Steven Reid admits time management is of “key” importance to Scotland’s European Championship campaign.
Steve Clarke’s squad are in La Finca, Spain to prepare for the Scots’ first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.
Scotland will take on Holland in a friendly Portugal on Wednesday before an away challenge match against Luxembourg on June 6.
They will then travel to Rockliffe Hall near Darlington to set up base at Middlesbrough’s training ground ahead of their opening group match against Czech Republic at Hampden Park on June 14.
After that is a trip to Wembley to play Auld Enemy England on June 18 before a game against Croatia in Glasgow on June 22, with the hope of knockout games to follow.
Assistant manager Reid, who featured in the 2002 World Cup for Republic of Ireland, noted the length of time the players will be away from home.
He said: “That’s probably one of the key points about international tournaments.
“I remember when I went away in 2002, although it is the pinnacle of your career to get to a major tournament, it’s not easy for everybody being away from home and family for a month, (especially) if you are a player who isn’t getting too many minutes.
“I remember in that Republic squad there were players who got no minutes in the whole tournament.
“It’s not always easy. It is about keeping the group occupied.
“It is a squad picked on ability but character as well. It is that club environment, they enjoy being with each other, that is the key thing.
“The golf course is on site, maybe a few will go and have a round at the right times with a few quizzes here and there.
“The restrictions are still in place as well so it is not like before where you could leave the site and go to a restaurant.
“We still need to be very careful and keep the bubble protected.
“We are quite limited in what we can do but the bigger picture is that it is a month of your life where you can create history. That is the key point.”
Reid admits Scotland’s impending appearance in a major finals for the first time in 23 years is starting to feel real.
The Nottingham Forest first team coach said: “It does, the build-up has been a long one.
“We had the World Cup qualifiers to deal with first, which was the focus, but the last few weeks has been about getting the squad picked and now it is real.
“We obviously have two of the boys who will meet up with us in Portugal, Billy (Gilmour) and Scott (McTominay).
“Now it is about managing the loads of the players, some have had a slightly longer break than others.
“It is a balancing act in getting the training spot on before we have the two friendly games.
“It would be nice to win the two games and go into the tournament in the best shape possible and full of confidence.
“We want to go into the tournament as confident as possible, we want to win both games but ultimately it is a bit of a fitness exercise as well.”
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