Scotland manager Steve Clarke says the squad he has picked for the Euros will give everything to try and reach the knockout stage – and will be “legends” if they cause an upset this summer.
The national team boss revealed the 26 players he has selected for the finals and included three uncapped players in his squad.
David Turnbull, Nathan Patterson and Billy Gilmour have been called up but there was disappointment for others, with the likes of Liam Palmer, Leigh Griffiths and Andy Considine missing out.
Clarke admitted there were some difficult decisions but said that he was happy with his squad and believes the choices give him plenty of options as he plans to take on Czech Republic, England and Croatia. The coach said he’ll take his squad into the group fixtures aiming for success despite their underdog status.
“We’re going there with the intention of getting out of the group, of course,” Clarke said. “There’s no point in going if you’re just going to make up the numbers.
“We’re going there to be as competitive as we can be and if that gets us enough points to get out of the group and into the knockout stage then the lads can be legends.”
Though he handed call-ups to three under-21 internationals who haven’t had a senior cap, Clarke justified the addition of Nathan Patterson, David Turnbull and Billy Gilmour and said that everyone heading out to the training camp next week on a level playing field and with a chance to force their way into the team for the opening group game against Czech Republic on June 14.
Patterson and Turnbull have caught the eye for Rangers and Celtic up here,” he said. “Gilmour is a player I’ve known a long time and he is very well regarded at Chelsea.
“I think they all add something to the squad. Everyone goes to the training camp in Spain on a level footing with the chance to break into the team for the Euros.”
The coach revealed that he had made difficult phone calls to Andy Considine and Liam Palmer after deciding they would not make his squad but sent an open message to every player who had missed out, urging them to “stay fit” and be ready for a late call if he had to replace players at short notice.
Among those absent from the 26-man group was Ryan Gauld, whose form in Portugal had seen many call for his inclusion. Clarke explained that although he had watched Gauld in televised games, the creative attacker was trying to break into a very competitive area of the team.
“Because of the restrictions it was difficult to get to Portugal to watch Ryan,” Clarke said. “Fortunately you can see everything on TV. Good player, had a good season even though his team have struggled.
“But when you look at the area of the squad he’s trying to get into, attacking midfield, you’ve got Stuart Armstrong, John McGinn. It was always going to be tough and unfortunately for Ryan he’s missed out.”