Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn: We have two games to keep Euros hopes alive

John McGinn admits Scotland will have to do it the hard way if they are to reach the Euro 2020 knockout stage.

Czech Republic's Tomas Soucek (left) and Scotland's John McGinn
Czech Republic's Tomas Soucek (left) and Scotland's John McGinn

No Scotland team has escaped a group at a major tournament – and the odds on Steve Clarke’s side ending that long trend of early exits look remote after a 2-0 defeat in their Group D opener.

Patrik Schick’s expert brace for the Czech Republic has left Scotland’s qualification hopes hanging by a thread.

And McGinn knows the result means Scotland now have no room for error in their final two games against England and Croatia.

The Villa midfielder said: “I don’t think it’s a reality check. Overall we played pretty well, there are things we can improve on, but it’s the first game of the tournament.

“We’ve got two games to fix what we need to fix and it’s important we don’t sulk too much. We need to do it the hard way now.

“To give ourselves a chance to get out of this group, we know we need to get at least a point on Friday.

“We know what we need to do, we need to get something at Wembley, it is our own fault as we had an opportunity to get a good result today.

“But we can either sulk about it or we can roll our sleeves up and go and put on a performance and get a result that we are capable of.

“I think there was enough in the game for us to be positive about, we created those chances, so it’s just about taking them and hopefully they will go in on Friday.”

There was a buzz of anticipation around Hampden before kick-off as Scotland emerged from 23 years in the international wilderness. But the 10,000 fans allowed inside the stadium to see the team were hushed into silence by Schick’s double.

McGinn added: “It is extremely disappointing, the whole occasion was set up for us to get the three points.

“Czech Republic scored at important points in the game and they were more clinical than we were, so ultimately we were punished for not taking our chances.

“I felt in the first half we struggled to get myself and Stuart Armstrong on the ball, we certainly did that in the second half a wee bit more, but Schick came up with an excellent finish.

“So that was a bit of a hammer blow and you need to try and come back, you have a mountain to climb and need to score two goals.

“We gave it our all and certainly had chances to do that, but unfortunately it didn’t go our way.

“We did play all right, 2-0 flattered them a wee bit, but they found quality at the right moments. We need to find it on Friday.”

Skipper Andy Robertson was shocked by his side’s sloppy start.

He said: “It’s hard to put your finger on it just now, everyone in the country wanted to get off to a good start. We were confident, excited, and it comes down to not taking our chances.

“You can’t say we’ve not created, we’ve had some really, really good chances that we should have done better with.

“If you do better on that, then it’s a different game. It’s a tough lesson for us that at the highest level, at the best tournaments, you have to take your chances. Czech Republic did that, we didn’t.”

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