The Scotland picture that paints Euro 2024 harsh reality as squad cut looms with Germany dreams to be dashed
The elation on the faces of every member of that Scotland squad that lapped up the Tartan Army’s acclaim at Hampden on Sunday night was a joy in itself. To say they deserved the moment is an understatement after a record breaking campaign that’s injected the pride back into those supporters.
But the brutal truth for some of those wearing the T Shirts bragging ‘We’re Off To Germany’ is...they won’t be. Simple maths means they can’t be. For the players, part one of the mission is complete - getting Scotland to Germany next summer. Part two is just beginning - the fight to make sure they’re on the plane.
And if ever there was a warning about the harsh reality that is guaranteed to hit some in the next seven months then it’s the same image of unbridled joy in Serbia three years ago when Steve Clarke’s class of 2020 ended 23 years of major tournament pain.
Clarke may be accused of being too loyal to players at times but that picture tells a very different story. For a start, three of the five players who held their nerve from 12 yards in that excruciating shoot-out against the Serbs to send us to the last Euros were nowhere near the finals the next summer.
Yes, Kenny McLean was cruelly robbed of his place through injury but Oli McBurnie and Leigh Griffiths were cut loose and have never been seen in a squad since.
Others who partied and conga’d in Belgrade were doing so not realising the impending blow to the gut too. Ryan Jack was harshly denied by injury like McLean. But Oliver Burke, Liam Palmer, Callum Paterson and Andy Considine simply missed the cut...the latter having as good as written the soundtrack to that success only to miss the chance to perform on the big stage.
That’s the pain facing some of those players