The moment is almost upon us.
On Monday, Scotland kick-off their Euro Finals campaign against the Czech Republic at Hampden.
Twenty-six young men have been given the responsibility of carrying the nation’s hopes, and here’s how I see them doing.
We have three excellent goalkeepers in David Marshall, Craig Gordon and Jon McLaughlin.
David was the hero in the penalty shoot-out against Serbia to get us to the Finals, and that must never be forgotten.
Due to injury and not quite reaching the high standards he has set in the past few years, he was in and out of the Derby County team since the turn of the year.
But he is still one of the best in the business, and that’s why I think he will start against the Czechs.
However, if Steve gives Craig the nod, he will not let us down.
My view is that Stephen O’Donnell, Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney are certain starters.
O’Donnell and Robertson both have the ability to get up and down the sides, and provide ammunition in attacking situations. Andrew, in particular, is exceptional at that.
We then have to choose two players to go in alongside Tierney in the heart of the defence. It’s about getting the right balance.
I’d go for Grant Hanley and Liam Cooper.
Grant had an excellent season with Norwich City, and led by example. He is a warrior with plenty of experience.
Liam is the captain of Leeds United, and really looked the part for them in the English Premier League.
His positional play is very good, and he reads the game well. He also has an aggressive side to his game, which I like to see in central defenders.
Steve will make sure that they are well-drilled and ready for the challenge. Steve always sets up very well defensively, and this tournament will be no different.
Teams will need to play very well to score against Scotland, that’s for sure.
I believe John McGinn and Scott McTominay are also certain starters.
John is the current Scotland International Player of the Year, and he deserved that award. His form for Aston Villa has been first-class, and he has added finesse to his overall game.
Scott has also matured for Manchester United, and his performance in the Europa League Final against Villarreal was first-class. I loved the way he drove the game into the opposition half.
But who will join the dynamic duo in the heart of the team? My view is that it is between Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor and Billy Gilmour.
Right now, I’d go for Stuart. He has really impressed me when playing for Southampton, and he had a fine performance recently against Liverpool at Anfield.
However, could anyone argue if Steve opted for Callum or Billy? No, I don’t think so.
Both are wonderful talents. Callum has been doing it at the highest level for five or six years with Celtic.
Billy has recently emerged as a proper part of the Chelsea first-team squad and he has all the attributes to go a long, long way in the game.
Choosing the final midfielder could be Steve’s toughest job. That’s why the training camp and friendly games are so important.
They’ll help him decide. It’s definitely up for grabs.
Che Adams was late to the international party, but that won’t stop Steve from giving him the nod as the No. 1 striker.
The Southampton star looks every inch the part, and I fancy him to get on the scoresheet in the Euros. He has clever movement to get into threatening positions inside the box.
The temptation would be to go for Lyndon Dykes alongside him, and play with two up top. But I think Steve will resist that, certainly for the opening game.
It could well be that circumstances dictate that they play as a two later in the game, or that Kevin Nisbet is introduced.
Lyndon has been great for Scotland and will be an asset in this tournament.
James Forrest and Ryan Fraser are also viable options. Both prefer playing in wide areas and taking the game to full-backs, and cutting inside when necessary.
James is very fresh just now, and has looked the part since he returned from injury to play for Celtic last month.
But Ryan is also a handful and could operate very well just off of Che. He has been good for Newcastle United and his trickery on the ball, burst of speed over 10 yards could be vital.
That’s why I think Steve will go for him. But, again, there is definitely one place up for grabs and it’s down to the guys to show Steve they are the right men for the job.
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