The Cypriot city of Larnaca is the next destination on Scotland’s road to Germany.
The sandy beaches and picturesque coastline are an apt setting for the next instalment of these Euro 2024 qualifiers – with Steve Clarke’s squad riding the crest of a wave.
Four wins from four sees the national side sitting pretty at the top of the group and could even confirm our ticket to Germany as early as next week if results go our way as Scotland face England at Hampden.
Cyprus will prove sticky opponents – and it’s not just because as I write this Larnaca is basking in 34 degrees of heat.
The temperature will of course be a factor, but this is a game Scotland can’t take their eyes off – even if the glamour friendly with the auld enemy is just around the corner.
Despite three defeats so far in the group Cyprus have shown some dangers, especially at home.
Assistant coach John Carver, who has experienced Cypriot football before as manager of Omonia Nicosia, was the first to ensure this game is not taken lightly – warning Steve Clarke’s men the temperatures won’t be the only difficult obstacle to overcome.
However, Steve Clarke has worked wonders with this squad and if there’s one thing for certain – it’s that Clarke will be 100% on making it five wins out of five in a qualifying campaign for the first time ever.
The last time the Scots ventured this far down the Mediterranean Sea was in 2019 as we beat Cyprus 2-1 in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Ryan Christie was on the scoresheet that night and speaking this week was adamant this squad is hungry for another taste of a major finals.
The Highlander couldn’t speak highly enough of the squad Clarke has assembled, both in terms of quality but also camaraderie.
This is a group of players who would run through brick walls for each other and – as we’ve already seen in this qualifying campaign – when the going gets tough, it’s that quality that brings Scotland through.
Let’s be frank – having already beaten everyone in the group, this is a game we should be winning.
A confident squad, littered with talent, who have momentum on their side.
Three points would be massive and would put us on the cusp of qualification with still three games left to play.
No doubt the AEK Stadium will throw up some some tricky situations on Friday night for Steve Clarke and his players – but one thing’s for sure – this squad know how to win.