Scotland Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis, Pick

Scotland Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis, Pick article feature image

BJ Cunningham, Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network. Pictured: Scott McTominay.

Scotland will be looking to make it to the knockout stage at the Euros for the first time in their country's history, but it's going to take an upset to get out of Group A.

Steve Clarke has been at the helm for Scotland since 2019 and he did a masterful job during qualifying, finishing second in a group with both Spain and Norway. Scotland have a really solid and experienced midfield all playing at the Premier League level, along with outstanding wingbacks. However, the rest of the team leaves a lot to be desired, especially in attack.

Tactical Analysis

In both meetings against Spain, Scotland mainly opted for a 3-1-6 with Callum McGregor as the midfielder dropping deep in build up with the goal of sending a lot of long balls up to the last line and being able to win second balls.

The other goal was to get the ball into wide areas where they would often have 2 v 1 or 2 v 2 situations, which is how they scored both of their goals via crosses in the first match against Spain.

Against Georgia, they opted for a 2-3-5 with McTominay dropping into the right half space to aid in build up with Billy Gilmour as key in the middle of build up. The goal for Scotland against the teams they face in their group is wide overload and creating chances via crosses.

When they played against Spain, Scotland sat in a 5-3-2 mid to low defensive block and did not press out of that unless it was completely necessary. In their 2-0 win over Spain they sat incredibly deep, did not allow Spain to play through the middle of the pitch and forced them to send in a bunch of crosses, which they did a good job of defending.

In the second match against Spain, it was 0-0 until the 73rd minute and Scotland kept the exactly same defensive plan and shape. However, once they fell behind, they started to press in a man to man fashion out of the 5-3-2 shape. They didn’t press much through throughout Euro qualifying, ranking 22nd in the Euro field in PPDA and 20th in high recoveries.

Against Georgia, Scotland tried to force the issue and pressed high from dead ball situations going man to man across the pitch, with the fullbacks and center backs coming up to aid in the press early on and then as the match progressed they tended to use pressing triggers and sat off a little more.


data via WyScout


Scotland's prospects for making to the knockout stage do not look good, but I will say that they should not be the favorites to finish at the bottom of this group over Hungary.

I don't have a futures bet on Scotland at the team level, but I do think there is value on someone to lead them in goals, Scott McTominay.

McTominay not only led Scotland in qualifying with seven goals, but he also led the team averaging 2.7 shots per 90. The reason for that is Scotland are a cross-heavy team that mainly relies on transition breaks with a lot of cutbacks into the box, which is where McTominay thrives as a box crashing midfielder.

In addition to that, Scotland are pretty reliant on set pieces and McTominay is a massive threat on them because he has a 58% aerial dual win rate over his career with Manchester United and they get to play the worst set piece defense in this tournament in their final match against Hungary.

Lyndon Dykes, their main striker, got ruled out for the tournament, so it’ll be Che Adams up top, who has historically not played well in Scotland’s transition based system. So, there’s a lot of value on McTominay at +600.

Pick: Scott McTominay to be Scotland's Leading Goalscorer (+600 via FanDuel)

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