SCOTLAND have shown over the years that they are adept at finding new and creative ways to be eliminated from tournaments. Having been involved in a few of those disappointments as a player, perhaps it is understandable that Stuart McCall is a little trepidatious about the national side’s prospects of finally breaking their group stage hoodoo this summer.

McCall may have a thick Yorkshire accent, but even with four of the third-placed teams qualifying for the knockout stages of the Euros, he is very much fighting to silence that nagging Scottish voice at the back of his mind telling him that it is all going to go awry.

What is helping him in that regard is the fact that this current generation of players don’t seem to suffer from any sort of inferiority complex, and led by four players who are stars of the English Premier League, seem to believe that they can go where no Scots have gone before.

In Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, John McGinn and Scott McTominay, he sees men who have brought the swagger back to the Scottish side.

“We’ve always found a way [to blow it],” said McCall.

“I go back to Italia ’90 where we were waiting until the next day for someone else to do something and it didn’t happen, then you saw what happened at Euro ’96, it’s 4-0 England and then it’s 4-1.

“So, no doubt we’ll find a way. Half of the third places go through, so we’ll be the one just under that who gets knocked out!

“But no, there are more opportunities to do it, and I don’t think third is out of our reach. And you never know. I’m more confident now looking at this group of players.

“Everyone will name the four; McTominay, Tierney, McGinn and Robertson. Robertson had a really good end to the campaign.

“Tierney, as we know, is a top class player. As is McGinn, who when playing for Scotland is absolutely outstanding. He’s had a good season for Villa as well. And obviously McTominay.

“We are used to maybe having one or two, but now we’ve got four or five really good ones allied to some hard working players.

“The belief in yourself is important. I watch McTominay and, while I don’t want to put everything on just these four players, he does have a swagger about him. No doubt.

“I watch McGinn and he’s taking the ball off top players, going high up, having shots at goal without fear.

“You have a swagger when your confidence is high and that should be the case with these four lads. Sometimes you become a better player when you’re out injured, too.

“Just look at Tierney. All the Arsenal fans missed him so much when he was out. And, as soon as he came back, wow. They all wanted him as captain.

“All of them have got a real good sense of confidence in themselves – and each other. Because you need that. You can’t go back to days where, probably even in our days, we just had a really solid group of players without one outstanding individual.

“But Scotland now, the four lads we keep talking about, they’ve all got real high quality, playing well at the top level.

“Especially in training, that brings out the best in the other lads. And, also, look at the underbelly with some of the young ones coming through.

“Billy Gilmour won’t be fazed by anything because he works with top players at Chelsea.

“Likewise with David Turnbull and Nathan Patterson.”

It is remarkable to think that is perhaps the most successful of that quartet, captain Andy Robertson, who often comes in for criticism for the apparent drop-off in his performance levels between his club side and the national team.

For McCall, the comparisons are facile, with his job for Scotland very different to his role for Liverpool. And having been blown away by Robertson when he was a young player making his way back up the ladder, he is certain he is the right man to lead the Scots into battle this summer.

“I’m pleased for Andy, because people point to his performances for Scotland not being as good as what he produces for Liverpool,” he said.

“Listen, like everyone at Liverpool last season, they had a little dip, but they’ve finished the season fantastically and Andy has been a major part of that.

“He’ll be coming into it confident. If Liverpool had finished sixth and finished outside of it, not really done much, he might have been down a little bit. But he’s on a high.

“Going back years, I remember people used to say the same things about Alan Hansen, that he didn’t play as well for Scotland as he did for Liverpool.

“Andy does fine. Maybe you don’t see him doing as many overlapping runs and putting as many crosses in as he does at Liverpool, but that’s because we don’t have as much possession as Liverpool normally do. You’ve got to have a bit of reality about that.

“I remember him coming into the group when I was working for Scotland, and we played a few of the young kids from the 21s and Andy Robertson stood out fantastically. Gordon (Strachan) said ‘we need to get him into the first team squad’.

“I think in his second game for Dundee United he scored coming down that big slope from about 30 yards against my Motherwell team, I’ll never forget that! I thought ‘he’s not a bad player’. We got a draw though.

“What I like about him is his manner and his attitude. I think he’s got a terrific attitude, speaks really well, is level-headed for what he’s done in the game – and I’m really pleased he’ll be leading us out.”

*Stuart McCall was speaking as the Henri Delaunay Cup made a special visit to Glasgow’s Walking Football programme as part of the UEFA EURO 2020 Trophy Tour.