Scotland play the Czech Republic this afternoon in the opening match of their Euro 2020 campaign.
It is the men’s side’s first appearance at a major championship finals since the World Cup in France in 1998.
Of course, Scotland have never qualified for the latter stages of either the European Championships or World Cup, so Steve Clarke’s side go into today’s match hoping to take the first step towards a truly historic achievement.
Make sure to share your prediction in the poll below.
How do Scotland get on in opening games?
Since 1970, Scotland have qualified for six World Cups and this year is the third time they have made the finals of the European Championships.
Looking back, it’s clear that the opening match more often than not proves to be a sobering experience for the Tartan Army.
In the 1974 World Cup, the Scots beat Zaire 2-0 in their opener but draws against Brazil and Yugoslavia were not enough to qualify for the knockout stages.
The 1978 World Cup brought one of Scotland’s most infamous international results — one of our most celebrated squads collapsing to a 3-1 defeat against Peru.
On to 1982 and that World Cup in Spain got off to a flying start for Scotland, with a 5-2 win against New Zealand. The same again today would be very welcome.
Mexico in 1986 was back to disappointment on the Scots’ opening day, as a strong side led by Alex Ferguson fell to a 1-0 loss against Denmark.
Now we reach 1990 and Andy Roxburgh’s Scotland side recorded a loss to rival that of the Peru debacle in 1978 as unfancied Costa Rica recorded a 1-0 victory.
Two years later, the Scots lined up for the finals of the Euros for the first time. However, their opening match of Euro 92 brought defeat once again for Roxburghe’s men — this time losing 1-0 against the Netherlands.
Scotland failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the USA but were back at the Euros in 1996 in England. Once again, their opening match was against the Dutch and this time they managed a creditable goalless draw before Gazza & Co. broke their hearts at Wembley.
Finally, we reach 1998 and the Scots’ last appearance at a major finals. Craig Brown’s men played in the opening match of the World Cup and pushed the superstars of Brazil all the way before ultimately falling to a 2-1 defeat.
Scotland’s record so far
Summary: Scotland have played eight opening matches at major finals. Their record so far is: 2 wins, 5 losses and 1 draw.
Can they add to their win tally against the Czech Republic today? Share your prediction below: