STEVE CLARKE has named a very strong squad for the Euros in my opinion, and the real boost was the addition of the young players.

Getting that leeway from UEFA to extend the squad to 26 has helped of course, but it’s great that Steve has took advantage of it to give these young guys an opportunity.

The nucleus of the squad that got us to the tournament are all there too, so all in all, there’s a lot to be positive about.

Billy Gilmour, David Turnbull and Nathan Patterson will all benefit greatly from the experience, and I have to say, I’ve been impressed by all three.

Patterson may have the least experience of first-team football, but in my eyes, there is no doubt that he has the talent to be a star for Scotland for years to come.

He has been very impressive. When you look at a young player coming into the team, you are watching his every move and every decision.

I remember he made a risky tackle from behind right on the edge of the box against Celtic, and I was holding my breath. He timed it perfectly, and these are the things that young players come away with in their first games at that level. It’s just fantastic.

I thought at first that it might take him time to get going, coming into this Rangers team as a kid, but right away he was giving it the Alan Hutton stuff and even copying his captain into the bargain.

He might be keeping Patterson out of the side when he’s fit, but don’t underestimate as well how much of an influence that James Tavernier will be having on him.

We haven’t had a big name from the big teams in the right back position for a long time. Probably since Hutton, in fact. That is meant as no slight on Stephen O’Donnell, who is in there just now, as he’s doing a fine job.

In the future though, you have to say that Patterson is going to be a phenomenal contender for that position. Maybe not in these championships, but certainly soon.

I remember we were toiling a wee bit in the position when I was in charge, and we reverted to having big Callum Paterson back there.

I even phoned Kieran Tierney a few weeks before the two vital games in the Nations League against Albania and Israel and finally had to admit that I thought I might have to play him at right-back. I knew he had played there under Gordon, and actually, there was one game under Gordon where the whole back five and the keeper were left-footed!

Anyway, Kieran said to me ‘Gaffer, I’ll play for you anywhere, I’ve not got a problem with that,’ which was great. But it wasn’t a long-term solution, and I wanted him to be back on the left where he was at his best.

I tried him at left centre-back and got questioned for it, but Arsenal have nurtured him along a bit there and now Stevie is quite rightly playing him there too. The emergence of Patterson should ensure that we can keep him there.

I think that Nathan will be absolutely delighted to be in that squad, and he will also be grateful to Rangers for giving him such fantastic platform, and a tremendous opportunity to become a major player at Rangers.

He’s obviously got to shift the club captain who is in the position head of him at the moment, but he has got the ability and the potential – which is the key word – to be a future Scotland star.

From the games he has played so far, he looks to have fantastic potential, and it seems as though we have unearthed a very rare, tremendous young right-back talent.

We’ve lamented for a long time that we haven’t qualified for major tournaments, and we haven’t been producing quality players, but if you look at the quality of that particular squad now then you have to say that they are all playing at a good level. And some of them at the highest level in the Premier League.

Of course, I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a little pang of regret that some of these boys weren’t quite at their peak when I was in charge, but that’s just evolution.

In the very beginning of my second spell with Scotland, the first thoughts I had on the squad were to introduce younger players. Gordon had already played young guys like John McGinn, and then you had the Celtic players who were the stronghold of his era. They could continue to be that strength, of course, but at the same time I knew I had to try new players.

I probably got at least a year to do that with the friendly games we had, and when the Nations League came around, we were still playing a match in that tournament along with a friendly game. It seemed that we were doing a lot of experimentation for a long period of time to try to find that nucleus of players.

Lo and behold, guys like big Scott McTominay have now come through and are doing brilliantly for us. In his first game against Costa Rica, he was still on the fringes of the Man Utd first team, and Jose Mourinho had made a big push for him to be included.

I made the journey down south to see him, and he said straight away that he only wanted to play for Scotland. I could just have phoned him, I had travelled through the Beast from the East!

It was worth it though, and guys like him are now playing regularly in the EPL, so it was part of the process. It wasn’t to happen for me, but I’d like to think we at least played a small part in what we’re seeing now.

The early experience for the young guys in this squad will be fantastic. Gilmour is playing and training with a team that is now in the Champions League final, and they grow so quickly in terms of their mental strength as well as their physical strength when they are exposed to this level of football at such a young age. Introducing them early is key.

It’s so good to see us starting to have a lot of players at these high levels yet again. I can’t emphasise enough how beneficial it is for them, and I think it allows us to be very confident going into the tournament.