Possible starting XI for Scotland’s Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic

Steve Clarke is preparing to pick his Scotland side for their Euros opener
Steve Clarke is preparing to pick his Scotland side for their Euros opener (PA Wire)
11:28am, Thu 03 Jun 2021
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Scotland are preparing to take part in the delayed 2020 European Championship which will be their first major finals in 23 years.

Steve Clarke’s side were without seven players for their friendly against Holland in Portugal on Wednesday night after John Fleck tested positive for Covid-19, with six others staying away as a precaution.

An encouraging 2-2 draw served only to throw up more questions than answers for Clarke but nevertheless, here, the PA news agency predicts what the Scotland team will look like for the June 14 opener against the Czech Republic at Hampden Park.

David Marshall

David Marshall, left, was Scotland's shoot-out hero (PA Archive)

The Derby keeper is the hero of the Tartan Army after penalty shoot-out saves against Israel and Serbia in the Euro 2020 play-offs.

Marshall has established himself as number one in recent years, with Craig Gordon and Jon McLaughlin as more than able back-ups.

Gordon has played the last two games ahead of the final friendly against Luxembourg on Sunday but Clarke is likely to keep faith with Marshall when the real action starts.

Stephen O’Donnell

The dependable Motherwell defender has made the right-back/right wing-back position his own and will surely be preferred to his only real competition for the spot, uncapped 19-year-old Rangers rookie Nathan Patterson, albeit James Forrest and Ryan Fraser can also play wing-back.

O’Donnell has a good engine and powers down the right flank to add to Scotland’s attacking options .

Jack Hendry

Recently recalled to the international scene after an impressive season on loan with Belgian side Oostende.

The Celtic defender returned for the recent World Cup qualifiers and showed his improvement.

He is strong, good in the air, not afraid to pass out from the back or move forward with the ball and his goal against Holland will have done his cause the world of good.

Grant Hanley

Another central defender who is back in the fold after a period away.

The Norwich captain is robust and a powerful aerial presence in both boxes. Clarke will be glad to have him in his rearguard.

Kieran Tierney

Clarke has moved to three at the back to ensure both his classy left-backs Tierney and Andy Robertson get into the side.

The Arsenal defender offers covering pace at the back while retaining his attacking instincts. He is always looking to drive down the left flank to link up, again demonstrating that asset against Holland.

Andy Robertson

The Scotland captain will be the first name on Clarke’s team sheet.

The Champions League and Premier League winner has the experience and pedigree needed if the Scots are to qualify out of the group stages for the first time.

His cross for Kevin Nisbet’s goal against Holland was classic Robertson.

Scott McTominay

Scott McTominay had a good season for his club side (PA Wire)

The Manchester United midfielder has been played in central defence at times by Clarke but is likely to take his place in his usual midfield role in the Euros.

McTominay has had a fine season at Old Trafford, with his form improving towards the end of United’s campaign.

His calmness and technique in possession and ability to pick a pass will be crucial.

John McGinn

The all-action Aston Villa midfielder is on the goal trail with Scotland.

Powerful, mobile and direct, he has scored 10 times for his country and in a team where goals are traditionally hard to come by, his hunger to support the attack and get into the opposition box could make a difference to the campaign.

Callum McGregor

The Celtic midfielder has endured a rare unsuccessful season at Parkhead but his big-game experience is key.

With Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean absent through injury, McGregor will be utilised in a more defensive role.

His ability to keep possession under pressure and link the game will be key to Scotland’s success.

Ryan Christie

Ryan Christie could start on June 14 (PA Wire)

Scotland normally start with a lone striker and Clarke will be looking to have someone in support.

The versatile Ryan Fraser or David Turnbull, who made his debut against the Dutch, could fill the role but Clarke may go with Christie.

The Celtic attacking midfielder is mobile and creative and has popped up with some important goals, not least against Serbia in the play-off final.

Che Adams

The Southampton striker is a recent recruit to Clarke’s squad and has added Premier League quality.

Fast, strong and able to hold the ball up, he made his debut as a second-half substitute against Austria in a World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park in March and got off the mark with a goal against the Faroe Islands a week later.

Nisbet climbed off the bench to get his first goal for Scotland against Holland and Lyndon Dykes is also in contention but Adams should get the nod.

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