Euro 2020: Scotland boss Steve Clarke says there is no pressure on his side

Scotland manager Steve Clarke says the pressure will be off his side when they begin their Euro 2020 campaign against the Czech Republic at Hampden Park on Monday.

Scotland have qualified for a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup and, far from that being a burden on his players’ shoulders, Clarke said it could give them the freedom to play at their best.

“I think when you qualify for the first time in 23 years, you probably feel a little bit less pressure,” said Clarke.

“We have done well to be in the tournament. We are looking forward to it.

“We are going to go and give our best and give our all in every single game. And we are going to try and make the next step to the knockout stages, which would be a first for the men’s national team.

“The country, the Tartan Army, they can get over-excited for us.

“We have to be excited to be involved in the tournament, but we have to keep emotional control so when we get to the match we play to our full potential.”

Clarke believes his players have what it takes to handle facing national teams with more recent experience of playing in big tournaments.

“One of my assistants, (former Republic of Ireland international) Steven Reid, went to the World Cup with his country, so he has some experience, he will be able to share that with the players,” Clarke said.

“We have also got a lot of big-game players.

“Andy Robertson has played in World Championships, he has won the Champions League. Billy Gilmour was involved with Chelsea a couple of weeks ago in the Champions League (final).

“Scott McTominay played in a European final. I have coached a team in the final of the Champions League myself.

“We understand big games, big moments. Big games are for big players and we believe we have enough big players to handle the occasion.”

Clarke’s final message to the players on Monday afternoon will also be designed to help them relax and produce their best.

“Go and enjoy yourself, enjoy the game,” he said. “Normally when players are relaxed, they play well.

“So we try to keep them calm, keep them relaxed, and I tell them to go and enjoy the moment.”

Clarke also says he has settled on his starting line-up ahead of their opening match.

He said: “As you would expect, it’s a difficult selection process – 26 players all doing their best in training, a really high level of training.

“A lot of them have done really well for me before in international games. Difficult decisions, but I am paid to make them.”

Robertson: Denmark players the heroes of Euro 2020

Scotland captain Andy Robertson has sent Christian Eriksen his best wishes on behalf of his squad after the Denmark playmaker collapsed during their tournament opener against Finland on Saturday.

Eriksen was given emergency CPR on the pitch and is currently being treated at a hospital in Denmark

Robertson paid tribute to the Denmark players who shielded their team-mate from the crowd and cameras.

He said: “I’d like to send my well-wishes to Christian Eriksen, his family, all the Danish players, the Danes as a country.

“What we witnessed was scary for the football community. Luckily the news today is a wee bit more positive.

“The way the Danish players dealt with what must have been a heart-breaking thing for all of them, they stood up to it.

“That will be the picture I remember and everyone should remember because, when one of their friends was in a bad place, they stood up and protected him.

“Whatever else happens in this tournament, for me they will be the heroes.

“Their captain (Simon Kjaer), it nearly brought a tear to my eye the way he stood up.”

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