TOSH McKinlay sees plenty of similarities between Steve Clarke’s squad for the Euros and the side he was a part of the last time Scotland qualified for the international tournament – but he hopes that the current crop can emulate the achievements of the class of ’96 by reaching the knockout stages this summer.

The former Celtic full-back played at Wembley 25 years ago as goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne secured a win for the Auld Enemy but a quarter of a century on, he is confident that Clarke can spring a surprise result on the English in their own back yard.

The Scots will face Gareth Southgate’s side in their second fixture at this summer’s championships and McKinlay reckons that the team’s togetherness off the park will be every bit as important as what they achieve on it.

“It’s very crucial and Craig Brown was brilliant at it,” he recalled. “We went to Miami for Euro 96 and the bonding and getting together on those trips is invaluable really.

“Craig was second to none with detail and getting the lads together so it’ll be invaluable for the squad to get together and make a major push for this tournament. Anything’s possible in this tournament.

“Euro 96 was special, England at Wembley is every schoolboy’s dream. If you think about the game we started really well and then they got a foothold with the goal. When we got the penalty we looked really strong at that point and if we had scored I think we would have beaten them.


READ MORE: 'You don't recover': Ally McCoist still feeling Scotland heartache 23 years later

“But we missed and then Paul Gascoigne comes up with a bit of magic and sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say there’s nothing you can do about it. If you win it is the best game ever, but when you lose it is so disappointing.

“I don’t think England will enjoy us going to their home patch. It was a nervy game in 96 where we probably had the upper hand but I don’t think they’ll enjoy Scotland going down there.

“Obviously they’ll be under pressure, they’ve got to get the result so Steve Clarke will have us set up well and hopefully we go into the game with a bit of confidence and get the result required. But I do fancy us on that occasion.”

That date with destiny in London next month provides a particularly mouth-watering clash for the Tartan Army to salivate over and will be bookended by games against the Czechs and Croatia at Hampden next month.

The big calls will soon be coming thick and fast for Clarke but McKinlay takes solace from the fact that one of the biggest questions facing the national team in years – how to fit Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson in the same team – appears to have been addressed with the Arsenal defender playing further infield.

McKinlay explained: “If you look at the way Steve Clarke sets up the team it’s very similar to Craig Brown and the way we played the 3-5-2: hard to beat and could always nick a goal with Kevin Gallacher or Jukey [Gordon Durie]. It’s very similar to that squad: very together, will fight for each other.


READ MORE: Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn says Scots can't have inferiority complex at Euro 2020

“[They showed that] throughout the campaign, right to Serbia and when it went down to the wire with David Marshall pulling off that fantastic penalty save. They know how to win. There’s a few at big clubs now and they’re playing as a unit.

“Steve Clarke picks his team, he’s experienced at that. It’s not like Scotland to have two world-class players in the same position. When I was growing up it was Danny McGrain and Sandy Jardine and they accommodated it by playing Danny at left-back.

“Who knows what the combination is going to be. They’re both fantastic players going forward who can create but also [when] defending they can do their bit as well.”