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Charlie Christie: Counting the days until Scotland head to Germany

By Charlie Christie

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Scotland stars pictured with Caley Thistle youngsters two years ago.
Scotland stars pictured with Caley Thistle youngsters two years ago.

Like thousands of other Scots, I must admit to having had a tentative look at hotels and flights to Germany in June 2024 as we all savoured the uncharacteristically relaxed way our national team qualified for the European Championships next summer.

Whilst we would have loved to have achieved a positive result in Spain to maintain our unbeaten run and qualify on our own merit, nothing should detract from the achievement this squad of players have delivered which sees us going into our last two group games knowing the hard work is.

I was in Seville to watch the match and it was a difficult shift for the team against top class opposition on a very warm evening.

Spain started extremely well, and we were fortunate to go in at the break with the match still goalless.

The first 15 minutes of the second half saw Scotland get a foothold in the game for the first time.

When Scott McTominay struck that free kick just after the hour mark, the Tartan Army were in dreamland.

However, and certainly not for the first time, some rather dubious VAR question marks were raised.

What looked to me like a perfectly legitimate goal, was chalked off.

Spain got an undoubted lift from that poor decision and went on to win with two late goals.

Fans had to wait until Sunday evening before our qualification was confirmed as Spain followed up their win over Scotland with a deserved 1-0 win against Norway in Oslo.

The Scottish squad rightly celebrated in their Glasgow hotel before heading off for yet another

significant test against France in Lille on Tuesday night.

The pace, power and technique of the French side was exceptional, and Steve Clarke’s inexperienced line-up found the going tough.

But both Spain and France are two of the top 10 teams in the world.

We shouldn’t allow those two defeats to detract from the superb achievement of back-to-back European Championship qualifications.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke rightly made the point after the match that these teams are exactly the standard of opponents we need to play on a more regular basis if we aim to keep improving.

But he also reiterated his and the players desire to finish the group strongly with those final two matches in Georgia and at Hampden against Norway.

Two more wins would see us achieve 21 points out of a possible 24.

It would certainly be the best qualifying campaign I can remember and further testament to the progress made.

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