Scotland, the long wait for a new finals tournament, heroes of the pack

Scotland have a proud history as a footballing nation with a great number of triumphs in Europe, but lately it’s been little or no seen for Scottish football in the type of events. The national team were last in a final of a tournament in 1998, qualifying for the World Cup in France that year.

The win v. Serbia makes a new era for Scottish football, and after many attempts by a number of managers including notable names such as Bertie Vogts and Gordon Strachan, it was not until under the command of Steve Clarke, previously a manager at Kilmarnock, with a single goal from Celtic’s Ryan Christie and a final penalty from Norwich City midfielder and sub Kenny McLean that Scotland again secured a place in the Euro’s.

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The recent qualification for the Euro’s is their third time in this type of event also seen at the 1996 and 1992 tournaments in England and Sweden. The Scots first finals of a World Cup or the Euro’s was back in 1950 when they qualified for the Brazil tournament but withdrew. They got their chance four years later in 1954 and was also in the finals in Sweden in 1958.

Then it took a number of years before getting to a tournament again, getting through in 1974 and they left West Germany without losing a single game, but did not manage to win with the goals needed as the nation of Zaire kept the Scotland team to just a 2-0 defeat, Joe Jordan and Peter Lorimer scored the goals, but they were not able to score more and lost out on goal difference to Brazil and Yugoslavia who went through to the final stages.

Scotland became something of an expert to get into the finals of the World Cup and was back in 1978, and the only British nation to get into the finals in Argentina, as the same happened four years earlier. Scotland just went on to get into the World Cup’s and was there for the next three finals in 1982, 1986, 1990, but as before not able to get through to the next step and despite having good players and a number of great stars, not really able to field a team of players that could go on and take that hurdle to get out of the group stages.

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As written above their final contest was back in 1998, and now 22 years later or 23 when the tournament starts you will have Scotland back in this party and they will be there together with two other British nations, Wales and England.

Steve Clarke and his assistant John Carver are the two that will be taking this Scotland team to a tournament that surely will be played as the system makes it possible to get this over the line with many events in different countries and hopefully it will give great value.

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The team is not one of those “glamour” once as we all remember from the past, it’s a team of hard working heroes as they are prepared to go that extra mile and be knitted together in a way that makes them a difficult group to compete against. Steve Clarke is a former Scotland international, but during a career with St Mirren and Chelsea, which lasted for 16 years he was just called on 6 times during a 7 year spell, and strangely enough never picked for any of the finals of the World Cup’s or Euro’s, so he will be also a debutant when entering this time.

Looking at the game v. Serbia and also taking a closer look at the squad and the players who have been selected in the past you just have to look very closely to find any form of glam, but of course you should take notice of the rise of Southampton and Aston Villa who both have a player in this special Scotland squad. John McGinn and Stuart Armstrong are two players who are on a rise with teams that are competing well in the Premier League, so we just have to wait and see how this will work out.

To see Scotland back in the best party is great. Few believe they will be among the contenders to win the Euro’s, but to see them go on towards the next hurdle would be exciting. This is a battling group with players and management that shows the grit needed to make a nation proud.

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