Ben Gray: Predicting the Scotland squad for Euro 2024

In just 79 days time, Scotland will be involved in the European Championships’ opening match, taking on hosts Germany at Fußball Arena München, or Allianz Arena as it’s known more commonly; UEFA sponsorship rules having none of that!

Of course, Scotland ended their 23-year major tournament exile at the last Euros, but it didn’t feel the same.

Two of the games were played at Hampden in front of only 9,800 supporters due to Covid-restrictions, while the other was a goalless draw with England in monsoon conditions at Wembley.

So, the Dark Blues’ clash with Germany will be their first Euros match played outside the UK since 18 June 1992, a gap of 11,684 days, since a 3-0 hammering of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) in Norrköping, the team playing in place of the Soviet Union.

Steve Clarke’s side started this qualification campaign with five wins out of five, the first time Scotland had ever achieved this

The memories of Scott McTominay sleighing Spain, Georgia in the pouring rain and the turnaround in Oslo, “it’s Kenny McLean”, will never be forgotten.

When qualification was rubber stamped in October, courtesy of la Roja’s 1-0 victory in Norway, Euros fever was gripping a nation, but now that sense of optimism has been replaced by the usual Scottish psyche of pessimism.

The Tartan Army have seen their side fail to win any of their last seven, smashed 4-0 by Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday night, before a dire 1-0 home reverse to Northern Ireland in Glasgow on Tuesday.

So, should results in friendlies be cause for concern?

Well, remarkably, the Dark Blues are winless in seven friendlies, claiming victory in only two of their last 19 such fixtures, dating back to March 2016, these wins coming over Hungary in 2018 and Luxembourg in 2021

In contrast, Scotland have won 15 of their last 22 qualifiers, losing only three, so this team usually turns up when they need to.

However, Clarke’s side are yet to prove they can beat the best around and, with friendlies against Gibraltar and Finland scheduled for early-June, they’ll next get the chance to do this at the tournament itself.

Now, following this week’s pair of defeats, we will attempt to predict Scotland’s squad for the Euros, with plenty of spots up for grabs.


Steve Clarke called-up four goalkeepers this month, although there appears to be a clear hierarchy so, unless someone else suffers an injury, Liam Kelly seems set to miss out.

Both Kelly and Zander Clark made their long-awaited national team debuts at Stade Pierre-Mauroy against France in October, given a half each, before Clark started both qualifiers the following month.

He was deputising for Angus Gunn, who sat out the November fixtures injured, before the Norwich keeper was back in for both March matches, only a year on from switching allegiance, following in the footsteps of his father Bryan, who won six caps in the early-90s.

Gunn only came into the team after Craig Gordon had suffered a serious leg break at Tannadice on Christmas Eve 2022, making his return to first team football against The Spartans in the Scottish Cup last January.

Now 41 years old, Gordon hasn’t played at international level since November 2022 in Diyarbakır, and appears unlikely to wrestle the number one jersey away from Gunn but, even if he’s not first-choice at Hearts, with Clark continuing to get the nod, he’s still likely to be included.

Predicted goalkeepers: Angus Gunn, Craig Gordon & Zander Clark.


Centre-back is probably the toughest position to choose, so we’ll deal with full-back first.

On the right, despite his error on Tuesday, Nathan Patterson is a shoo-in, while there is optimism that Aaron Hickey will be fit in time for June, despite having not seen any action since 28 October following hamstring surgery.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank said in February ‘I hope to see him again this season’, but his participation at the Euros is obviously doubtful.

If he is out, as was the case this week, Patterson the becomes the starter with Anthony Ralston the most-natural deputy.

On the other side, Kieran Tierney will start as the left-centre-back with captain Andy Robertson as the wing-back although, concerningly, the Liverpool defender did hobble off against Northern Ireland.

Celtic’s Greg Taylor is likely to be included as an alternative left-back option, which is sensible, given Tierney’s injury record in particular.

This leaves two centre-back spots in the team and, in truth, while there are plenty of candidates, no one really stands out above the rest.

Clarke’s go-to continues to be Jack Hendry, despite the fact he now plies his trade at Al-Ettifaq.

Ryan Porteous, Liam Cooper and John Souttar also featured in this squad, while Grant Hanley and Scott McKenna were initially in as well, before withdrawing through injury.

In all probability, two of this sextet will not make the final 23 and, honestly, there isn’t a whole let between the half-dozen.

Predicted defenders: Nathan Patterson, Aaron Hickey, Jack Hendry, Ryan Porteous, Scott McKenna, Liam Cooper, Greg Taylor, Kieran Tierney & Andrew Robertson.


Midfield is a different story, given that this is, without question, the strongest section of this Scottish side.

The biggest question mark right now regards the fitness of Celtic captain Callum McGregor, who’s sat out his club’s last three games, also withdrawing from the national team squad this month.

Brendan Rodgers said, after McGregor was withdrawn at half time against Dundee on 28 February, “he felt his Achilles a little bit and his calf”.

A week later, Rodgers added “I don’t believe there is the prospect surgery will be required. Normally when they go for these scans, you will see if there is a tear but there’s nothing like that at all. So, we just have to look at resting it”.

Scotland fans with no dog in the Premiership title fight will be desperately hoping McGregor doesn’t aggravate this issue any further, given that his absence was massively felt during these two friendly defeats.

Others who will definitely be on the plane, fitness permitting, are top-scorer in qualifying Scott McTominay, top-scorer in the squad John McGinn, Billy Gilmour, Ryan Christie and Stuart Armstrong.

Lewis Ferguson may only have started two friendlies to date, but his form for Champions League-chasing Bologna this season makes him impossible to ignore, with the hero in Oslo Kenny McLean, a man who rarely features but, when he does, never lets anyone down, completing the midfield group.

This would see Ryan Jack, who’s never been able to establish himself at international level, left at home, although he could fill-in for McGregor given that, stylistically, they’re very similar.

Predicted midfielders: Callum McGregor, Scott McTominay, Billy Gilmour, Lewis Ferguson, Kenny McLean, John McGinn, Ryan Christie & Stuart Armstrong.


Attack is very straight-forward, with the three who were in the squad in March all going to go to Germany.

Both Ché Adams and Lyndon Dykes switched allegiance prior to Euro 2020, from England and Australia respectively, with both becoming squad stalwarts subsequently.

Dykes has nine goals to his name so far and is the target man option, useful for when Scotland are under pressure and need a way out, hence why he may start the tournament opener against Germany.

Adams meanwhile is the runner, a forward who will work his socks off for however long he is on the park, making him an equally viable man to lead the line.

However, neither are prolific, with Dykes’ last international goal coming in Oslo last June, while Adams has not netted for the national side since the rout in Yerevan 12 months earlier.

This is where Lawrence Shankland might come in handy, given that he has been on fire for Hearts this season, scoring 27 times in all competitions, on course to become the club’s first top-flight golden boot winner since John Robertson in 1990.

Incidentally, if Clark, Gordon and Shankland all make the cut, it would be the first time ever that a Scotland squad for a major tournament has contained three or more Hearts players.

Shankland sceptics remain unsure whether or not he can cut it at the elite-level, with his squandered opportunity at Johan Cruijff Arena, thwacking the crossbar having gone clean-through one-on-one, not alleviating those concerns.

So, none of these three strikers are perfect, but they all help the team function in different ways, making them all useful.

Predicted forwards: Lyndon Dykes, Ché Adams & Lawrence Shankland.

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".