Scotland can make Euro 2020 progress and achieve ‘greatness’ – Stephen O’Donnell
Stephen O’Donnell believes Scotland can achieve the “greatness” of major tournament progress at the delayed 2020 European Championship.
Steve Clarke’s squad are in La Finca, Spain as they begin their build-up to the men’s national team’s first major finals in 23 years.
Scotland have never emerged from the group stages of any tournament but Motherwell right-back O’Donnell is confident they have the tools to do it this summer.
Clarke’s side face Czech Republic at Hampden Park on June 14, before a trip to Wembley to play England and then returning to Glasgow to host Croatia.
O’Donnell, 29, said: “We have enough quality throughout the squad to achieve greatness in regards to qualifying and I think we can do that.
“Obviously we have three teams that will be trying to do the same, all with different pressures, all three are relatively regular in major tournaments.
“We will just go out, do our best and we have enough talent and ability that can cause any team problems and if we do our job at the back we will get opportunities.”
As preparation, Scotland will take on Holland in Portugal next Wednesday before facing Luxembourg in another friendly on June 6.
O’Donnell is keen to ensure qualifying for a major finals for the first time since the 1998 World Cup in France is the start of a return to regular participation on the big stage.
The former Partick Thistle, Luton and Kilmarnock player said: “We want to go and perform, we don’t want to be a flash in the pan.
“We want try to make this consistent for Scotland.
We have enough quality throughout the squad to achieve greatness in regards to qualifying and I think we can do that.
“We have been in the wilderness for too long and we want to make sure that we do well in the tournament, worst case – good performances.
“But we are obviously looking to get at least three points which will hopefully ensure we are in the next round which will hopefully create a bit more history.
“But beyond that we want to then go again for the World Cup and push to try to qualify.
“As I said, I don’t want to be a flash in the pan, I don’t mean that personally, I mean that collectively.
“It has been too long for Scotland, a football nation, to be in the wilderness and we want to try to continue this success.
“Everyone is over the moon to be here and you can feel the excitement building among the players but we have a job to do.
“We have two friendlies coming up which is very important, we hope to try out a few things and beyond that we have the competitive game at Hampden and we want to get off to a good start.”
O’Donnell, capped 18 times, faces competition for his place from new boy Nathan Patterson.
- Czech Republic (Hampden Park, June 14)
- England (Wembley, June 18)
- Croatia (Hampden Park, June 22)
The 19-year-old Rangers right-back is one of three young players, including Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour and Celtic playmaker David Turnbull, called up by Clarke for the first time.
“Who?” joked O’Donnell, when asked about highly-rated Patterson.
“In training you could see he is very comfortable with the ball.
“He has plenty of confidence, he was getting on the ball as if he was a centre midfield player – I hope to push him in there!
“He looks as if he has settled in well.
“Come the first game, you want to make sure you are starting.
“I have said time and again, I have never been so proud as putting on the Scotland top.
“It has been the highlight of my career and that won’t change. I just hope I can maintain it as long as possible.”