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Euro 2024: Scotland's McLean vows to secure berth in last 16 for injury-hit Kieran Tierney; fans remain gutted

Scottish midfielder Kenny McLean has pledged that Scotland will aim to secure a spot in the last 16 of Euro 2024 for their injured teammate, Kieran Tierney.

football Euro 2024: Scotland's McLean vows to secure berth in last 16 for injury-hit Kieran Tierney; fans remain gutted snt
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First Published Jun 20, 2024, 11:01 AM IST

Scottish midfielder Kenny McLean has pledged that Scotland will aim to secure a spot in the last 16 of Euro 2024 for their injured teammate, Kieran Tierney. The Arsenal defender joined Steve Clarke’s growing list of injured players after being stretchered off with a suspected severe hamstring injury during the 1-1 draw with Switzerland last night.

Prior to the team's departure to Germany, Scotland had already lost Lewis Ferguson, Aaron Hickey, Nathan Patterson, Lyndon Dykes, Ben Doak, and Jacob Brown from their squad.

The loss of key player Kieran Tierney was the only significant downside on a night when the Scots showcased all the tenacious qualities that were absent in their woeful 5-1 defeat to Germany in the tournament's opening game.

"It’s devastating for KT," said Norwich midfielder McLean. "We know how big a player for us and on a night like Sunday, when hopefully we’ll be a lot more front foot, that’s when he’d have come alive."

"I thought he was outstanding defensively before he got the injury. Hopefully it’s not too bad for him, but if it rules him out we’ve got the likes of Scott McKenna and Liam Cooper to come in," he added.

"This gives us even more of a cause to do it on Sunday. Obviously, Dyksey has been in camp with us as well. They are people who have played a massive part in getting us here so they’re going to be supporting the lads," McLean further stated.

"Hopefully KT’s injury isn’t that bad but it’s not ideal with him coming off. He’s a big player for us and fingers crossed he’ll be OK. The luck we’ve had with injuries has been ridiculous. It’s freakish, to be honest. Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson are another two. It’s so unforgiving," the midfielder added.

He further said, "There’s nothing we can do except come together and do as much as we can for the lads that are missing out. KT was on gas and air in the dressing-room so it wasn’t easy to talk to him. Listen, we hope he’s OK because he’s been a massive player for Scotland. If it’s the end of his tournament, it would be great to get through for him."

"He’ll be desperate for the lads to go out there and do it. We’re a proper, tight-knit squad. Being away with the lads has been incredible and KT is a huge character on and off the pitch. I’m sure he’ll still be there for us if he doesn’t make it," McLean stated.

Playing with fear in Munich, Scotland's approach was markedly different from the start of their draw, setting the stage for a crucial match against Hungary in Stuttgart on Sunday.

Marco Rossi’s team, having lost to Germany and Switzerland, can still secure one of the best third-place qualifier spots by defeating the Scots. On the other hand, a victory for Clarke’s team would make history by securing a place in the last 16 of a major tournament for the first time ever.

"It was a lot better, but we can get a lot better and we WILL get better on Sunday," McLean said claiming the best is yet to come.

"On Friday, we gave Germany too much space, too much respect and we let their best players run the game. So we’ve worked hard on the training pitch on shape and on tactics and we brought a lot of that into this game. We’ll go back and work even harder and bring some more to Stuttgart on Sunday," the Scottish midfielder added.

"Sunday’s even bigger than this was, because we need the three points. We have to win. If there’s a hard way to do it, we’ll do it, we’re Scotland. But we’ll do it — that’s the main thing. The deflation the other night was unreal. There was so much build up and expectations were high. Even though it was against Germany, we expected a lot from ourselves and so did everyone else because of what we’ve done previously. We let a lot of people down, but we took that on the chin and came out tonight fighting and firing. And that at least gives us an opportunity on Sunday," he concluded.

The difference in attitude and approach was evident early on with Scott McTominay's goal, which shocked the favored Swiss team. It was the kind of strike the Manchester United player routinely scored during qualifying.

Xherdan Shaqiri capitalized on an Anthony Ralston error to secure Switzerland’s sixth consecutive qualification for the knockout stages of a major tournament in style.

Relieved to see the deflection that kept Scotland alive, McLean said, "The goal we created showed intensity and real belief as the lads were running forward. I could see it from the bench; I was out of my seat."

"We got a bit fortunate with the finish, but the great thing was that we committed bodies forward, and big Scotty got on the end of it just like he did throughout the qualifying campaign."

Meanwhile, devastated fans took to X, formerly Twitter, to wish Tierney a speedy recovery. Here's a look at some of the reactions:

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