for Jurgen Klopp and that is the case for Scotland too.
He is an excellent full-back who can not only get forward and put in an excellent cross, you will see if come into the middle a lot for Scotland too. He has won big trophies for Liverpool so he will have no problem handling the pressure this summer.
And tell us about a player from your team who could be a breakthrough star at this tournament?
The one I have high hopes for is John McGinn. He has an excellent goalscoring record for us and that could continue into the tournament. He is obviously well known in the Premier League with Aston Villa but I do feel he is a little underrated.
I think we will see in this tournament exactly how good he is and hopefully his performances will help Scotland get some big results. I also think we could see a lot of Billy Gilmour. It would not be a shock to me to see him start a lot of matches and he is an excellent talent.
How far do you think your team can go in this tournament?
I think we will qualify from the group. It is obviously a lot easier now with some third places being enough to make the knockout stages. Anything after that would be a huge bonus and you never know as a lot will depend on how the draw works out.
If we can make the last 16 it would be amazing and no Scot would complain at that. You only have to look at what Wales achieved at Euro 2016 to show what can be done when the players are together. It has been such a long time since we last saw Scotland at a major tournament so it is just great to see them there.
Easy one to finish with, who wins the tournament, and who do you think will be top scorer?
France to win it and Karim Benzema to be the top goalscorer.