Scotland make their point against England, now more history beckons


Glasgow (AFP) – Scotland emerged from a 0-0 draw against old enemy England with their pride, a point and a chance of making the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time ever.

After a 23-year wait just to reach an international finals, Scotland’s bubble could easily have been burst by Patrik Schick’s stunning 50-metre strike for the Czech Republic to seal a 2-0 win at Hampden on Monday.

That appeared Scotland’s best shot at points on paper with two of the 2018 World Cup semi-finalists in England and Croatia to come.

But with Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney restored to the defence and an outstanding full international debut from Billy Gilmour, Scotland held the Three Lions at bay with relative ease to raise hopes once more.

“On another night we could’ve came away with more, but we take a point, it keeps us alive,” said Scotland captain Andy Robertson.

“It’s important to use this feeling and the fans being happy into Tuesday and try and use it to get a positive result.”

Manager Steve Clarke rounded on his side’s critics from their opening defeat.

Two slick finishes from the tournament’s top scorer Schick aside, Scotland more than matched the Czechs and had plenty of chances to have at least salvaged a draw.

“It was a little bit unfair some of the stuff that came our way after Monday’s result, not Monday’s performance,” said Clarke.

“The objective tonight was to get something out the game so we could go to the last game with a genuine chance of qualifying out the group and we’ve done that.”

Victory against Croatia should be enough to take Scotland into the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Yet, as many a suffering member of the Tartan Army knows, hope is often what kills Scotland’s chances.

There remain issues for Clarke to solve, most notably up front as they are yet to score on their return to the big international stage.

But there is a renewed belief heading to Hampden on Tuesday.

Far from the team that stunned Argentina and England on their way to the World Cup final three years, Croatia have so far shown little to scared of at Euro 2020.

Captain Luka Modric criticised his side’s lack of organisation in a 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic on Friday that also left them with just one point from their opening two games.

Ivan Perisic, 32, and Modric, 35, remain Croatia’s main men, but coach Zlatko Dalic admitted his side are “struggling” and “need energy.”

By contrast, Scotland’s future looks bright thanks to Gilmour.

Against a plethora of Premier League stars, the 20-year-old walked away with the man-of-the-match award on his first start for his country.

“I’ve said for a long time he’ll be part of the future of Scottish football,” added Clarke.

“We know what we’ve got in camp, we’ll try to keep a lid on things and performances like that will do him no harm whatsoever.”

If Gilmour the apprentice can get the better of Modric the master come Tuesday night, Scotland can dream of making more history.

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