THE focus has shifted for Borna Barisic. As he strives for international achievement, his successes with his club act as inspiration this summer.

A back injury may have interrupted Barisic’s preparations from a physical perspective in recent weeks, but he could not be in a better place mentally than he is at present.

An unbeaten Premiership campaign last term earned Rangers a historic league title and Barisic the first medal of his Ibrox career as Celtic were finally overcome and Steven Gerrard’s side reigned supreme in Scotland.

Glasgow Times: Borna Barisic

The challenge for Barisic now is very different. Spain lie in wait on Monday evening as Croatia – beaten World Cup finalists three years ago – attempt to take the next step along the road that they hope will lead to Wembley next month.

The 28-year-old would have to watch the defeat to England and draw with the Czech Republic from the stands as a result of the knock that curtailed his involvement with Zlatko Dalic’s side earlier this month.

A return to action at Hampden coincided with the 3-1 victory that ensured Croatia reached the knockout rounds at Scotland’s expense.

And now Barisic is determined to capitalise on the individual and collective feelgood factor that he continues to revel in.

“Yes absolutely, when you have a season like the season I had," Barisic said when asked if his successes with Rangers gave him belief heading into the European Championships.

"Not just on a personal level but all of the club, then of course that brings a lot of self confidence.

“We had big matches at Rangers with the championship and also the Europa League.

“So all of that big number brings a lot of confidence, especially in big matches for the national team.

"Yes, of course it does [top off a dream season]. I didn’t think about it during the season because I was focused on Rangers during that time and winning the championship.

"But at the moment when we won, I started focusing more and more on the Euros. This is really the cherry on top for me personally after this season with Rangers.

“Even ahead of the tournament and ahead of the match, they wished me good luck.

Glasgow Times: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

"After the match, people congratulated me and there were messages that we deserved the win and we deserved to go through and that they were supporting Croatia further on in the tournament which made me very happy.

“We have a lot of support from Scotland. I won’t talk about the advice [from Gerrard] but he did wish me the best of luck at the tournament."

As he witnessed his countrymen lose at Wembley and have to come from behind to draw at Hampden in their first two Group D matches, Barisic never lost faith that Croatia would qualify for the last 16 this summer.

The performance against Steve Clarke’s side was inspired by Luka Modric, but it was more complete and accomplished all round as Scotland’s dreams were brought to a premature end.

Croatia will have their 12th man behind them in Copenhagen on Monday as a passionate and vocal fanbase are finally able to travel in numbers and Barisic is confident Dalic’s side can rise to the occasion.

Barisic said: “I think the game against Scotland did give us a lot of confidence and a boost of energy and belief. It did give us a jumping off point for everything that is coming now.

“But that is behind us and we need to be focusing on the next match and preparing for everything. It might be more difficult, but the Scotland game gives a reason to build up optimism for what is coming.

Glasgow Times: Croatia's Borna Barisic (left) and manager Zlatko Dalic during the training session at Wembley Stadium

"Having our fans there is something that’s very necessary for us. We are really craving that because we have a special relationship with them.

"It was a big drawback in London and Glasgow that we didn’t have our fans there.

"The fact so many tickets have been sold for the last 16 in so few hours really tells you how much the fans want to support us.

"It’s going to mean so much to us. I expect a great support and it’s going to make things easier for us, definitely."

If the win over Scotland does indeed prove to be a foundation for Croatia to build on, then there is no reason why they cannot overcome Spain and set up a last eight meeting with France or Switzerland.

The three-time European champions finished second in their section with five points from their matches with Sweden, Poland and Slovakia.

It would be folly to suggest Spain are not one of the favourites for the tournament, however, and there remains a healthy respect for Luis Enrique’s side within the Croatian camp.

Barisic said: "Of course there are going to be differences to the past matches. Spain loves possession and they have excellent qualities in terms of keeping the ball.

Glasgow Times: Luis Enrique

"They are dangerous when they have it, so of course we have to set ourselves up for a different match and a different style of play compared to the three group games.

"That’s kind of a double-edged sword. When you are going into a game not as favourite then maybe you are a little bit more relaxed mentally.

"But then if you are not the favourite it means the team you’re playing against, at least theoretically, is better.

Glasgow Times: Croatia's Borna Barisic during a Euro 2020 match between Croatia and Scotland at Hampden

"The one thing for sure is that it’s not going to be an easy match. We know how good Spain are.

"But I am very optimistic. I don’t have any doubts about our quality, which we have shown so many times in the past.

"If we build our attitude and style of play based on our last game then I do believe we will play an excellent match against Spain."