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Kenny McLean: EURO 2020 qualification would be one of career highlights

12 November 2020

Kenny McLean says Scotland will be going into their EURO 2020 play-off match with Serbia on Thursday night full of confidence following an eight-game unbeaten run.

The Scots have the chance to qualify for the championships thanks to a successful Nations League campaign and a semi-final penalty shootout victory over Israel last month, in which Kenny scored the winning spot kick.

In all competitions, Steve Clarke’s side are unbeaten since October 2019 and have beaten the likes of Cyprus, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in that time. Serbia, who qualified for 2018 World Cup, will provide a tough test at the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade, but Kenny says the Tartan Army should be confident going into the game.

“It is obviously going to be a very tough game,” he said. “But it is one that we need to take confidence into because we are now unbeaten in eight games – and we have won six of them – which tells it is own story.

“There is so many different things that come together when you go away with the national team. We have got so many good players and sometimes on the pitch we don’t come together as a team. However, recently we have been doing that, so it has been great. I love going away and playing for my country and everybody is the same. I think there is so much more to come from us at Scotland.”

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If Scotland do qualify for EURO 2020, which has been postponed until the summer of 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be the first time the country has qualified for a major football tournament since the World Cup of 1998, when they lit up the tournament with stunning performance in the opening game against Brazil – coming within a whisker of shocking the World Cup holders at the time.

However, McLean says it is important the country looks forward rather than back.  

“It is about the current group of players wanting to make that bit of history for Scotland and be the next squad to get us there,” he said.  

“I have got no doubt that we have got the quality to get us there. It is just about us going and doing the job now."

Asked where it would rank in his career, if he could help Scotland to EURO 2020, he said: “I think for anybody – I have obviously had some big moments in my career up to now, playing for Scotland, winning the Championship with Norwich and playing in the Premier League – it would trump everything.

“It is such a huge honour for anybody to represent their country and if we can do this, after Scotland has waited such a long time, I think for most of the boys in the squad it be the same.

“Even if you look at Andy Robertson, who has won a European Cup, I think it would even trump that for him. It is such a massive game and such a massive occasion and one we are really looking forward to.”

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