Ian Durrant reckons Scotland have the right blend to create a bit of history at Euro 2020 and reach the knockout stages for the first time.
The former Rangers and Scotland midfielder won 20 caps for his country and ahead of today’s Group D clash with Czech Republic at Hampden, he believes the likes of Lanarkshire stars Kieran Tierney and David Turnbull have helped gaffer Steve Clarke find the right balance to make an impact in their first major tournament in 23 years.
Countless campaigns and squads have passed by since a 3-0 defeat to Morocco in Saint Etienne at the France ’98 World Cup sent Scotland into the major tournament wilderness.
But Durrant, who is currently coaching with Lowland League East Kilbride, says the right mixture of youth and experience in Steve Clarke’s current crop offers hope that Scotland can do something no other squad before them has managed.
He told Lanarkshire Live Sport : “Stevie’s brought in a bit of youth with Turnbull, Patterson and young Gilmour.
“The three of them could be absolute superstars for Scotland.
“Added to McGinn, Armstrong, Christie, McGregor, Cooper, Tierney and Robertson, I think it’s a great blend there.
“We’ve got an ideal opportunity to make a good start with a home game against the Czech Republic.
“It will be hard, but you couldn’t ask for much more in your first game and if we can win our home games we should qualify for the next round.
“It would be typical Scotland if we start thinking about finishing third, we’ll be last.
“There’s two winnable games there and the squad just now seems to be full of confidence.
“They’re scoring goals and they are not losing many.
“They look a right compact unit and since Stevie came in, he’s got ideal players for every position now.
“On our day, if we can take our chances we can make the nation proud again.”
Today finally ends that agonising wait to play at a major tournament and Durrant admits he never imagined it would take over two decades to mix it with Europe’s elite once again.
He added: “We were qualifying for World Cups and European Championships [when he was playing] and I was involved in the squad for Euro 2000 qualifying, when we lost to England in the play-off.
“Since then it’s been a real barren spell for Scotland, which is something we weren’t known for.
“From the 70s onwards we always seemed to make the big tournaments.
“It’s been a long wait but hopefully we make the most of it and, with the squad Stevie Clarke has got together now, there should be a lot of optimism.”