Respect everyone and fear no one – Steve Clarke ready for Germany challenge

The Scotland boss was speaking to a packed media conference at the Munich Arena.

Ronnie Esplin
Thursday 13 June 2024 19:57 BST
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Scotland manager Steve Clarke is ready for Friday’s Germany opener (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Scotland manager Steve Clarke is ready for Friday’s Germany opener (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)

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Steve Clarke revealed his “respect everyone and fear no one” attitude ahead of Scotland’s European Championship opener against Germany.

The boss was speaking to a packed media conference at the Munich Arena ahead of the Group A game against the host country on Friday night.

The Tartan Army continue to flood into the country in their tens of thousands for the first major finals abroad since the 1998 World Cup finals in France, with Scotland looking to qualify for the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time.

Clarke is focused solely on getting his side prepared for the task of taking on a European superpower with games against Switzerland and Hungary to follow.

“It’s the opening game of a four-team section, three matches, we know what we have to do to qualify and that’s all we focus on,” said Clarke. “Everyone is fully fit, flying, desperate to be selected and ready to go.

“The enormity of the opener, however, is a bit of a sideshow and hopefully we don’t get too involved in that.

“It’s a difficult game. One of the mantras I’ve always had is respect everyone and fear no one.

“We have respect for the host nation, we know they’re a good team but hopefully we can show everyone we’re a good team as well.

“I can enjoy it. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in big matches, the Champions League final for example, it was nice to be involved in the last Euros.

“I can enjoy it, but I’ll enjoy it even more once we’ve got four points on the board.”

It is the second successive Euros for the Scots under Clarke and he said: “I think we should all be proud that we’re here.

“It’s been a long time since 1998 when we actually travelled abroad to appear in a tournament like this.

“That’s why everyone is so excited. We’re proud we’ve been able to do back-to-back European Championships and hopefully by the end of this we’ll be even more proud at having done something a little bit more special in regards to Scottish football.”

Asked about Germany, who are unbeaten in four games this year after an unconvincing 2023, Clarke said: “They’re a good team, I think people were trying to talk them down a little bit.

“I think Julian Nagelsmann found, like I did, it takes a while to find your best squad and team formation.

“When the draw was made I expected it to be a tough game and nothing has changed my mind.”

Clarke admits the invasion of the Tartan Army will “give us a big boost”.

The former Kilmarnock and West Brom boss added: “They’re going to be behind us in every minute of every game and that’s really important for us.

“We’ve had a little taste of it already at our base in. I’m sure there will be a few around in Munich tonight that we won’t see. We hope they will enjoy themselves and behave themselves.”

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