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Scotland ready to ride another emotional rollercoaster as they bid to end 23-year exile in style at Euro 2020

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

If you want to know exactly what it means for Scotland to be at Euro 2020, then type the words ‘Ryan Christie interview’ into Google.

The Scotland midfielder’s interview in November of last year, after they beat Serbia on penalties in a play-off to qualify for the tournament, instantly went viral and it remains famous to this day.

Christie could barely hold back the tears as he spoke afterwards. In many ways, his emotion summed up the mood of the whole of Scotland as, after a wait of 23 years, they are finally back competing at a major tournament.

“People coming and telling me they shed a tear with me was nice,” Christie told BBC Scotland. “At the time, there were a few other people crying around me and I was trying my best to hold it in. I didn’t quite manage it.”

Scotland are now determined to make sure they make the most of being back on the big stage.

For manager Steve Clarke and his side, this is only the start and there is belief among the squad that they can get out of a group that contains Croatia, the Czech Republic and, of course, England.

“Since the manager came in he’s always said we’re a good squad but lacking a wee bit of belief,” said Scotland captain Andy Robertson. “Being able to qualify for a tournament for the first time in 23 years gives you belief you can do it again and go and perform.

“I'd like us to have more belief in ourselves, more confidence, in being able to show what we can do. Hopefully we can do that on the biggest stage. If we do, we’re a right good team on our day.

“We’re all so excited. It’s been 23 long years waiting. We can feel the nation is excited for it and it’s important we try to keep a smile on their faces.”

The belief among Scotland fans that they can cause a few upsets this summer is born out of the fact they have a squad with talent - and some familiar faces from the Premier League too.

That has caused Clarke some headaches, most notably at left-back where the presence of both Kieran Tierney and Robertson has forced him to get creative.

Scotland have shifted to a 3-5-2 formation, with Tierney acting as a third centre-back and Robertson playing as the left wing-back.

The tactic has proved effective, and the presence of Aston Villa’s John McGinn, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay and Southampton’s Che Adams underline the team’s quality. Chelsea teenager Billy Gilmour could also shine if given the chance.

It is why Scotland fans are dreaming of more emotional nights this summer, just like that one back in Serbia, with a clash against England on June 18 the undoubted highlight.

“It’s a massive game, and as a Scotland player it doesn’t come much bigger than playing in an international tournament against England,” said Tierney.

“It’s huge for both sides. Of course, England will start as favourites, but emotions will be high so anything can happen.”

Scotland, and Christie, are ready for another emotional rollercoaster.

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