Talking points ahead of Scotland’s clash with Spain


Scotland take on Spain in the second of their 2024 Euro qualifying double-header at Hampden Park on Tuesday night.

The Scots started their campaign on Saturday with an encouraging 3-0 victory over bottom-seeds Cyprus.

Here, the PA news agency looks at key talking points ahead of La Roja’s visit.

An unusually good start to a qualifying campaign

The victory over Cyprus marked the first opening day victory in a European Championship qualifying campaign since a 6–0 victory over the Faroe Islands at Celtic Park in 2006.

In previous European Championship campaigns, Scotland felt like they needed to catch up almost immediately, but three points is a solid start to Group A games.

Top division Spain, who beat Norway 3-0 at home on Saturday night, will of course be tougher opponents, but manager Steve Clarke knows a positive result will provide further encouragement in June’s double-header against Norway and Georgia.

The Manchester United midfielder came off the bench on Saturday to secure points for Clarke’s side.

John McGinn’s attack in the first half separated the two sides, but things got a little nervous until McTominay showed his finishing prowess in the dying minutes with two strikes from the box.

Clarke started with a 3-4-3 formation with attacking midfielders Stuart Armstrong and McGinn supporting Che Adams.

Callum McGregor is a regular in defensive midfield, so if there is any change in the more defensive playmakers then it is likely that Ryan Jack will make way for McTominay.

Replace Che Adams with Lyndon Dykes?

The Southampton striker was dropped from the squad after a blow to the calf against Cyprus with Clarke admitting the loss was a “blow”.

Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland was called up as a replacement on Sunday, but will almost certainly start on the bench.

Clarke also has Ryan Christie and Jacob Brown in his squad, but Dykes, recently recovered from debilitating pneumonia, took over from Adams on Saturday and is likely to start against Spain.

The QPR striker scored eight times in 27 caps – including winners against the likes of Slovakia, Moldova and Austria – but a goal against the Spaniards would further endear him to the Tartan Army.

Will Clarke play back three again?

Defense will be the key to a positive result against Spain. Clarke played three centre-backs against Cyprus – Ryan Porteous, Grant Hanley and Kieran Tierney – allowing him to use the Arsenal defender alongside captain Andrew Robertson.

The former Kilmarnock, Reading and West Brom manager may be considering a return to a back four against Spain, but would Tierney be one of two centre-backs there too?

Furthermore, will Clarke be tempted to replace the youngest member of the side, 20-year-old Aaron Hickey, who played a fine game at right-back against Cyprus, with Nathan Patterson, who came on after 79 minutes on Saturday?

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