Ex-Motherwell boss Stuart McCall reveals whether he thinks Stephen O'Donnell and Declan Gallagher will start for Scotland at Euro 2020

Former Motherwell boss Stuart McCall expects current ’Well right back Stephen O’Donnell to start for Scotland at this month’s European Championships.
Stuart McCall (right) and fellow ex-Scotland ace Darren Jackson with Euro 2020 trophyStuart McCall (right) and fellow ex-Scotland ace Darren Jackson with Euro 2020 trophy
Stuart McCall (right) and fellow ex-Scotland ace Darren Jackson with Euro 2020 trophy

O’Donnell and Steelmen centre back Declan Gallagher – who will join Aberdeen this summer – were excellent as the Dark Blues sealed qualification for the finals which will see us play Czech Republic and Croatia in Group F matches at Hampden Park, sandwiched between a trip to play England.

McCall, 56, who bossed ’Well from 2010 to 2014, said: “It’s been terrific (to see O’Donnell and Gallagher playing for Scotland), they’ve done really, really well.

"I think the key is that when they’ve gone in, people have gone: ‘I don’t know how he’s going to do’ and they’ve both been excellent when they’ve played.

"So it’s certainly good for the club, definitely.

"I think O’Donnell will start in the Euros. It goes down to how Steve (Scotland manager Steve Clarke) wants to play in the first game.

"Gallagher has got a chance too. Steve might have a team in his mind now for Czech Republic. There will be a couple of niggles and a couple of injuries.

"There will also be one player that does well in the training sessions.”

McCall, who has played in every Scotland match at a Euro finals (1992 and ’96), feels we missed a trick in that latter tournament when we missed qualification from the group on goal difference, including a famous 2-0 defeat to England at Wembley in which Gary McAllister had a penalty saved by David Seaman before the hosts went straight down the other end to seal the win with a Paul Gascoigne strike.

Ex-midfielder McCall, also one of 70,000 Scottish fans in attendance to see us win 1-0 at Wembley in 1981 thanks to John Robertson’s penalty, said: “At Euro 96 there were 7000 Scots although it sounded like 70,000!

"And I think when we go down there (on June 18) there’s going to be 2700.

"They’ll go in as underdogs, as we did. In 1996 I thought that England had thoroughly deserved it but when you actually watch the game back, first half was probably even, they had a good 15-minute spell second half when they made a change with Jamie Redknapp coming on but then we took control of the game again.

"Obviously the penalty was a key moment and then they break away and get one of the goals of the tournament.

"I think we came away from that disappointed and frustrated because we’d done OK.

"But when you see the goals, losing to two world class players in Shearer and Gascoigne, sometimes you have to accept that.”

After the home group opener against the Czech Republic next Monday, June 14, 2pm KO, Scotland will travel to Wembley to face the Auld Enemy on Friday June 18 before finshing the group by hosting Croatia on Tuesday, June 22, both 8pm KOs.

The game against the English looks the toughest, although it could be argued that the Three Lions of 2021 lack a mercurial talent like Paul Gascoigne in their side.

McCall said: “Gascoigne was a once in a generation player but there are one or two of the current England team getting near.

"The way Phil Foden is playing at Manchester City is great. He has really come on in the past year and Raheem Sterling is not getting a game because he plays in his position.

"But it’s on the day if you just go in with that bit of confidence and belief.

"Most of all you need that bit of luck. Gary (McAllister) got a bit of stick for missing the penalty in 1996.

"It wasn’t as if it was a really soft penalty, he hits it decent.

"Seaman goes with his right hand and saves it with his left elbow, that little bit of luck you need.

"Keep your elbows down Seaman and we’d have scored.”

McCall, who made almost 1000 senior playing appearances in a 23-year career which ended in 2005, turned out for Bradford City (two spells), Everton, Rangers and Sheffield United.

He won 40 international caps, scoring one goal for Scotland in the famous 2-1 victory over Sweden at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

"If I can score then there’s a chance for anyone let’s be honest!” McCall said. "That was the one goal I scored in 40 caps. As I said to my kids if you score in a World Cup you don’t want to bother about these Mickey Mouse tournaments!

"It was one of those things. I was told to be on the edge of the box by (Scotland manager) Andy Roxburgh, as you normally have midfielders.

"But I thought he meant the six-yard box not the 18-yard box!

"Big Slim (Dave MacPherson) flicked it on and it was a great feeling to score. Wee Mo (Johnston) got the penalty after it and the biggest thing was to see the Tartain Army happy after how much we had let the country and nation down after losing 1-0 to Costa Rica.

"We had to beat Sweden, it was a must. As I’ve said before I was two games short of 1000 competitve games and two of them were won in the tunnel.

"That Sweden game for me was won in the tunnel. We were giving it all the Braveheart stuff, they were looking like bronzed Gods with Glen Hysen and Jonas Thern.

"They were athetes and we were just freckled, ginger, up and at ’em Bravehearts.

"I could see them wilting a bit in the tunnel and we went out and just hammered into them and thankfully got the job done.

"We got a win at each international tournament I played at.

"We need a win this time. It would be brilliant to get through to the next phase.”

Stuart was speaking last Wednesday on the day Glasgow welcomed the UEFA Euro 2020 trophy to Toryglen Football Centre.

He and fellow ex-Scotland star Darren Jackson took part in a walking football session as the Henri Delaunay Cup made its penultimate stop on the tour before heading to London.

Over 70 participants got the chance to play walking football in front of the iconic trophy, as the country looks ahead to Scotland’s first tournament appearance in 23 years.

McCall said: “It was a pleasure to see so many participants enjoying the walking football session today, regardless of age or ability.

"You can see how much football means to people in Glasgow and I think that’s what makes being a host city for Euro 2020 all the more special.

"You can really feel the excitement building for the tournament and to have the chance see the Euro trophy up close and personal was an added thrill for the players today.”