Nicola Sturgeon has said all of Scotland is “absolutely behind” Steve Clarke and the men’s football team as they prepare for Euro 2020.
Ahead of Scotland’s opening game in the tournament next week, the First Minister and other political leaders sent the squad their best wishes.
Monday’s game against the Czech Republic will be the first time the men’s team have played at a major tournament for 23 years.
Speaking at the start of the First Minister’s Questions, Sturgeon said she wanted to “take the opportunity to wish Steve and all of the Scotland men’s football team all of the best as they prepare to embark on this European Championship campaign”.
Her comments came after Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross – a linesman as well as an MP and MSP – spoke out to “wish Steve Clark and his entire squad all the very best for the Euros”.
He said: “It has been a long 23-year wait for the men’s international team to qualify for a major finals, and I know in their first match against the Czech Republic on Monday, against the Auld Enemy on Friday and their final group match against Croatia on June 22, they will have the support, the hopes and the backing of the entire country.”
Sturgeon said that when the Scotland players take to the pitch on Monday “23 long years of frustration and pain and standing on the sidelines will come to an end”.
She added: “The team has done us proud already but to echo Douglas Ross, and I am sure everybody across the chamber, we are all absolutely behind them as they kick the first ball, and behind them all the way through the tournament, and we all hope that is for quite a considerable way into this tournament, who knows, perhaps the whole way.
“But good luck to Steve and all of the team.”
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar also wished the Scotland national team well, saying they would give people “a summer of hope, optimism and cheer after what’s been a really difficult year for us all”.
He added: “This is their opportunity to catch up with the great leadership shown by the women’s team in recent years.”
The Euro 2020 championship is taking place this year, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the contest to be delayed from last year.