Scotland's 0-0 draw with England has kickstarted their Euro 2020 campaign. With a point on the board now, the mission is clear: win the final game against Croatia.
Scotland were strong, having the better of the opportunities and limiting their opposition to precious little. Here are Kenny Millar's five takes of what Steve Clarke should feel pleased about from that game.
Scotland the brave
Scotland showed up when it counted.
Kieran Tierney – half-fit after sustaining a calf injury in training – was a colossus, John McGinn used that cultured backside of his like only he can and Che Adams ran and ran and ran and ran.
Steve Clarke’s side left it all on the pitch and earned their stay of execution in the Euros. Inevitably, there were some heart-in-mouth moments late on as a frustrated England pushed in vain for a winner but this was no long-ball, backs-to-the-wall effort.
Take a bow, Stephen O'Donnell
After the disappointment of the opening loss to the Czech Republic, no player was scrutinised more than right-back Stephen O’Donnell.
The Motherwell man hasn’t been helped by the rapid rise of Rangers rookie Nathan Patterson, who, by all accounts, has impressed in training and pushed hard for a starting spot.
The knives were out for the 29-year-old, who is such a popular figure within the dressing room, and he responded with a towering performance. There was nothing particularly flashy about O’Donnell but his decision-making was spot on throughout and he could easily have decided the game with a shot that brought the best out of Jordan Pickford.
Tonight, he can hold his head high.
Billy Gilmour is really, really good at football
Quote this with your Man of the Match 💬#ENG #SCO #ENGSCO #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/swCBaiZwHJJune 18, 2021
Billy Gilmour’s time is now in a Scotland shirt.
It shouldn’t have taken a 75-minute masterclass in looking after the ball to convince any lingering sceptics, but he has surely now cemented his place in the Scots’ midfield. Graeme Souness – not a man to dish out praise lightly – labelled the 20-year-old Chelsea talent ‘the best player on the pitch’ and he can be proud of his competitive international debut.
Gilmour is the poster boy for the Scottish FA’s ambitious Performance School programme, where handpicked kids are given additional coaching around their schoolwork and it was clearly time well spent.
If only he’d played against the Czechs.
All hail the Tartan Army
Scotland’s famously loyal supporters have been stuck on the outside looking in for the last 23 years – desperate for a ticket to the show.
Judging by the scenes in and around London over the past couple of days, a lot of them have successfully made up for lost time.
The major international tournaments are all the better for it, and not least for the charitable exploits of the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal.
They raise funds in every country that the national team visits and, pre-match, presented a cheque for £3000 to KEEN London – who provide fun one-to-one activities for children with special needs.
They remain some of the best ambassadors Scotland has.
Tuesday is massive
Scotland have their lifeline.
It was never going to be easy, but this monumental shift at Wembley keeps the dream alive.
No Scotland team has ever reached the knockout stage of an international tournament, and knowing you need to beat Croatia doesn’t make it sound any more straightforward a task.
But there is hope to be found in a squad that toughed it out when it counted in Serbia to qualify and displayed no shortage of graft or craft in London.
It’s there for the taking and that’s all we could have asked for going into the final group game.
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