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Steve Clarke provides Scotland squad fitness update ahead of Euro 2024 opener

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Steve Clarke provides Scotland squad fitness update ahead of Euro 2024 opener

There have been concerns about whether Stuart Armstrong, Kenny McLean, Scott McTominay, Andy Robertson and Lawrence Shankland would be able to feature in the Group A encounter during training in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the Austrian border in recent days.

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However, Clarke was pleased to report that all 26 members of his squad are in contention for a place in his starting line-up as he spoke to the world’s media at Bayern Munich’s stadium at his pre-match press conference. “Everyone is fully fit, flying and desperate to be selected,” he said. “They’re ready to go.”

It will be a major upset if Scotland can get a result, even a draw, against Germany in the Euro 2024 curtain raiser in Bavaria this evening. But Clarke masterminded wins over Spain at home and Norway away during qualifying and believes that anything is possible if his charges perform at their best and do no let the enormity of the occasion affect them. 

“It’s quite a busy press conference so it must be a big game!” he said with a smile as he entered the media room at the Allianz Arena. “Obviously it’s a big game, but for us it’s the opening game of a four team section so we’ll have three matches.

“We know what we have to do to qualify out of the section and that’s the only thing we’re focussed on. The enormity of the opening game or whatever? That’s a little bit of a sideshow and hopefully we don’t get too involved in that.”

Clarke added: “Germany are a good team. I think a lot of people have been trying to talk them down a little bit lately. When Julian first went in, he probably found it similar to how I found it when I became Scotland head coach.

“He had to try and find out his best team and he’s managed to do that. When the draw was first made I felt this would be a really tough game and nothing has made me change my mind.

“But one of the mantras I’ve always had is: ‘Respect everyone and fear no-one!’ So, while we have a lot of respect for the host nation, hopefully on the night we can cause them problems. We’ve settled in well, trained well and we’re looking forward to the match.

“They have to deal with the pressure themselves. That’s what they have to do. But most of them have played in big matches before. I’m sure they’ll all handle the occasion quite well.”

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Asked if he thought Scotland could draw with or defeat Germany, he said: “Absolutely. That’s why we’re here. We feel as though we can get a good result every time we step onto the pitch. Otherwise, what’s the point in going out there. We feel we’re ready and hopefully you’ll see that pan Friday night.”

It is believed that over 200,000 Scots have travelled to Germany this week to cheer on Robertson and his team mates in their matches against the home favourites, Switzerland and Hungary. Clarke is eager for his side to give their fans something to celebrate.

(Image: PA) “We know the supporters are here in their numbers to support us,” he said. “We know they are going to be right behind us in every minute of every game. That’s really important for us.

“We’ve had a little taste of that in Garmisch-Partenkirchen where we are based. It made the walk to training more enjoyable. I know there are many more here in Germany who we haven’t seen and I hope they enjoy themselves.”

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Clarke continued: “I can enjoy it. I think now that with the experience I’ve picked up along the way, I can do that. I have been lucky enough to have been involved in big matches throughout my career, for example Champions League finals.

“I was lucky enough to be involved in big games like that. I have also been a manager at the European Championships as well. But I’ll enjoy this one even better once we’ve got four points on the board.”

 

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