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Euros: Scotland in dreamland after stunning Spain

Scotland are already starting to believe in qualification for next year's Euros after Tuesday's sensational 2-0 victory over Spain left them top of Group A at this early stage.

After the routine 3-0 triumph over Cyprus at Hampden Park in their opening qualifier, the Scots faced their biggest test yet when three-time European champions Spain made the trip to Glasgow.

If Steve Clarke was after a fast start in front of a vociferous home crowd, that is exactly what he got as Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay crashed home a deflected opener with just seven minutes on the clock.

Having ridden their luck at times after that, Scotland doubled their advantage in the 51st minute when McTominay found the back of the net again, becoming the first player from his country to score a brace against Spain since Mo Johnston in a World Cup qualifier in November 1984.

Positivity in the Scotland camp

Clarke's troops were able to see out the 2-0 victory, earning their first win over La Roja since November 1984 and just their third competitive success over the 2010 world champions (1957, 1984 and 2023).

It leaves Scotland top of qualifying Group A after two matches, three points ahead of second-place Spain and a further two clear of Norway in third and Georgia in fourth. Although this is still early doors, the Scots must be feeling positive about their chances of qualifying for back-to-back Euros for the first time since 1996.

There are still some massive games to come for Scotland, who travel to Norway next on 17th June and also have to make the trip to Spain on 12th October. 

La Roja are expected to have more fluency under head coach Luis de la Fuente by that time, while the Norwegians will be a different prospect if Erling Haaland is injury-free and in the starting XI, the Manchester City striker having missed the weekend 0-3 loss in Spain and Tuesday's 1-1 stalemate in Tbilisi. 

Now is a time not to celebrate for Scotland, but it is one to be positive. They are riding high in first place and, if they were unable to finish in the top two, they still have the play-offs as a back-up because of their Nations League results.

Scotland can be backed at 5/1 to win Group A in the Group Betting market, while Spain are still favourites at 1/5 and Norway are priced at 10/1 to finish top of the pile.

A top two finish for the Scots in the Group Top 2 Yes/No market is on offer at 8/15, while it is 11/8 they do not claim one of the two qualifying spots.

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Greater experience proving pivotal

Scotland squads over previous years have often been dominated by players from both Celtic and Rangers, the two biggest clubs in the Scottish Premiership, but the current crop are spread out across various leagues around the world.

Only five players that ply their trade in Scotland's top flight were named in the squad for the two qualifiers, the rest being made up of individuals that feature in the Premier League, Serie A and the Championship.

No less than 10 players play in England's top division, while three of the individuals that are in the Championship have all had previous Premier League experience.

Testing yourself at a higher level domestically is only going to help when it comes to the national side and there are clear signs Scotland are benefitting from this.

Caution advised given past failings

The heartache Scotland have suffered in attempting to qualify for the Euros and World Cup over the years should act as a reminder to the current squad that they have achieved nothing yet.

In 2016 qualifying, the Scots were right in the mix to finish in the top two, while third place would have sent them into the play-offs and offered a final chance at making the group stage of the tournament.

However, a 1-0 loss in Georgia stopped Scotland dead in their tracks, with a defeat to Germany and a draw with Poland in their next two outings ultimately ending their chances of making the finals.

Scottish supporters know there could be something just around the corner to trip them up, so they will be cautiously optimistic of advancing from Group A and making the finals in Germany next year.

If you are really confident Scotland will make it out of qualifying, they are available at 100/1 to win the Euros for the first time. While lifting a trophy looks a long way away, Greece proved in the 2004 edition that anything can happen in tournament football and the Tartan Army are trending in the right direction with plenty quality in their ranks. 

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