Stuart Armstrong backing 'best Scotland squad I have seen' to prove their worth by reaching Euro 2024 finals
Stuart Armstrong believes the current Scotland squad is the strongest he has been part of and says they are fuelled by a collective faith in their ability to reach another major tournament finals.
Southampton midfielder Armstrong, who made his senior Scotland debut in 2017, helped Steve Clarke’s team bounce back from their 2022 World Cup play-off failure by beating Armenia 2-0 at Hampden in their opening UEFA Nations League fixture on Wednesday night.
The victory gave Scotland the early advantage at the top of Group B1 which also includes Ukraine and Republic of Ireland. Clarke’s squad will complete this international window with two away matches against the Irish in Dublin on Saturday and Armenia in Yerevan next Tuesday.
Winning the Nations League group offers a double incentive of second-seed status in the qualifying group stage draw for the Euro 2024 finals, which takes place in Frankfurt on October 9, and guaranteed inclusion in the play-offs for the tournament in Germany in the event Scotland do not qualify directly.
Having put the disappointment of last week’s World Cup play-off semi-final defeat at home to Ukraine behind them, Armstrong is convinced Scotland are ready to build on the win over Armenia and embark on another positive sequence of results which can see them emulate the run which took them to last summer’s Euro 2020 finals.
“In the past we have shown what a good squad we can be,” said the former Celtic player. “We have shown that we can grind out performances, grind out wins, when we have had to. It can’t be perfect all the time, which of course was the case last week in the World Cup play-off.
"But I think there is a big belief in the squad, there is a lot of togetherness, the group is excellent, everyone believes in ourselves and what we can achieve, hopefully reaching another major tournament.
“The squad depth is great, probably the best I have ever seen. A lot of individuals are now excelling at their own clubs. That is only all the more better for the country.
“Every fixture that we go into, we want to maximise what we can out of it and show that we can reach major tournaments. It’s obviously the ultimate ambition and the Nations League is a pathway to that."
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