BELGRADE, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Reaching Euro 2020 with Scotland would be a childhood dream come true, captain Andy Robertson said ahead of Thursday’s playoff final against Serbia.
The Scots, who last qualified for a European Championship in 1996, face the Serbs at Red Star’s Rajko Mitic stadium with the home side aiming to reach their first as an independent nation.
“I was four when Scotland last got to a (European Championship) tournament and my whole generation has missed out on that,” Liverpool left back Robertson was quoted as saying by the BBC on Wednesday.
“It definitely gives us an added incentive to put a smile on the faces of five million people back home. We also want to do it for the manager. We know how much he missed out on it as a player and how much it would mean to him.”
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has overseen an eight-match unbeaten run and his team reached the final with a penalty shootout win over Israel.
The former Chelsea defender acknowledged the Scots were eagerly eyeing the prize of joining the tournament’s Group D including England, the Czech Republic and 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia.
With matches in that pool of next year’s 24-nation tournament to be played at Wembley and Hampden Park, Clarke stressed the players needed to put in a performance which would leave them with no regrets.
“A game of this magnitude, I probably don’t need to say that because the players understand if they come off the pitch with regrets they’ll never forget that night,” he said.
“You go out there, do your best, give everything you can and hopefully the footballing gods smile on you and you get the right result.”
Serbia manager Ljubisa Tumbakovic also voiced a battlecry, asking the entire Balkan nation to support their team in what he called the biggest match of his coaching career.
“We hope the whole nation will get behind us as one so we can give them some joy,” the 68-year old told a video news conference.
“Given my age, this is surely going to be the biggest match of my managerial career.” (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Edititng by Ed Osmond)
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