Albiston: The stage is set for Scott

Friday 14 June 2024 11:14

Former Manchester United defender Arthur Albiston believes Scott McTominay will do Scotland proud in the Euro 2024 opener against Germany.

Steve Clarke's men begin the tournament, in the 20:00 BST kick-off in Munich this evening (Friday), looking to upset the odds against the host nation.

McTominay scored seven times in qualifying and has emerged as a key figure for his country, recovering from the knock he sustained in the Emirates FA Cup final against Manchester City to surely start at the Olympiastadion.

And our Academy product is often a man for the big occasion, a point supported by the fact he scored the opening goal in United games against Chelsea, Liverpool and, in the cup semi-final, with Coventry City last season.

Quiz: Scottish United players


As the Tartan Army prepare for the Euro 2024 opener with hosts Germany, tackle these questions on our Scots.

"It's not a bad game for Scotland to start and I just hope the host nation aren't firing on all cylinders and we might catch them cold," ex-defender Albiston told club media. "Scott has done really well and has played in a few positions for Scotland and he played some games at the back.

"He can play in a back three and he's quite adaptable. We've seen at Old Trafford, as well, that he's a danger arriving in the box late because he's such a big lad. I think he's difficult for defenders to handle and he was fantastic in the qualifying campaign for Scotland, scoring seven goals.

"That was really good so, hopefully, he can continue that in the next few weeks. Scotland are probably stronger in the middle of the park and, unfortunately, Lyndon Dykes has got injured too. There is Lawrence Shankland at Hearts, who is a big lad as well, but he's only played a few games.

"So they need a bit of a focal point up there and the midfielders, like John McGinn, Billy Gilmour from Brighton, Ryan Christie at Bournemouth, and Celtic's Callum McGregor, can get their foot on it, get up and get goals too so, hopefully, that will be the case." 

McTominay comes into the tournament on the back of another season where he proved extremely important to the United cause and was voted his national side's men's Player of the Year.

"There were a lot of rumours about his future this time last year but he knuckled down, got into the side and has shown his worth really," added Albiston, who represented Scotland at the 1986 World Cup. "Some of the goals he scores for us, he's been outstanding and hopefully he can continue that, starting tonight.

"I remember one season, when he was very young, he played as a striker in the Reserves, when there was a shortage of forward players at that age. So he knows what it's like to go up front and what do when the ball goes in the box, so that's why he's scored so many goals. You know, he's just a good all-round player. As I said, he even slotted into the back for Scotland, when they played three there. So he's very adaptable. He will never let Scotland down, just like, he never lets United down.

"He knows all about arriving in the box and causing opposition defences problems, like he did when scoring the two goals against Spain in a difficult game at Hampden Park. But also, when you're defending, which Scotland are probably going to have to do for long periods tonight, he's vital in his own box as well.

"You know what you're going to get from him. He'll get his foot in, get dirty on the pitch and get around it as well, sliding about and getting stuck in. He's a fans' favourite really, coming up through the youth team at United, and has done really well. I just hope he can continue that and what he's done over the last couple of seasons with Scotland."

Scott: You live for this as a footballer


McTominay is recharged and ready to go as Scotland prepare for the Euro 2024 opener against Germany.

Albiston, who played 485 games for United and is 12th on the all-time list of appearance makers, believes Scotland are capable of making history by progressing from Group A.

"That's what we're hoping for," he said. "We'll have great support, as expected, and, hopefully, they won't let them down. They can get something but the games come around quickly. You play four or five days later and then four or five days after that. So it's important to try to get something from the first game. I know it's a tough ask, playing Germany, the host nation, but their profile has not been as great as they usually are.

"They've changed the manager and changed around the players. So you never know. The host nation are always expected to do well in their own country but we may just catch them off guard.

"Getting out of the group is going to be difficult. Switzerland will have big support and Hungary have done well in the last few years in the UEFA Nations League. So it is a tough group but you expect that. You just hope you can start with something positive and continue that in the next game because, as I said, the games are coming up really quickly and you have just got to hit the ground running."

In terms of the competition overall, we asked Arthur for his view on the winners and Player of the Tournament.

"It's a difficult one," he admitted. "England had a bad result last week against Iceland but they've got players who know how things work at a tournament. Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot are with Portugal, and I expect Bruno to be a star of the tournament. If he is, then I am sure they can have a good run at this one."