It would be a bit of an understatement to suggest some very strange things have happened in the world over the last few years, yet Scotland appearing at a major international tournament may just top the lot.
David Marshall’s penalty save against Serbia to book his side’s place at Euro 2020 was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the qualifying campaign, and their first game of the competition sees them face the Czech Republic.
Jaroslav Silhavy’s squad contains a number of players currently plying their trade in England and they’ll provide stiff opposition as Scotland go in search of a dream start to this summer’s tournament.
Here’s everything you need to know about the eagerly awaited clash…
When is kick-off? Monday 14 June, 14:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Hampden Park, Glasgow
What TV channel is it on? BBC One
Who is the referee? Daniel Siebert
While Steve Clarke is expected to go with a wing-back formation, it remains to be seen whether he’ll start with two strikers or just one. With games against Croatia and England to come, you feel Scotland need a win against the Czech Republic and so he could opt to start both Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams.
Aside from that, the Scotland team pretty much picks itself, with no fitness concerns to worry Clarke ahead of his side’s opener.
Premier League duo John McGinn and Scott McTominay will start in midfield, though we could see youngster Billy Gilmour at some point later in the game.
Silhavy will have to make do without Lukas Provod after he withdrew from the squad with a knee injury, meaning there’s likely to be a slight reshuffle in midfield.
Youngster Alex Kral could be the man to take his place in the starting XI, with West Ham’s Tomas Soucek one of the first names on the team sheet.
Burnley forward Matej Vydra is likely to be forced to settle for a place on the bench with Bayer Leverkusen frontman Patrik Schick playing as a lone frontman.
Gilmour may not get a start in Scotland’s opener but we’ll certainly see something of him at Euro 2020. The Chelsea midfielder has the ability to disrupt play and can also break through the lines with progressive passing, so he could be key to his side’s chances of picking up points whether they’re trailing or looking to hang on to a lead.
Scotland: Marshall; Hendry, Hanley, Tierney; O’Donnell, McTominay, McGregor, McGinn, Robertson; Dykes, Adams
Czech Republic: Vaclik; Coufal, Celustka, Kalas, Boril; Soucek, Kral; Masopust, Darida, Jankto; Schick
Both of these sides will probably have been relatively pleased with the draw handed to them at Euro 2020, though they’ll know they’re still up against it as they try to reach the knockout rounds.
While a good start is imperative, not getting beat will be their main objective with third place possibly enough to see them qualify for the last 16.
Therefore, we’re likely to see a cagy affair with both sides aiming to keep it tight and they may end up cancelling each other out over the course of 90 minutes.
Prediction: Scotland 1-1 Czech Republic