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Euro 2024 calling to improving Scotland

Sitting pretty at the top of Group A with a 100% record after four games and with a play-off place already in the bag, Scotland’s Euro 2024 qualifying prospects are in rude health.

Major tournament appearances have been few and far between for the Scots in the past 25 years, with the Tartan Army experiencing more than their fair share of qualification heartache. 

But the road Steve Clarke’s men have opted for to reach Germany and next summer’s European Championships has so far been bump-free, with Tuesday's 2-0 win over Georgia maintaining their perfect start to qualifying. 

With 12 points already in the bag at the halfway stage, Scotland are now 1/5 to secure a top-two finish in their section and qualify automatically for Euro 2024.

And while Clarke remains wary of any pitfalls in the second half of qualifying, the swaggering Scots appear on an upward trajectory under the former Kilmarnock and West Brom boss

WhatEuro 2024
WhereVarious stadiums across Germany
WhenFriday, June 14th 2024 - Sunday, July 14th 2024
How to watchBBC and ITV
OddsEngland 5/1, France 5/1, Germany 11/2, Spain 9/1, Portugal 10/1, Scotland 80/1

Tartan Army dancing through the rain to Euro 2024

Euro 2020 is the only major tournament Scotland have qualified for in the last quarter of a century and the Tartan Army have had to be patient in between. 

That patience came in handy during Tuesday's win over Georgia at Hampden Park when the game was delayed by 90 minutes after a torrential downpour left standing water on the pitch. 

But just like the majority of obstacles Clarke’s men have faced recently, Scotland were able to overcome the lengthy stoppage to record a fourth-straight victory in this qualifying campaign, coming hot on the heels of their dramatic comeback over Erling Haaland’s Norway last weekend. 

Those wins add up to the Scots being eight points clear of Georgia and Norway, while group favourites Spain are nine points adrift - but have two games in hand. 

Scotland are 5/2 to win Group A and having already seen off Spain at home and Norway in Oslo, topping the standings looks very achievable. 

Clarke remaining grounded

Head coach Clarke admits his team have laid the foundations to reach Euro 2024, but is eager to point out they are only halfway through the qualifying campaign, while three of their last four games being away from home.

The Scots still have to go to Spain and Georgia, with visits to the latter having killed off Scottish qualifying ambitions in the recent past. 

But with 15 points usually enough to qualify from a five-team group, it's hard to be pessimistic over Scotland’s prospects of getting across the line, especially when factoring in the improvements they have made since Clarke took charge. 

Scots on the up? 

It hasn’t always been plain sailing under Clarke with a disappointing showing at Euro 2020 overshadowing his achievement of getting the national side to a first major tournament in 23 years. 

That was followed by missing out on the World Cup via the play-offs. But more recently, Scotland have consistently delivered positive results.

They achieved promotion to Nations League A last year by topping a group featuring Ukraine, Republic of Ireland and Armenia, an achievement that guaranteed them the safety net of a Euro 2024 qualification play-off berth. 

The win over Georgia also made it six home wins on the spin in all competitions.

Clarke finding answers to long-term problems

Winning hasn’t always come easy to Scotland, so to string together so many victories is an impressive feat by Clarke’s men. 

So too is the Scots’ recent efforts in front of goal, with the team scoring at least twice in four successive games for the first time since 1983. 

So often, Scotland’s lack of cutting edge has been their downfall, but Clarke has found an answer to that in the absence of a top-class striker. 

By pushing the likes of John McGinn and Scott McTominay further up the field, the Ayrshire tactician has found a new source for goals, one that’s currently paying handsome returns. 

Clarke has also found a system that lets him squeeze Scotland’s abundance of excellent full-backs into the same side and there’s little wonder the Scottish FA extended his contract through to 2026 before Euro 2024 qualifying started.

These are heady days for Scotland, who aren’t just set to qualify for next summer’s European Championship but qualify well, with the team currently on course to be placed in Pot B for the finals’ group stage draw, amongst the other stronger qualifiers.

Clarke has avoided speculation over which pot Scotland will be in for the Euro 2024 group draw. But for those members of the Tartan Army booking trips to Germany and dreaming of winning two games at an international tournament for the first time ever, anything seems possible right now.

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