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The Tartan Army are back! Six reasons why Scotland can finally end their tournament woes and get out the groups

Back in 2021, Scotland were braced for their first taste of major-tournament football in a quarter of a century. Fuelled by a 1977 disco hit and led by a coach who knew how to squeeze every ounce of talent out of the group, excitement across the country was palpable.

But Euro 2020 simply did not scratch the itch. Not only were the results disappointing, with a scarcely watchable 0-0 draw with England the highlight, Covid restrictions meant that a sizeable portion of those who wanted to attend the games at Hampden Park and Wembley were unable to do so.

Thankfully, after missing out on a spot at the 2022 World Cup, the Tartan Army will be out in force this summer, having breezed through Euro 2024 qualifying. After that excellent campaign, hopes were sky high as they target a first-ever progression to the knockout stages in a major tournament. However, Clarke must have smashed a few mirrors and walked under some ladders after qualification was confirmed, with Scotland enduring a seemingly never-ending stream of bad luck over the past few months.

Their injury list is of the biggest concern. Serie A Midfielder of the Year Lewis Ferguson is not available after a standout campaign with Bologna, while Nathan Patterson and Aaron Hickey's absences create an issue at right-back. Lyndon Dykes might have started up front too, but he's injured, while potential wildcard Ben Doak has been forced to withdraw as well.

Their recent form has also been concerning, too. Since seeing off Cyprus in their fifth qualifying game, Clarke's side have won just one of their subsequent nine matches, with that victory coming against 203rd-ranked Gibraltar. This must come with the caveat that England, France and Spain were among their opponents during this period, though they have also lost to Northern Ireland and, most recently, failed to beat Finland in their final warm-up game.

Despite this, if Scotland taught us anything during their road to the finals, it's to expect the unexpected. Here, then, are a few reasons why the Tartan Army might finally be roaring out of the group stages this summer: