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John McGinn aware of size of Scotland's task at Euro 2020

John McGinn aware of size of Scotland's task at Euro 2020
© Reuters
The Scots were beaten by Czech Republic in their group opener.

Scotland took the long road to reach Euro 2020 and John McGinn insists Steve Clarke's men can go the distance again to qualify for the knockout stages.

Monday's 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic was a deflating display that let the air out of the mood of excitement that had built up in the approach to the nation's first major tournament since 1998.

They now need at least a point when they travel to face England at Wembley on Friday if they are to have any realistic chance of escaping Group D.

But having put the Tartan Army through the mire with their battling win on penalties over Serbia in the play-offs to book their place at the tournament, McGinn reckons the supporters should be strapping themselves in again for another nail-biting thrill ride as he backed his side to march on.

"Monday was a false start in terms of the result," said the Aston Villa midfielder. "The important thing was to try to get at least a point and set us off in the group.

England v Scotland graphic
(PA Graphics)

"That would have been the easy way but it never seems to happen with Scotland.

"If we had done it the easy way in Serbia it would have been a 1-0 victory and everyone would have been in their beds before midnight.

"But we decided to let Serbia get a goal and do it the tricky way. Hopefully we can follow the same path and do it the Scottish way – or the hard way if you like.

"The manager made it clear before the group that if the first result doesn't go our way we just focus on the next one.

"Obviously the format gives you an opportunity for all three games but we can't affect other scorelines or results.

"We know what's needed at Wembley – we'll go there for the three points and take it from there.

"Is Wembley the perfect game to bounce back with? You could say that. We're extremely disappointed. The whole occasion on Monday is what we've dreamed about since we were young.

"But there was a wee feeling we've let the nation down because we wanted a positive result.

"But the breaks didn't go for us. Having analysed it, it definitely could have gone our way, so the confidence is still there. I can only speak for myself but I wish the game was tomorrow."

Patrik Schick's incredible double inspired the Czechs to victory at Hampden.

Goalkeeper David Marshall has since found himself in the firing line after being caught out hopelessly up field as he allowed the Bayer Leverkusen forward to fire home his second from 50 yards.

But McGinn cannot believe there are critics out there pointing the finger at the Derby player when it was Marshall's spot-kick save from Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic that ensured the team could re-emerge from their two-decade stint out in the cold.

Asked if Clarke's squad had rallied round the 36-year-old, McGinn hit back: "There was no need. This was a goal that will be talked about for years to come.

"I was right behind it. It still gives me nightmares watching it swing round. It was an absolute wondergoal.

"If you're asking me how he is he must be getting some criticism for it which I don't quite believe.

John McGinn (left) feels he let the Tartan Army down with Monday's defeat
John McGinn, left, feels he let the Tartan Army down with Monday's defeat (Andrew Milligan/PA)

"We wouldn't be holding this press conference if it wasn't for Marsh – his penalty heroics got us here and overall in the game Marsh was excellent.

"He's a top goalkeeper and that opinion won't change from us players. I'm sure he'll put in a good performance on Friday night."

Few outside of Scotland will be giving Clarke's team a chance in London – and those numbers will shrink again if Kieran Tierney fails to shake off the niggle which kept him out against the Czechs.

But McGinn warned his side should not be underestimated.

"I think we'd always be underdogs no matter if we won on Monday or not," he said. "They've got a population of 55million – we've got a population of five million.

"They've got world-wide superstars all through their squad, so we'll always be underdogs. But hopefully that will suit us.

"We've got a few wee superstars ourselves so hopefully we can play well and cause them problems.

"Kieran is one of the best full-backs/left centre-backs in the world at the moment for me. We'll see how he is towards Friday and hopefully he can help us on the night."

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United StatesUnited States24282173
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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