To know where you are going, it helps to know where you have been. In Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad, there was both a nod to the future, and recognition of a player who has excelled for his country in the past.

Two wingers from different ends of the career spectrum were named in Clarke’s provisional 28-man squad for the European Championships, a somewhat surprising quirk in itself, given the Scotland manager’s preference for relying on his full backs to provide the width for his team. Both, in their own ways, were exciting additions.

On the one hand, there is the return of the old campaigner, with Clarke hoping that James Forrest can emulate his blistering comeback for Celtic in a Scotland jersey. On the other, is young Liverpool wonderkid Ben Doak, called up to the senior squad for the very first time.

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Their presence was intriguing for a few reasons. Firstly, they are both, simply, wonderfully exciting attacking players. There is no doubt that Scotland will have to be doughty and hard to beat, and are unlikely to stray too far from Clarke’s tried and tested template for the most part. But when they want to – or have to – let the handbrake off, they have the tools at their disposal now to do so.

It suggests that Clarke recognises the need for some tactical flexibility if Scotland are to go deep in the tournament, and with Doak and Forrest among his options, it should also keep the opposition coaches guessing at least a little.

It also suggests that in the presence of Doak, Clarke recognises the need for his Scotland team to evolve. He referenced this fact at Hampden earlier today, as he acknowledged that some of the time-served warriors he has relied upon to drag the national team up from the doldrums are starting to knock on just a little bit.

It is a huge shame he is without some of those who may make up the backbone of the Scotland team in the coming years, such as Aaron Hickey, Nathan Patterson and Lewis Ferguson. But in Doak, he can show the Tartan Army a glimpse of the future, and what a tantalising one it may be.

As has seemed to be the ongoing fly in the ointment affecting Scotland’s preparations for this tournament, Doak has had his injury problems this season, only recently returning to full training with Liverpool after picking up a knee issue back in December. So, how fit he is, time will tell.

But Clarke’s warm words about the 18-year-old this afternoon, outlining his hopes that Doak could ‘make a contribution’ in Germany suggest that while he is undoubtedly being taken at least partly to familiarise himself with the experience, he isn’t just going along to lug the hampers.

Clarke, typically, was also trying to keep a lid on expectations around Doak and what he can do in the short term for this Scotland side. But his inclusion is a nod to the very real notion that he could be building his team around the former Celtic youngster in the years to come.

As for Forrest, well, Clarke could hardly leave him out, could he? The 32-year-old has been in sensational form since bursting back into the Celtic side from his own personal Siberia, and the impact he has been able to have is testament to his professionalism as much as his undoubted ability.

There is even a theory that Forrest may well have been included as a potential solution to Scotland’s right wing-back problem, though Clarke gave a decidedly lukewarm response to the suggestion at Hampden.

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It may well be something that the Scotland coach considers, but given the knock-on effect it would have on the rest of the team - in particular, the reining in of Kieran Tierney’s marauding runs forward on the left – that may well be a last resort.

This system, after all, was built to accommodate both Tierney and Andy Robertson, and as we saw at the last Euros, without Tierney’s presence it all rather falls apart. Not to mention the fact that it would blunt the attacking threat of Forrest, his own main strength.

In Doak and Forrest, though, there is the embodiment of the alchemy Clarke has tried to achieve with this squad, with hugely experienced and reliable players complemented by a sprinkling of exciting young talent. Which would have had an even greater presence but for those unfortunate injuries to Hickey et al.

What it also showed is that even after five years as Scotland manager, and with his reputation for sticking by the tried and tested, Clarke is still capable of springing the odd surprise.

And in Doak and Forrest, he may well have produced a couple of aces from up his sleeve.