Scotland assistant manager Steven Reid has urged the national team to make history at the European Championships as they ramp up their pre-tournament preparations.
The Scots are in Alicante for a training camp ahead of friendlies against the Netherlands on Wednesday and Luxembourg a week tomorrow.
After that all the focus for the Dark Blues will be on their Group D fixtures in the Euros next month against the Czech Republic, England and Croatia.
At the tournament Steve Clarke’s side will aim to make it past the group stage at a major finals for the first time in Scotland’s history.
Reid said: “The key thing is not just turning up, happy to make the tournament, now it’s about progressing out of the group and making a bit of history and you just never know.
“You’ve seen in a lot of the European Championships the underdogs going all the way and getting into the latter stages of the competition.
“With the ability we’ve got and the quality we’ve got in the group, with the feeling of the group that’s developed over the last couple of years and bringing in a bit more of a club feel to the international stage there’s no reason why we can’t go and make a little bit of history.
“That’s the message that has been driven in, certainly this morning (Friday) from the gaffer.”
Scotland don’t want to be making up the numbers
This is the first tournament Scotland have reached since the 1998 World Cup in France.
When the national side qualified with a penalty shoot-out win over Serbia last November there was an outpouring of relief and excitement at returning to a major finals.
However, Reid says that has now subsided and the Scots don’t just want to be making up the numbers – they want to progress in the tournament.
The 40-year-old added: “From me personally and I know for the group now, that has gone.
“We almost parked it a long time ago because we were focused on the World Cup qualifiers and getting that off and running.
“It’s about not just being happy to be here and be a bit-part in this competition and we’ve made history by getting to the tournament, now it has to be about getting out of the group.
“We are in a group that’s going to be tough but I think now, with how things have developed and grown over the last couple of years with a lot of our players performing at the very highest level, I think that gives us massive confidence going into this tournament.”
Tapping in to Reid’s World Cup experience
Reid is the only member of Scotland’s playing or coaching staff with previous tournament experience.
The former Blackburn and West Brom midfielder, who is now also a coach with Nottingham Forest, played for the Republic of Ireland at the 2002 World Cup.
He hopes that experience in Japan and South Korea may prove beneficial this summer.
Reid said: “I think it was the pinnacle of my career. It’s about managing time well.
“There is a lot of down time, a lot of time together over an extended period of time and not everyone’s going to play the amount of minutes they would like.
“It’s about team harmony because for some it can be difficult if they are not getting minutes on the pitch. It’s a long time away from home.
“It’s fantastic to be here but it can be a long trip so it’s important that we think of different ways to keep the boys occupied, whether it be little quizzes, or little bits and pieces that we can think of to keep them occupied and keep them enjoying it.
“There are little bits I can offer the gaffer hopefully having been in that tournament with the Republic, ideas I can bring in to help the lads as well along the way.
“I was the youngest in that squad when I went with the Republic so hopefully those experiences can help along the way.”
Gilmour has forced his way into contention
Reid was a late call-up for the Republic of Ireland 19 years ago after captain Roy Keane had been sent home following a dispute with manager Mick McCarthy.
Although there’s been nothing of that nature in the Scotland set-up, one player like Reid who has seen an opportunity open for him is Billy Gilmour.
The Chelsea midfielder will link up with the squad following the Champions League final having never been capped previously.
But Reid sees no reason why the 19-year-old couldn’t end up featuring at the Euros, with injuries to former Dons Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean helping his cause.
He said: “There’s no reason why not. Obviously he is here on merit.
“I go back to when I went to the World Cup in 2002. I was on the stand-by list for the Republic, originally.
“So I was a late entry to the group. But I was the first sub to come off the bench in the very first game against Cameroon.
“So you never know. We’ve obviously had a couple of injuries in that position, as well, with Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean.
“It’s disappointing for them but sometimes these things happen, an opportunity opens up for someone else.
“We’ll see how the camp goes, see how the friendly games go, and who knows?
“He’s there on merit and everyone has a chance of being involved.”