SCOTLAND assistant manager John Carver has dismissed suggestions the national team’s opening Euro 2024 match against hosts Germany is “a free hit” and expressed hope they can catch their opponents cold and pull off a famous result.

Steve Clarke’s side take on Julian Nagelsmann’s team in the tournament curtain raiser in the Allianz Arena in Munich on Friday night and are not widely expected to win their opening Group A outing.

Their hosts, who are set to field Toni Kroos in midfield after the Real Madrid midfielder came out of international retirement earlier this year, are third favourites behind England and France to win the European Championships for the fourth time.   

However, Carver has seen how major footballing nations have struggled to make an impact in their opening games at finals in recent years and stressed that Scotland will be going all out for victory in Bavaria.

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Asked if the Germany game was a free hit, he said: "No, absolutely not. People might write them off and say we should go out and get something out of the game. So there is a little bit of pressure on us to perform and do well. I don’t think it’s a free hit, no.

“They have world-class players, but you hope they get off to a slow start. We need a little bit of luck, we need a bit of good fortune with injuries, there are a few facets that you need going into the first game. But let’s hope they have a slow start.

(Image: PA) “I would be very surprised because their coach is very professional and has got them well organised. We have watched their previous two games and they were maybe in second or third gear if I am being honest.

“Their mindset will be ‘I need to be ready for that first game against Scotland’. Unless you have been in that environment 24-7, it is quite hard to put into words what it is all about. As a player, you know when you are going to peak and when you have to play that first game.”

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Meanwhile, Carver has stressed the thoughts of everyone in the Scotland camp are with Alan Hansen, the former national team centre half who is seriously ill in hospital, at the moment.

“We heard the news when we stepped off the plane on Sunday evening,” he said. “I would just like to pass a message on and say that everybody here, the players staff and everybody connected with the SFA, are thinking about Alan and his family. It’s an extremely difficult time.

“He was a fantastic defender but a tremendous ball-playing centre-half. The way he stepped out with the ball was just so graceful and that’s what I remember about him as a player.

“He played for one of the top sides in the world at the time, lifting European Cups and winning almost everything else. He is a proper legend of the game.”