By News Team
Last Updated: 10th June 2021
John Collins believes Scotland can prove the doubters wrong and qualify from Group D at Euro 2020, as well as draw with old rivals England at Wembley next week.
The former Celtic and Scotland midfielder, who played in Craig Brown’s Euro ’96 team and faced England at Wembley 25 years ago, thinks the Scots can give anyone a game on their day and that the team should hold no fears up against the Three Lions, Czech Republic and Croatia in the coming weeks.
Collins, who earned 58 caps for Scotland as a player, believes that the nation’s excitement and support of the national team means the squad can go out and enjoy the experience with nothing to lose.
He said: “From the moment we qualified, the whole country has been absolutely buzzing. The whole nation is so happy to be back, and it’s united the country.
“Anywhere you go, people are talking about it. Most people are talking about the Scotland v England game, which is no surprise.
“From the players’ point of view, they can be heroes. I think they already are just by qualifying. From the media to the fans, to the players, there’s such a positive frame of mind. We’ve got nothing to lose. I think we can just go and enjoy the tournament.”
And while Collins admits that he’s looking forward to seeing Scotland butt heads with heavily fancied England in a repeat of the match in 1996, he believes the opener against Czech Republic is the most important match if the Tartan Army are to harbour realistic hopes of progression.
He added: “The England game is important but the first game against Czech Republic is crucial. We’ve got to get off to a good start.
“I think we can qualify from the group. Steve Clarke has done an excellent job, and he’s built a good squad who are hardworking and don’t concede too many goals. We always look like we can score goals.
“Che Adams has been the discovery of the season for Scotland. He brings so much to the team. He’s got pace, power, and he can link with players from midfield.
“That’s important as we’ve got good players in the middle of the park like John McGinn who likes to get forward and get shots off, Stuart Armstrong who’s had a terrific season for Southampton and is good in the final third and can drive with the ball. Ryan Christie was excellent in the campaign, and he’s another player who likes to get in and around the box.
“Going forward, we can create chances. The tough part of the campaign is going to be about keeping goals out. Stevie has got his system now though, with three central defenders and two wing backs. We’ve got talent. Andy Robertson will bomb forward, and there’s hardly anybody better in the world in that position.”
Collins added: “We’ve also got Kieran Tierney, who is a natural full-back but can play as a left-sided central defender. He gives pace at the back, and we can press knowing he can cover at the back.
“There’s a good balance and it’s going to be tough for Steve to pick his full side. We’ll give every team in the group a game, that’s for sure.”
When asked about Scotland’s chances against England, who boast a luxury of young, attacking talent, Collins was pragmatic in his belief that the country can take something from the match.
He said: “No doubt England are the favourites, but I’ve got a little feeling we’ll get a 2-2 draw. Most people would be happy with that.
“We want a victory, but I think if you asked most Scottish people then they’d take a draw in that game and hope to get a victory in one of the other two games.
“We’re going to have to ride our luck a little bit and hope England have an off day. That’s the reality. But we’ve got nothing to lose and there’s no pressure after qualifying for a major tournament the first time in 23 years, and the energy and atmosphere will be incredible within the camp.”