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Euro 2024 countdown: Scotland’s Ryan Porteous on challenge ahead



There may have been a slight bit of self-interest on Cleverley’s part, that said. With Porteous already on 14 yellow cards for the season – he might be calmer, but he’s still no angel – another would have seen him suspended for three matches at the start of next campaign.

Nevertheless a golden month of rest and recuperation awaits for Porteous, which could be vital before the tournament begins.

Looking forward means looking back, and it is impossible to think about Scotland’s prospects in Germany without reliving the friendly defeats in March.

Porteous and Scotland played well for the majority of the match away to the Netherlands before it all fell apart in a 4-0 defeat.

Perhaps in his favour, Porteous was then rotated out for what turned out to be a hugely disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Northern Ireland.

It was an international double-header that left question marks over a dip in form for the national team, but Porteous believes the rigours of the qualifying campaign may have played a part.

“I think it could maybe be mental fatigue a little bit,” says Porteous.

“We had a fantastic start to the group. We started like a house on fire and we kept that going into the Spain game – even away from home, we got so close to taking something there. And then afterwards, we’ve hit a bit of a lull.

“[Against the Dutch] we had a game plan. It was slightly different to our game plans before against the top teams. And I think it worked for 65, 70 minutes.

“I think that’s probably the biggest difference that we need to make to compete with these [top] teams – do it for 90 minutes.

“If we make a couple of changes, everyone’s got to be on it and everyone’s got to adjust fast.

“That was a tough one to deal with, because I think we played so well for large periods of the game so to come away with a heavy defeat was really difficult to take. The lads took it quite badly.

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