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Ian Maxwell says Scotland are planning to ensure Euro 2020 is no one-off appearance

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell.
Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell.

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell says the men’s national team have no intention of allowing their appearance at this summer’s Euro 2020 finals to be a one-off.

The Scots were eliminated from their first major tournament in 23 years on Tuesday, after falling to a 3-1 group stage defeat to Croatia at Hampden Park.

Steve Clarke’s men had still been in with a chance of reaching the knockout stages for the first time, after claiming a point against England at Wembley following their opening loss to Czech Republic.

Maxwell, who appointed Clarke two years ago, says ending the long wait to qualify for a tournament is not reason for contentment, and he says the experience will make the squad even hungrier to make it a regular occurrence.

Steve Clarke.

Maxwell said: “I think you need to be balanced and look at the journey we are on.

“The heartening thing for me was that when you listened to the manager and players after the game it wasn’t a case of ‘it was great just to be here.’

“It was more a case of now we’ve been here and had a taste of it, we want to come back as soon as possible. We’ll be better prepared with more experience and understand how tournament football works.

“I definitely sensed a determination from the players and manager to build on this and not just an experience to look back on nostalgically years from now about the time the men’s teams qualified for the Euros.

“Now we’ve been here, progress is doing it again soon. The players want to get to major tournaments and now they’ve had a taste of what that means in international football.”

Scotland were well-beaten by a Croatian side ranked 14th in the world, which reached the final of the last World Cup in 2018.

Maxwell feels Zlatko Dalic’s experienced side provided a strong framework for what Scotland must look to achieve in the coming years.

Luka Modric takes on Andy Robertson.

He added: “It will be difficult but this is a youthful group who will benefit greatly from this. We have a group of players with more tournaments in them.

‘You look at Billy Gilmour, David Turnbull and Nathan Patterson coming in, Kieran Tierney is a young guy as well.

“We have a group of players who have three or four tournament qualifications in them over their career.

“Look at the Croatian team and you have Modric with 130 odd caps, Perisic with over a hundred, Vida has over 80, Lovren is on 60, Kovacic on 60 plus Brozovic has over 50.

“‘They are probably at the other end of the scale where they need to look at having younger ones coming through now because some are getting older.

“I’ve spoken before about the Northern Ireland squad who qualified from their group at Euro 2016.

“They had a group of players who all had 50 or 60 caps under their belt by the time they got to that tournament.

“There is no substitute for that experience.

“We have never had players who have gone into a game like Tuesday who have been there before.

“But the only way you get it is by putting yourself back in that position.”

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell.
Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell.

Scotland’s focus will now be on resuming their World Cup 2022 qualification bid in September, with their next game against Denmark in Copenhagen.

The Danes are four points ahead of the second-placed Scots in Group F, with only one automatic qualification place up for grabs for the group winners, and a play-off spot for the runners-up.

Maxwell hopes competing at the Euros can revive Scotland’s campaign, adding: “I am really looking forward to the September games now.

“I would love to think that the engagement we have had with the national team will continue into those matches.

“Off the back of the government announcement and the restrictions easing I hope we can get a good number of fans into the stadium and start to see Hampden being full again with people who want to come and see the national team because they are playing well.

“That’s the aim and I hope the positivity of the last month rubs off when World Cup qualifiers in September, October and November come around.”

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