‘Vitally important’ Scotland reach Euro 2020, says SFA chief executive

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Scotland ‘have a good fighting chance’ of Euro qualification – McLeish

It will be “desperately disappointing” if Scotland are not involved in Euro 2020 while hosting four games, says the Scottish FA’s chief executive.

The Scots have two chances to qualify for their first major tournament since 1998 – via the Nations League play-offs and the traditional qualifiers.

They were drawn with Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino.

“It’s vitally important that we’re part of the competition, particularly the games at Hampden,” Ian Maxwell said.

Hampden will host three group matches and a last 16 fixture as Uefa take the tournament across Europe to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first European Championship.

Maxwell, like Scotland manager Alex McLeish, is determined to qualify automatically by finishing in the top two of Group I, rather than rely on the Nations League.

Trips to Russia, Kazakhstan and Cyprus will have to yield something if the Scots are to qualify and after criticism of their travel schedule for Israel and Albania in Nations League C Group 1, Maxwell stresses nothing will be left to chance during the qualifiers.

“We’ll consider anything,” he added. “Ultimately we want the players to take the field in the best possible physical and mental condition.

And Maxwell said of the trip to Kazakhstan: “Alex will consult the performance staff and I imagine we’ll speak to some of the players as well because they’ll have done it at club level.

“It’ll be interesting to learn from the experiences they had to make sure everybody’s as prepared as they possibly can be. We’re quite happy to look at whatever opportunities we can to make sure the players are as well equipped as they can be.”

‘Scotland have belief’

Scotland assistant coach James McFadden on BBC Sportsound

It’s a tough group but it’s one that we’re confident we can get out of. We go into the games, not expecting to win, but believing we can win them.

Belgium are the number one ranked side in world football. We know what we’re in for against Belgium.

Do we believe that we can beat one of the bigger nations on our day? Absolutely, absolutely. Belgium are favourites to win the group. They are probably going to win the group.

We’re going into a group feeling positive with belief that we can beat anybody on our day. The belief comes from what I’ve seen up close – the players in training, the last two games especially beating Albania and Israel.

Scotland Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures
Scotland begin and end their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Kazakhstan

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