Scots will qualify for Euro 2016 - mathematicians

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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SCOTLAND’S qualification for the 2016 European Championships is a mathematical certainty, according to a model devised by Scottish researchers.

Strathclyde University scientists have built a mathematical model that has predicted Scotland’s progress to their first major finals in 16 years, analysing 368 international matches - with a special focus on Scotland’s Group D opponents - and a host of other variables.

In one of four models used to predict the outcome of Group D, Gordon Strachan’s side emerges second to world champions Germany, progressing to Paris in the process.

The research. published by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute Economic Commentary, proposes a score equation based on 13 variables, including quality of player to population, and the results will give Gordon Strachan’s men a boost ahead of the campaign that gets underway against group favourites Germany this Sunday.

The report’s author, Dr Nicolas Scelles, who is based at the School of Sport at the University of Stirling - Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, believes Scotland is heading for a return to international football’s top table.

He said: “The paper estimates the potential outcomes for Scotland in the 2016 Euro Qualifiers based on a model of the outcomes of previous European men’s football matches and Scottish football fans should be optimistic based on our findings.

“We have used four models based on a number of variables and our best predictor suggests that Scotland will at worst make the play offs while our fourth and final approach would see Scotland beating Poland and Ireland to second place in Group D.

“Assuming a continuing improvement in Scotland’s performance, which includes a six match unbeaten run, the Scottish fans should have every reason to be optimistic about their chances of a summer holiday in France in two years’ time.”

Darryl Broadfoot, Scottish Football Association Head of Communications, said: “I am sure the fine research undertaken by Dr Nicolas Scelles will not only be well-received by the whole country but ensure he will have a supporters club named in his honour should we qualify for the UEFA Euro 2016 finals in France.”

Stuart MacDougall, a senior manager in PwC’s sports unit team which for 25 years produced financial analysis on the Scottish Premier League, commented on the impact a Scotland win, as predicted by the academics, could have on the wider Scottish game.

“Success for Scotland on an international stage could be the catalyst for returning some much needed feel good factor to the game, and could even give Scottish football a welcomed financial boost following the recent European disappointments. This is particularly important given the success of the Commonwealth Games, with the stock of other sports never being higher in the minds of the general public and sponsors.”