WHEN the Scotland squad was announced on Wednesday afternoon, Ally McCoist will have allowed a wry grin to stretch across his face.

Two Rangers players, goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin and right-back Nathan Patterson, had made the cut for Steve Clarke’s final 26-man roster for the Euros. But for the Ibrox idol, his delight stretched way beyond his loyalty to the blue half of Glasgow.

Sure, McCoist was pleased to see representatives of his former club given the nod for the summer showpiece. And with Ryan Jack cruelly missing out on Scotland’s first appearance at a major tournament after being ruled out through injury, the contingent from Govan was always going to be small in number.

McCoist, however, insists his pleasure at Patteron’s call-up isn’t borne out of his association to his former club. As the former Scotland internationalist sees it, the 19-year-old’s inclusion in the squad is just reward for the progress he has made at Ibrox this term – despite the youngster’s Covid breach back earlier this year that saw him banned for four games.

“I really, really do think he deserves it,” McCoist said of Patterson. “I don’t see any reason why not.

“I’ve got to be honest though. Through nobody’s fault but his own, he didn’t get the opportunity to continue the run that he was on. He was maybe a bit lucky to get back in with the injury to James Tavernier but I’ll tell you what – credit where it’s due. Boy, did he grab it. He’s really, really looked the part and I would have him in the squad.


READ MORE: Alex McLeish: Steve Clarke is right to take Nathan Patterson to Euros, he could be the next Alan Hutton for Rangers and Scotland

“There are also guys like [Celtic midfielder David] Turnbull, who’s another one that’s impressed me. Those two guys are names that have been on the periphery and I think Steve will have an opportunity to say, ‘okay, come on’. The way I look at it, had these two guys not made the squad, you’d have thought they were pretty unlucky.

“Stephen O’Donnell has done well at right-back but we don’t really have anyone else. Patterson would certainly compete for a place. I’m not saying just take these guys for a ride and give them a wee bit of experience: I think they could be there on merit. And once you get there, you have to grasp the opportunity when you get it.”

Time will tell if Turnbull and Patterson can do precisely that next month. But there is one player on the books at Ibrox who has known for some time now that he would be missing out on this summer’s Euros: midfielder Ryan Jack, who hasn’t played since February and had to go under the knife, ruling him out of contention for a place in the squad.

McCoist knows a thing or two about the heartache of narrowly missing the cut for a major tournament. Back in 1998, then manager Craig Brown opted to select Scott Booth ahead of the Rangers talisman – a decision Brown has since admitted he regrets– and even now, 25 years on, the pain is still very real for McCoist.

He explained: “You don’t recover – it’s that simple. I can still feel the pain.

“You’ve just got to handle it. You do that a bit better with time but you never, ever forget the pain of something like that. It sets you up and makes what you are. I can only speak for myself but I don’t think I’ve ever got over it and I don’t think I ever will. But I just handle it better.


READ MORE: Leigh Griffiths put on Euro 2020 stand-by as Steve Clarke warns injuries and Covid-19 could hit Scotland

“I’m absolutely gutted for Ryan, really. He was doing ever so well in that Rangers side. I’ll put my cards on the table right now – when Ryan Jack signed, I thought he was a good player. But I’ll tell you the truth – I can’t believe the impact he’s made, I genuinely can’t. He deserves an enormous amount of credit and respect for that. There was a stage when Ryan was one of the first names on the team sheet, which is brilliant.

“I really feel for Ryan because I feel he would have been an automatic pick for Steve Clarke’s squad. When Scotland qualified for the Euros with the shoot-out win in Serbia, the first people I thought about were the players.

“I was delighted for us media guys as we’re going to cover it and for the supporters so they could watch it but my overriding pleasure was for the players because they’ve got that opportunity that they’ve always wanted. I was lucky enough to do it and I know what it’s like. It’s a great memory so I was pleased for them. But it’s natural that you feel the pain for those that don’t make it.”

Scotland haven’t qualified for the European Championships since 1996, and it was McCoist who was the last man to score for our nation at a Euros when he grabbed the game’s only goal in our final group stage fixture against Switzerland 25 years ago.

Alfredo Morelos’ goalscoring exploits at Rangers have snatched a record or two away from the Ibrox legend this season – but McCoist insists that he would be delighted to lose another one next month by another Scot finding the net at the summer tournament.


READ MORE: We can be legends: Steve Clarke eyeing more history with Scotland at Euro 2020 finals - and a last 16 spot

He said: “It’s an embarrassing statistic – it would be a good one to boast about if it was only five or six years ago but sadly it’s 25 years ago! I’ve got a feeling that will change come June so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

“In a year where Morelos has taken a record or two off me, I’m actually hoping this one goes! And I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t to be honest with you.”

Ally McCoist, Jamie Redknapp and Ashley Williams represent each of the participating home nations in Greene King’s Euros campaign, which celebrates the return of pub sport. If you can’t get to the stadium, then a Greene King pub is the next best thing!

As “your home of pub sport”, Greene King will be showing games at more than 1,000 pubs, celebrating the return of international football. Pubs will be showing all Euros games from the group stages on multiple screens with full commentary and sound.

To look after both customers and staff, Greene King’s PUB SAFE promises are in place, making sure you’re able to enjoy the Euros experience comfortably and safely. For further information visit https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/