Scotland have finally made it through to a major championship. It’s going to be an uphill battle, and the bookies have Scotland down as outsiders. Could a lack of goals be the significant problem at Euro 2020?
Oh, for a Kenny Dalglish, Dennis Law or Andy Gray at Euro 2020. The main problem Scotland have is their lack of a top goalscorer. Of the players likely to represent Scotland this summer, only John McGinn is in double figures for international goals with ten from 32 internationals. Half of those have come in two games against San Marino and the Faroe Islands. He’s not even a striker but a dangerous midfielder.
McGinn was Scotland’s top scorer in their Euro 2020 qualifying group with seven goals. It’s probably true that without the Aston Villa midfielder, Scotland would be at home watching the upcoming championships. No other player scored more than one goal in that qualifying group.
Scotland scored 16 goals in that Euro 2020 qualifying group. Not a bad total, but let’s break the figures down, shall we? Thirteen of those goals came in four games against Cyprus, San Marino (six scored against them in one game) and Kazakhstan (definitely not the away game). That leaves three scored in the other six games.
A glance at the betting for top goalscorer at Euro 2020 isn’t happy reading for Scottish fans. Che Adams is the highest in the market at 100/1 with Ryan Christie at 150/1 and, rather strangely, McGinn is 250/1.
If not a Scottish player, who will be the top goalscorer at Euro 2020. There are plenty of candidates, that is for sure. Harry Kane has to be on the shortlist if England can go deep in this competition. Hopefully, Scotland can keep the Tottenham (at the time of writing) striker out. Romelu Lukaku has been in top form for Inter all season and for Belgium.
Kylian Mbappe is a strong contender, though France are in the same group as Germany and Portugal. That brings us to Cristiano Ronaldo, and he always has a good chance of scoring in a talented Portuguese side. Check out all the Euros top goalscorer odds and look out for the many goalscoring markets that will be available.
It took the play-offs to see Scotland clinch their place in these finals. Two games against Israel and Serbia (both going to extra time and penalties) saw just one goal scored in four hours. A great achievement to get to the finals but not one that’s going to scare the opposition.
The bookies definitely don’t fancy Scotland to become European champions in July. Odds of 250/1 totally illustrate that fact. If Scotland did have a player who could score plenty of goals, then they could at least get out of their group. England, the Czech Republic and Croatia isn’t easy opposition at all.
Remember, though, this is not a normal European Championship. Scotland will be playing both the Czech Republic and Croatia at Hampden Park, where they last lost in 2019. Scottish fans will be quick to remind the Czechs that they lost at Hampden in the Nations League last year. There might not be a trophy lifted at Euro 2020, but it might not be an early exit either.
One problem that Scotland has at present is the lack of home-grown strikers in the Scottish Premiership. Of the top nine goalscorers at the time of writing this article, only 14 of the 107 goals scored were from Scottish players.
Rangers have had an amazingly successful season, but players from other nations scored the vast majority of the goals. Congo striker Britt Assombalonga is tipped to be heading to Ibrox, so things won’t improve there. It’s the same at Celtic, too, though they could have done with a fair few more goals to catch Rangers this season.
Scotland have done well to qualify for Euro 2020, especially after a rather unconvincing start to qualifying. John McGinn has continued his recent good form with three goals in his last three games (why is he 250/1?). Che Adams and Ryan Fraser have also been on the scoresheet recently. Of course, it only takes one goal and a clean sheet to beat England. A last-minute own goal would be enough to get Scottish fans celebrating.
This is a big step forward for Scotland, and an unbeaten start has been made to their World Cup qualifying group. How different it would be if they had a striker who opponents would truly fear. Is it too late to tempt Ally McCoist out of retirement?