Scotland's first European championship was the Euro 1992, which was A trial by fire.
Just 2 years after playing their first World Cup, Revolutionary Scotland Manager Andy Roxburgh had guided his team through The UEFA Euro qualification to finish top of their group to take them to the Euro finals in Sweden for the very first time. At the tournament proper, they were to face off against the Netherlands, Germany and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The Scotland squad was filled with home-based talent with just four players in the 20-man squad based out of England. The captain Richard Gough led the team from front, and the team included talented players like Andy Goram, Maurice Malpas, Brian McClair, Ally McCoist, Tom Boyd, Gary McAllister and a young Duncan Ferguson. This was Scotland’s first UEFA Euro championship.
June, 1992, Revolutionary Manager Andy Roxburgh prepares his young team for a step into the unknown.
He said, ‘”When you go out on that park today, you’ll be doing something that no other Scottish player has ever done, All those superstars of the past, nobody ever did what you are doing – it’s something that nobody can ever take away from you.”
The team all riled up entered into the Euro 1992 for the first time in Scotland’s history
FIRST GAME VS NETHERLANDS
Gothenburg, June 12,The first game Scotland played was against the former champions Netherlands, A star-studded team led by the legendary Gullit and with players like Denis Bergkamp and Ronald Koeman, The Dutch team were the favourites in the competition.
Despite a really energetic performance from the first to the very last minute, Scotland succumbed to a Bergkamp goal losing the tie 1-0.
Former Scotland Midfielder recalls the game and he says “We were huge underdogs, we got so near, it was tough losing a goal in the last part of the game like that. I look back at that Dutch side and the actual goal they scored involved Bergkamp, Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten. Four world-class players, and they had Ronald Koeman at centre-back.”
“We came off the park thinking we gave everything and did better than most expected us to do, so we took a lot of confidence, there was no time to dwell on the result, the situation was already critical in terms of qualification. Scotland had just lost to the European champions, but an encounter with the world champions was less than 72 hours away. Yet, spirits remained high in the squad.”
The Scottish performance was probably that teams best performance and they really took the game to the Dutch in Scotland’s first UEFA Euro championship.
SECOND GAME VS GERMANY
Norkopping, 15th June, Scotland’s mood in the camp was happy, but the players knew they had to be better the on their best against World Champions Germany to stand any chance of advancing to the Knock-outs.
It was a really open game, and one in which many Scottish fans believed that they could have scored a handful, yet they somehow lost the game 2-0.
Karl-Heinz Riedle opened the scoring against the scots just after 29 minutes, and a very unfortunate deflection from Stefan Effenberg’s cross at the 47th minute knocked Scotland out of the tournament in the group stages.
Roxbourgh said, “We felt extremely unlucky, Scotland pulverised Germany for a lot of that game. They scored a freakish second goal and the scoreline was a nonsense.”
Scotland deserved to win the game but despite their top performance they werent able to win the game.
THIRD GAME VS CIS
Norkopping, 18th June their final opponents in the group, CIS – the Commonwealth of Independent States, the temporary team formed Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 – had 2 draws against Germany and Netherlands and a win against Scotland would qualify them for the Knock-outs.
The Scots were absolutely class as they defeated CIS 3-0 in the final game and the CIS ended up leaving the stadium, distraught. The CIS were not expecting a hammering like this and apparently they had bought a bottle of Champagne even before the game started. CIS could not make it to the knock outs and Roxbourgh lived up to his promise of defeating CIS in the final game.
Mccall said, “We had some beers back on our bus and were knocking on the windows. I remember pointing down to Oleksiy, saying ‘See that champagne you’ve got stored at the bottom of your bus, any chance we can get it?,We finished with our pride intact”
The Scots might not have gone far in the tournament but they really did put on a really good performance in the tournament, which inspired the next generation of footballers in Caledonia.