Massive day for Scottish football, back in the big time after far too long, and with a tricky but winnable fixture against the Czech Republic to start them off with. Steve Clarke’s side play Czech Republic at 2pm in Hampden Park in Glasgow. It’s 58 degrees in Glasgow, with a 21 mile an hour wind and a 27% chance of rain, which I believe I am right in saying makes it officially summer. So taps aaf all around up there.
Steve Clarke’s men have some proper players, as Souey would say, this time around. John McGinn, doing so brilliantly at Aston Villa and a personal favourite of mine after his time at Hibs, is an all-action, all-round midfield force. The Scots are in the fortunate/slightly annoying position of having their other two best players play in the same, er, position. Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney would both get into pretty much every side in this tournament as a left back, but obviously only one of them can get into this Scottish side. Sam Dean will explore in more depth how Clarke fits everything in shortly.
With the big match coming up against England on Friday, Scotland need to probably get something here. Croatia looked a shadow of their 2018 World Cup selves against England but might come on for the run, who knows. Whichever group they were in, Scotland were not going to be among the most fancied teams but the match against England is such a specific situation that maybe they can cause an upset. Anyway, Clarke will be telling his boys to forget about that and focus on the matter at hand.
The Czechs are not at the level they were when they came 2nd in Euro 1996, or even when they were 3rd in 2004. Keep an eye out for Vladimír Darida of Hertha Berlin, he’s an absolute dynamo and holds the Bundesliga record for distance run in a match. Could be a hectic afternoon in midfield.
The Czechs favour a no-nonsense 4-2-3-1, with an all West Ham right side of Coufal and Soucek providing dangerous overloads down the right. Luckily, the left is where the Scots have THEIR best players, so it could be a great tactical battle. Kick off is at 2pm, I’ll bring you all the build up and team news until about 12.30, and then it will be over to the mighty Rob Bagchi for the match blog.