Scotland is living the dream as it heads towards the euro

John McGinn and his Scotland teammates are “living the dream” as they try to take their minds off playing in a second successive European Championship next summer.

Steve Clarke’s side booked a place in Germany last month before ending their campaign with back-to-back draws against Georgia and Norway.

Hampden were in celebration mode after drawing 3-3 against the Norwegians on Sunday, but McGinn added that the experience was “a bit strange for everyone” given the nature of how Scotland qualified.

“The campaign has been great,” the Aston Villa captain told BBC Scotland.

“I’m just so proud of the way the guys handled it. We have a team and a group of players that the country is so proud of and I think that showed at the end.

“I think the punters were a bit surprised that we had actually qualified. There was a strange atmosphere but hopefully we can get used to it.”

‘We had to create an identity’

Scotland’s progression to the postponed Euro 2020 final was achieved via successive penalty shootouts in play-off wins against Israel and Serbia.

This time, automatic qualification was secured after five wins from the first six group matches booked a place in Germany with two games to spare.

McGinn hopes this is an experience Scotland can “get used to”, while “making the way easier” for future selections by eventually becoming one nation.

Meanwhile, head coach Clarke reflected on “an evolution” that has taken the national team from a sorry state to successive European Championship finals under his leadership.

“I had to identify a core group,” he said on Viaplay. “We have adapted the system. During Covid I have had a lot of time to think. I sat at home and thought: ‘How can we tighten up at the back? How do we avoid conceding goals?’

“I came up with the idea of ​​the back three, which started with Scott McTominay there. We had to find a way of playing that was different and could become our identity.

“This group of players have now shown the Tartan Army and the people of Scotland that they want to turn up and do well.

“I want us to be competitive every time we step on the field and we need to be if we want to consistently qualify for major tournaments.”

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