Lawrence Shankland backs Scotland to shock Germany in Euro 2024 opener and explains relief over Finland goal

Hearts striker confident over Scotland’s Euros chances

Scotland arrived at their Euro 2024 base camp in Germany on Sunday firm in the belief that they can create history by reaching the knock-out phase of a major tournament for the first time.

The squad checked into Hotel Obermühle in the Bavarian resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where they will be based for the duration of their stay, ahead of facing the host nation in Friday's glamorous opening ceremony fixture at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Scotland then take on Switzerland in Cologne five days later on June 19 before completing their Group A schedule against Hungary in Stuttgart on June 23.

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Head coach Steve Clarke and his backroom team will spend the week working with the players on a plan to cause a major upset against a German side considered among the favourites to go all the way and lift the trophy on home soil. Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland is in contention to lead the line against Julian Nagelsmann's outfit after scoring his third international goal in 11 caps in the 2-2 draw with Finland at Hampden on Friday. The 28-year-old insists there will be no fear factor when Scotland take to the field at the spectacular home of Bayern Munich in front of a 75,000 capacity crowd and a watching TV audience of millions.

Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland arrives at their team hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, at the beginning of their Euro 2024 campaign.Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland arrives at their team hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, at the beginning of their Euro 2024 campaign.
Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland arrives at their team hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, at the beginning of their Euro 2024 campaign.

“Everyone always tunes into the first game, so for us to be a part of it is pretty special," Shankland said. "We’ve seen in the past upsets can happen in these games. In tournaments there are always upsets here and there.

“Germany are obviously a strong team. They are the home country, so there will be a lot of expectation on them. We’ll go into it with confidence though. We’ve had big results against the likes of Spain and other good teams.

“That’s what we are aiming to do again. There will be no inferiority complex – you have to meet the challenge. It’s been hard work to get here. But we are here on merit and we now need believe we can go and progress from the group."

Shankland was too young to remember the last time Scotland featured in the opening ceremony of a major finals when Craig's Brown side gave a good account of themselves in a 2-1 defeat to defending champions Brazil in the opening match of the 1998 World Cup in France.

Scotland's Lawrence Shankland applauds the fans after the 2-2 draw with Finland at Hampden Park on Friday.  (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)Scotland's Lawrence Shankland applauds the fans after the 2-2 draw with Finland at Hampden Park on Friday.  (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Scotland's Lawrence Shankland applauds the fans after the 2-2 draw with Finland at Hampden Park on Friday. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

“I’ve seen the Brazil game in documentaries and so on. I was only three so I can’t say I remember it vividly," he said. "But you see these tournaments all your life and you see plenty of stuff about the ones from before you came along.

“It’s just about going there and enjoying it. I think the whole process will be amazing. You just want to take it all in for a few days before you get to the game. At that stage it will be as close to business as usual as possible. Obviously the opening ceremony is a big occasion. There will be a huge song and dance around it.

“But our focus will be on the game. It’s a 90 minute game and that will be all we are thinking about. It will still be important to enjoy it as well and remember how we got here.

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“It’s the same for everyone in the changing room. Everyone has made sacrifices in the lives and these are the pinnacle moments in your career. You want to be involved in major tournaments. It will be special for everybody."

After failing to hit the net in the 2-0 win over Gibraltar last Monday, Shankland admitted he was relieved to get on the scoresheet against Finland with a well-executed backwards header from an Andy Robertson cross. The striker had been anxious to find the net again for his country before heading into tournament after a 31-goal campaign for Hearts which included lifting the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award.

“There is maybe a bit of that. It’s a special feeling when you score for Scotland – so I was itching to get it. It was about trying to be calm, trying not to snatch at things. I had one wee opportunity in the first half that I maybe snatched at. It was about trying to get into positions again. There were a few times the ball dropped and I wasn’t there. I tried to address it in the second half and thankfully Andy managed to find me.

“Goals always help confidence. But, listen, I’m coming off the back of a 30-plus goal season. That’s why I’m here. The goals haven’t been a problem for me this season so I can come here confident if a chance comes along, I can stick it away.

“I was quite pleased with the way I got on the end of the one the other night as I was quite tightly marked. Could there be more space against Germany? We’ll have to wait and see!”

Asked if Scotland can get out of their group, Shankland added: "Why not? We are going there with confidence. You need to believe. You need to have belief we can get out of the group. We are going there to properly take part. I wasn’t there last time around but the lads were disappointed how things turned out.

"The boys are looking to improve on that. It can help with some of the lads having experience of last time. I’m sure the ones where were there will have taken something from it. But everyone is in the same boat here.

“It won’t be easy. These teams are at a major tournament for a reason. But we are going there to be in the mix.”