OPTIMISM and positivity aren’t traits you’d normally associate with the Tartan Army – even though they spend most of their time signing numbers from the Sound of Music.
Decades of miserable results and performances have left the average Scotland fan with a rather gloomy outlook on the national team’s prospects.
And who can blame them? Only Scotland could follow up James McFadden’s screamer in Paris by failing to beat a 17-year-old Georgian keeper in a defeat that ultimately kiboshed our hopes of reaching Euro 2008. Then there was the high of Leigh Griffiths’ free-kick double against England in 2017 – followed immediately by the sickening low of Harry Kane’s stoppage-time equaliser.
Those Tartan Army footsoldiers must have feared the worst again when Scotland conceded another late equaliser in the Euro 2020 play-off in Serbia.
But for once it didn’t end in another glorious failure thanks to David Marshall’s heroics and his teammates’ composure from the spot.
That has led to a change of outlook among the fans as Clarke’s boys prepare to grace a major final for the first time in 23 years.
And the impressive display in Wednesday’s 2-2 friendly draw with the Netherlands has only added to the good vibes around the Scots team.
With Clarke without seven players for that first warm-up game, I fancied the Dutch to win without conceding but Scotland netted twice and could have scored more.
Now the national boss has a final chance to finesse his blueprint for the Euro finals as the Scots travel to Luxembourg tomorrow.
Plenty of punters will fancy Clarke’s side to run riot on the back of their midweek display but Luxembourg are no longer international whipping boys.
They caused a massive upset by beating Ireland in a World Cup qualifier back in March and came close to shutting out Norway in midweek before Dortmund goal machine Erling Haaland hit a
Luxembourg have conceded just five goals in their last five matches – and three of those came in one game against
European champions Portugal.
It could be a frustrating night for the Scots so under 2.5 goals appeals, even though the odds aren’t great at a best 9/10 with RedZone.
While Luxembourg has been keeping it tight at the back, they haven’t done much going forward, scoring twice in their last five games.
Scotland’s only clean sheet in their last seven outings came against the Faroes but they could keep another one here.
A Scots shut-out pays a decent 6/5 at McBookie and if you double it with a win the odds increase to 8/5.
There has been a one-goal winning margin in three of Luxembourg’s last four games and that pays 6/4 at McBookie.
Scotland faces England at the finals this summer and the Three Lions didn’t impress much in their 1-0 midweek win over Austria in Middlesbrough.
I tipped Gareth Southgate’s men to win without conceding and that bet could pay off again tomorrow (11/10, McBookie) as the English face Romania.
After losing to Iceland in the play-off semis, the Romanians have nothing to play for so it should be quite comfortable for the Three Lions.
They are 17/10 with McBookie to win both halves and that looks good value.
England begins their finals campaign with a clash against Croatia who faces a tough friendly tomorrow against Belgium.
The half-time draw also appeals at 13/10 with Bet365.
Internationals Betting Tips
- Scotland to keep a clean sheet against Luxembourg (6/5, McBookie).
- England to win both halves against Romania (17/10, McBookie).
- Half-time draw in Belgium v Croatia. (13/10, Bet365)
What's your tips and predictions for the International Friendlies? Let us know in the comments below.