MARCO Rossi will have done his homework on Scotland by the time his Hungary side take to the field to play their final Group A match in the MHPArena in Stuttgart at the Euro 2024 finals next June.

Every one of his players – Peter Gulacsi of RB Leipzig, Dominik Szoboszlai of Liverpool and Andras Nemeth of Hamburger SV – will have been well briefed about the strengths and weaknesses of their opposite numbers long before kick-off.

Nothing will be left to chance ahead of an encounter which could very well decide which teams progress out of the section and into the knockout rounds of the tournament.

READ MOREScotland manager eyeing opening game upset against Euro 2024 hosts

Yet, the vastly-experienced Italian-Hungarian manager, who led the once great football nation to victory in Group G in qualifying, had a pretty good idea of what he can expect from Steve Clarke’s men immediately after the draw was made here in Hamburg on Saturday evening.

Scotland’s exploits this year – not least their epic 2-0 triumph over former European Championship winners Spain at Hampden back in March - have sent shockwaves throughout the continent.

But Rossi, the former Brescia, Sampdoria and Eintracht Frankfurt defender who has been in his current position for five years now, has known all about the ability and mentality that players from this country possess from an early age. 

The Herald: He grew up in Druento on the outskirts of Turin, came through the youth ranks at his local team Torino and made his debut in the professional game with the renowned Serie A side back in the 1980s.

He grew up hearing tales about Denis Law – the legendary Scottish striker who spent a short spell in Italy in the 1960s and who was, despite not enjoying the experience or settling, named as the leading foreign footballer in the country at the end of his solitary season there – from his grandfather.

Rossi fully expects Andy Robertson and his compatriots to exhibit many of the same attributes as their iconic predecessor. 

READ MORESFA chief executive backs UEFA to solve Carol Vorderman conundrum

“We know them,” he said. “We have seen their qualifiers during their campaign. They did really well, they beat Spain. The fact they were able to beat Spain says everything about Scotland. If they can beat Spain they can beat anybody.

“I don’t their manager personally, but I know about his career and I know all about what he has done with the Scottish national team. What he has done has been really outstanding.

“His team play a very strong defensive style. By that I mean when they have to defend they are very strong. Physically, they are not easy to play against, especially in a standard situation. They are quite dangerous. It is not an easy game for us.

“I am not surprised at how well they have done this year. They beat Spain and qualified directly from their group, which means they are a good team. But now we are in the finals. So we will see what happens.

“I know about Lewis Ferguson, who is doing well in Italy with Bologna. But I have to say the Scottish players who are in the national team are all performing really well. I have to say that. Over the top in fact.

“Many of them are not playing for the best teams in the world. Yes, some of them are playing in the Premier League, in the Championship or in Scotland, with the likes of Celtic. But when they are together they are quite a tough team.

“In some respects, they are similar to us. We are a difficult team to face. When we are together it will be difficult for anyone to beat us, especially because together we are a strong team.

The Herald: “I have never experienced playing or managing against a Scottish team before. When I was a player I experienced playing against some English teams who had some Scottish players. I am too old to remember who they were! But I have never faced a Scottish team.”

READ MOREOrgasmic groans and disbelieving gasps: Scotland at the Euro 2024 draw

Rossi added: “But I know for sure that Scottish players have a big heart. They are fighters. I know all about Denis Law from the memory of my grandfather. He talked to me all of the time about the great Torino, the big Torino, when I was a boy growing up.

“I obviously didn’t see him play because I had not been born when he was there in the early 1960s. But my grandfather was a big supporter of Torino and he certainly told me all about Denis Law when I was young.

“He made a real impact in Torino, he did really well there. The Torino fans who saw him play, like my grandfather, all remember him well.

“But British players, Scottish players, had clear characteristics and those clear characteristics were all especially appreciated at Torino, at the old Torino. Now it is a bit different, but in the past the typical characteristics of the Scottish players like Denis Law were admired.

“They were always running, they were always fighting, they were always having a great attitude. In Italy, and especially at a team like Torino, those qualities were very much appreciated.” 

READ MORESFA chief predicts 'tens of thousands' of Scots will attend Euro 2024

There is, no disrespect to the likes of Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor, Billy Gilmour, John McGinn, Scott McTominay, Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams, nobody fit to lace the boots of the Manchester United great in the current Scotland team.

No player in a dark blue jersey, or in any colour of jersey for that matter, has ever managed to attain The Lawman’s level of brilliance since he retired.   

But Rossi, whose Hungary team drew with both France and Germany at Euro 2020, understands just how challenging it can be to emulate great footballers from a bygone era because is in charge of a country which was the best on the planet in a halcyon era back in the 1950s.

“In Hungary, they always remember the old times,” he said. “We have quite a heavy heritage because we must represent in a decent way, the past. It is not always so easy. The expectations there are always over the top.

“But, you know, we have unbelievable fans who are supporting like crazy from the beginning to the end. And also many times after the end of the match. So we would like to do something special for them.”

The Herald:

So how does Rossi see the group unfolding? Does he think the two-time World Cup runners-up can finish first or second in a group which also comprises hosts Germany and Switzerland and progress to the last 16? He is clearly optimistic a Hungary team which went undefeated in qualifying has a chance.  

“Switzerland is a team that is not as physical as Scotland,” he said. “They have other skills. They are a good team of course. Especially under (Murat) Yakin, they have good performances and good results.

“I think it is an open group. Germany are the favourites in our group. You can never be sure in football, but they will probably qualify first in the group. But the other positions in the group are open.”