All eyes will be on Scotland’s men as they walk out at Hampden Park this afternoon to end 23-years of waiting in front of more than 12,000 supporters.
Following a productive camp in Spain, and four days in the luxurious surroundings of Rockcliffe Hall in Darlington, Steve Clarke’s squad are ready and go into the opening game of the tournament with a full squad.
Czech Republic have made a late change to their squad with goalkeeper Jiří Pavlenka withdrawing due to a back injury. He tried to train on Saturday, but failed to finish. Tomáš Koubek, capped 11 times will now join the squad.
The last time Scotland took on Czech Republic they emerged 1-0 winners, in the UEFA Nations League at Hampden Park, thanks to a Ryan Fraser goal.
In September 2020, Czech Republic were ravaged by a COVID-19 outbreak and Scotland defeated them 2-1. Scotland have played Czech Republic on 9 occasions, winning on four occasions, drawing once and losing four matches.
This week Scott McKenna sat down with the press and expressed how excited he is for the match ahead. He said: “We’ve got to start as well as we can. We’re not just here to make up the numbers. We want to leave our mark on the tournament.
“You can sense the expectation, especially on social media. You can see what it means to everyone. Everyone is getting behind us, everyone trying to get hold of strips, anything, so it’s brilliant and we are really feeling that in the camp.
“It’s the most club feel I have had since I’ve been in the Scotland set up. The squad has been pretty consistent over the last few years and also the fact we’ve spent so much time together, so it does feel like a proper club setting.”
Assistant Coach John Carver is also gripped by the pre-match build up and said: “When you look around the place and you see EURO 2020 on the side of the coaches and as you arrive at the hotel there’s a big Scotland flag there, you know you’re ready. We had a fantastic opening game last night. It’s something I’m proud of and looking forward to.
“What we don’t want to do is arrive at the tournament and say we’re happy to be here. We want to take the next step because if we have a good tournament that will put us in good stead for the World Cup qualifiers, so this group of players want to be competitive and want to progress.
“I am so excited. When Steve asked me to join the national team I couldn’t wait to get in the car and get up to Scotland. To be part of this achievement makes me proud.
“Czech Republic is the most important game right now and all the focus is going into that game. We are ready to go now. The guys are in great spirits. They’ve trained extremely well, but it’s going to be difficult picking the XI who will start.”
The match will be available, free to air on BBC One.