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Duncan Shearer column: Scotland looked comfortable on the biggest stage at Wembley which bodes well for decisive Croatia encounter

Scotland manager Steve Clarke.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke.

Scotland know what they need to do against Croatia to reach the knockout stages of Euro 2020, and Steve Clarke’s side can take all the belief they need from Friday’s 0-0 draw with England.

I thought they were fantastic from start to finish at Wembley. They were brave to go with two up front.

England had chances as well, with one off the post and a couple of half-chances, but I think we shaded it. We were well organised and well up for it, and we were unlucky not to get the win, even if John Stones had the best chance.

About halfway through the game I saw John McGinn having a wee laugh with Scott McTominay. When you see players smiling like that, you know fine they are comfortable in their surroundings, playing in a massive game.

England’s Harry Kane (right) and Scotland’s John McGinn (centre).

They all looked comfortable and I was really pleased to see they were enjoying themselves.

Steve has kept that belief in them for a while, telling everyone that we are a good team and people have to understand that. We just need that wee icing on the cake with that ball to be hitting the onion bag.

It has to be a concern because that could be the downfall of us. We haven’t scored in the first two games and if we get another blank sheet we are out.

To go out that way would be horrible, considering we know we are as good as the next team.

It would be nice to get an early goal against Croatia, because the longer the game goes on the more it will play on their minds with them having not yet scored.

Everything else seems in place, we just need that wee bit of composure in and around the box for somebody to stick it away.

They know they need to score a goal and keep a clean sheet – any win will do.

I don’t think there will be many changes to that starting 11, although one enforced change will be Billy Gilmour, who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Billy Gilmour.

It’s a huge blow as he was fantastic in his first international start on Friday. I’m a big Chelsea fan and I’ve known about Billy coming through for a long time.

It was fantastic seeing him come up against his team-mate in Mason Mount, they were going at it hammer and tongs.

There’s a feeling that Scotland get built up and then knocked down, but a lot of teams do that. England have been doing that for years.

There were a couple of smirky remarks at the start from the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole, they were just writing us off completely.

I think it just spurred the supporters, players and manager on and I loved every minute of it – it was edge of seat stuff and we rightly got a lot of plaudits.

Croatia are no mugs. It’s going to be another hard one, but we are at home in our usual surroundings.

We have shown we can go down to Wembley and get a comfortable point.

We just need to try and get through this. When I look at that team, I think we really have something for the future there. There are a lot of young players in that squad, so there is plenty hope.

Meanwhile, based on what I saw on Friday, England will have to improve considerably in order to be in with a chance of winning the tournament.

England look short of what is needed to win tournament

People blow England up, they’ve got good individual players but they did not look any better than us.

They have certainly not played to what you would suggest their individuals could do.

They have a few players who have not been playing well, such Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.

Harry Kane.

They have good players who do it week-in, week-out in the Premier League, but they are missing that something.

They were joint favourites to win the competition, but I didn’t see anything there or even in their first game against Croatia that suggested to me they are stronger than the likes of Belgium and France.

People said that if England turned up they could give us a bit of a hiding, but you just don’t know in football. Maybe they have got all their bad games out of the way.

We don’t know, I’m just concentrating on the Croatia game and I cannot wait.

Caley Thistle shaping up well for new campaign

Billy Dodds is starting to put his own stamp on Caley Thistle’s side with some exciting new additions ahead of the new Championship season.

I have always waxed lyrical about Tom Walsh. I think he puts in a fantastic delivery, and with Billy Mckay back on board there is no doubt he can still do it at Championship level.

Tom Walsh.

They have brought in Michael Gardyne, who will add a bit of zip.

They are good signings.

I don’t know anything about the lad Reece McAlear from Norwich City, but he sounds like a good young lad who is highly-rated for them to pay a fee to Motherwell for him. He will be itching to get some football behind him.

It looks like Miles Storey will be leaving, but he’s not a prolific goalscorer. I’m not so sure they will be too concerned, especially having Walsh in there as a replacement straight away, while Gardyne can play out wide as well.

Doddsy might be looking for a centre-half after losing Brad Mckay, but, with the way he’s talking, it looks like he might add another one or two to be set for the season.

I was a bit worried when I saw a few players leaving, given how many they have lost over the last couple of years.

This will be their fifth year in the Championship, which is a worry for them as well, and there are two good teams coming down from the Premiership.

It will be hard for them, but I’m a bit more excited about them now than I was three or four weeks ago.

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