Now that the dust has settled on the squad announcements for the European Championship the kind of statistical analysis that gets bearded hipsters all sweaty under their peacoats and scarves is everywhere – and there's good news and bad for Scotland fans.

The numbers spat out by some outsourced infographic production line tells us that England (25 years, three months and nine days) and Wales (25 years, six months and 26 days) will field two of the squads with the lowest average age at Euro 2020 while Gareth Southgate's side also boast the 26 with the most top-level experience, although both figures could be altered when Trent Alexander-Arnold's replacement is announced. It is Turkey who have named the youngest squad while Ukraine and Spain make up the rest of the top five with Scotland in ninth at an average age of 27.3. Unsurprisingly Sweden have the oldest squad with old father time himself Zlatan Ibrahimovic, at 39, pushing up their average age to more than 29.

Scotland lead the way in one category: the squad with the fewest caps. The selection of Billy Gilmour, Nathan Patterson and David Turnbull has clearly driven that figure down to the 17.2 it stood at prior to last night's friendly against Luxembourg but there's no need to panic. It's a trend that continues in Group D with Czech Republic and England also among the fewest on 19.9 and 20.4 respectively albeit Croatia are at the other end of the scale on 34.4 for the fifth most in the tournament.

So what are the portents of holding such an honour? Mixed, it has to be said. Romania were the side with the least international experience at Euro 2016 and were knocked out in the group stage after accruing just one point. Four years earlier, and perhaps more ominously, Poland could only manage two draws and exited at the same stage of the competition despite being one of the tournament co-hosts.

There is a positive, however. The Russia squad that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2008 had won just 449 caps between them, just one fewer than Scotland's prior to yesterday evening's game in the Stade Josy Barthel.


Usually the best news from IFAB is no news at all but we're less than a week out from the start of an international tournament and it just wouldn't be the same without a couple of rule changes to get our heads around.

Fortunately, the long-awaited alteration to the regulations around handball in attacking positions is here and will be applied for the first time at the tournament which means accidental handball will not be penalised in the build-up to a goal.

The head of UEFA referees Roberto Rosetti said the changes were more in tune with "the spirit of football".

Mercifully, there appears to be a change in stance over the use of VAR. At the finals, the video assistant must have “clear evidence” before a goal is disallowed and television viewers will only see the "final" line used for offside decisions.

It's a welcome development if a year too late in its implementation.


The legendary former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry has returned to the role he performed at the 2018 World Cup as an assistant coach to Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.

Henry, who had been working as a television analyst following his departure from MLS side Montreal Impact, has been reunited with international football's unlikeliest managerial team alongside Martinez and former Celtic and Scotland midfielder Shaun Maloney.

The Frenchman said. "It’s a continuation of an unfinished story and we will give everything for a successful outcome.”

It was revealed recently that Martinez has held talks with Tottenham Hotspur about becoming the club's next manager this summer and that further discussions could take place after the tournament.

Part III of the Martinez-Maloney-Henry love tryst should certainly make for fascinating viewing if the latter rocks up in a TH-initialled Spurs tracksuit at Martinez's first press conference.


Scotland begin their assault on the tournament with their first Group D game a week today against the Czech Republic at the site of what is now known as the third Hampden Park.

The first Hampden – which was home to Queen's Park and which also hosted early Scotland internationals against England and Scottish Cup finals – can be found at the site of the Hampden Bowling Club a short jaunt from the current stadium on the fringes of the Cathcart Railway.

In a sport where digging up the past hasn't always made for comfortable listening for fans of the Tartan Army, a project led by Archaeology Scotland which starts today, should bring cheer to every fan of the beautiful game as excavations begin to uncover the remains of the very first international football stadium.

“This is an amazing opportunity for Archaeology Scotland to uncover one of the most important sporting sites in the world” says Dr Paul Murtagh of Archaeology Scotland, who is leading the dig. “It is the place where all football stadiums, and indeed sport stadiums around the world, are able to trace their history back to. This is not only one of the most important archaeological sites in Glasgow or Scotland, but it is one of the most important sites in the world, especially for those interested in the social history of the modern world, as well as the history of the beautiful game.”


Last week we had a Dundee punk band offering up it's alternative to a Scotland song for the finals; this week it's a Welsh sea shanty, written by 11-year-old Osian Jones which won a schools' competition for best chant to accompany Wales' bid for glory at the finals. A video of the youngster tapping the back of his guitar and chanting for all his might is in circulation online. In amongst the gaelic, Gareth Bales and Daniel Jameses comes the immortal line 'da, da, da, dat, dat, dat, da, da, dat, dat, dat, da'. A note to Jones' future self: once it's there, it's there forever.