Ahead of the upcoming Euro 2020 semi-final play-offs at home to Israel and Nations League games with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Steve Clarke’s Scotland has announced its 26-mansquad. Kieran Tierney was called once again after the Arsenal man’s return to duty last month, while Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay returns after outings at centre-back last time out.
If Clarke’s side win at Hampden, they will face either Norway or Serbia for a place at next summer’s tournament. If they reach the finals and win the spot for next year’s event, it is going to be Scotland’s first major finals since the 1998 World Cup in France.All three games at Hampden Park will be played behind closed doors due the coronavirus restrictions.
“You have to respect the magnitude of the [Israel] game,” said Clarke. “I’ve spoken to the players in previous camps about the chance to make history for their country. The players are aware of the size of the game, what it means to the country, and we’re all determined to put on a good show and make sure we’re still involved come November.”
Scotland drew 1-1 with Israel at Hampden in the Nations League last month, and Clarke is keen to reach the finals when they meet again on 8 October. “The last game against them re-emphasised that they are a really good team with good attacking options. It will come down to what it always comes down to – don’t make mistakes and hope that someone can come up with something special for Scotland,” he said.
The 26-man Scotland squad are as follows: Goalkeepers: Marshall (Derby County), McCrorie (Livingston), McLaughlin (Rangers). Defenders: Cooper (Leeds United), Gallagher (Motherwell), McKenna (Aberdeen), O’Donnell (Motherwell), Palmer (Sheff Wednesday), Porteous (Hibs), Robertson (Liverpool), Taylor (Celtic), Tierney (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Armstrong (Southampton), Christie (Celtic), Fleck (Sheffield United), Fraser (Newcastle United), Jack (Rangers), McGinn (Aston Villa), McGregor (Celtic), McLean (Norwich City), McTominay (Manchester United). Forwards: Burke (Sheffield United), Dykes (Queens Park Rangers), Patterson (Cardiff City), McBurnie (Sheffield United), Shankland(Dundee United)
Half of Clarke’s squad have domestic matches prior to the Israel game but the manager insists his players will be ready. Scotland lead their Nations League group after beating a depleted Czech Republic in Olomouc and drawing with Israel at Hampden in their opening two matches. The Euro 2020 play-offs will decide the final four places at the tournament.