'Braveheart' Colin Hendry tells Scotland team 'make this our moment' ahead of Euro 2024 crunch game

Football hero Colin Hendry last night delivered a Braveheart message to the Scotland team as they bid to make history against Hungary.

The man who was a proud captain at our last overseas tournament at France in 1998 knows what it takes to play at the very top level of the game.

But Hendry – nicknamed Braveheart for his beyond the call of duty exploits on the pitch – believes our Euro 2024 squad can go a stage further than the football giants of the past whose shoulders they now stand on.

He said: “You have an opportunity to do something no other Scottish player has ever done.

“The legendary greats of the past couldn’t achieve this.

“My own Scotland team with Ally McCoist, John Collins and Gary McAllister - we couldn’t do it.

“So imagine how special it would be to have your name carved into the history of our game.

“Seize the moment. Grab this chance. Don’t let it pass you by.

“This is our time. Other nations have had their moment in the past, they’ve done it. But they’re no better than us. So go and make this our moment. Scotland’s moment.

“Nothing else matters. Just win the game and make history.

“You’re doing it for an entire nation, not just yourselves. It’s for the warriors and the soldiers of the Tartan Army in Germany.

“But also for the people watching back home, your friends and family.’’

The France 98 team, including captain Colin Hendry. -Credit:PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP via Getty Images
The France 98 team, including captain Colin Hendry. -Credit:PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP via Getty Images

Capped 51 times for the national side, Hendry saw his France 98 World Cup team managed by Craig Brown who died last June. And he believes his former boss’s words can also inspire tonight’s squad.

Hendry, 58, from Keith, who famously played for Blackburn Rovers and Rangers, said: “Don’t be second best against Hungary. Get right into them.

“Start fast and don’t take your foot off the gas. Put them on the back foot.”

“In the famous words of wee Craig Brown – God bless him – give them a couple of heavy slaps and let them know you’re there.

“And if they come at us, we better be right back at them.

“Make the fans sing their hearts out like they did against Switzerland.

“Make Flower of Scotland even louder than it was in Cologne.”

1998 World Cup Finals, St, Denis, France, 10th June, 1998, Brazil 2 v Scotland 1, Brazil's Ronaldo on the attack as Scotland's Colin Hendry (L) and John Collins look on
1998 World Cup Finals, St, Denis: Brazil 2 v Scotland 1, Brazil's Ronaldo on the attack as Scotland's Colin Hendry (L) and John Collins look on -Credit:Paul Popper/Popperfoto via Getty

Millions of Scots will be glued to the BBC for the 8pm kick-off.

A win for Scotland over Hungary would just about guarantee qualification from Group A.

That would be the first time a Scotland team at an inter-national tournament has made it out of a group and into the knock-out stages.

Scotland have so far played two games out of three – losing 5-1 to Germany in the opening game in Munich but regaining our composure with an excellent 1-1 draw against Switzerland last Wednesday.

The Germans have already qualified in top place and Switzerland, with a superior goal
difference to Scotland, will qualify with their already secured four points, even if they are beaten in their last game against Germany.

Hungary sit bottom of our group with zero points from two games.

So that leaves Scotland looking to capitalise on UEFA’s rules which allow four of the best third place finishers from the six groups to qualify for the knock-out stages. A win against Hungary tonight would give us four points in total.

That’s a number that would likely make us one of the best third place finishers, going by the positions in the rest of the groups so far and the likely final points tally.

Where it becomes more difficult for Scotland is if we only secure a draw tonight, leaving us on two points.

It just might be enough but it could mean a tortuous wait for the Tartan Army until all groups have completed on Wednesday.

If Scotland finished on two points then they would need the third placed team in at least two of the other six groups to finish on the same total or less.

Colin Hendry in action for Scotland.
Colin Hendry in action for Scotland. -Credit:Getty

And right now there is hope on that front with three chances. Undoubtedly the best chance is in Group B. Croatia and Albania currently have one point each from the draw they fought out and they face big guns Italy and Spain respectively in their final game of the section tomorrow.

Group C offers another opportunity as Serbia are bottom with just one point and face Denmark in their final game while Slovenia occupy third spot on two points and are up against England in their match on Tuesday. Yesterday, results in Group F went our way as the Czech Republic drew against Georgia, leaving them both on one point going into the final game where they face Turkey and 2016 champions Portugal respectively.

If they get into the group stages, Scotland’s likely opponents would be chosen from Spain, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey or Portugal. Steve Clarke’s side are 6-4 to reach the knockout stages of the tournament and are 13-8 to beat Hungary and earn a victory, which is likely to be enough to see them reach the next stage of the competition.

“This is arguably Scotland’s biggest game for decades and patriotic punters are confident they can pick up the win against Hungary and qualify for the last 16 of the tournament,” said bookmaker Coral’s John Hill.

Scotland goalkeeping legend Alan Rough will be watching the game from a hotel in Lossiemouth in Morayshire and will be cheering on Steve Clarke’s troops like the rest of the nation.

He is visiting the town as part of a series of personal appearances at Scotland fan’s functions during Euro 2024. Alan said: “I hope we do qualify because we have failed so many times in the past. It would be a remarkable achievement because there are some very good teams in the tournament.

“I am confident of a positive result against Hungary. I also hope the boys get enough points not to rely on goal difference.’’

The former Partick Thistle, Hibs and Celtic player, was capped 53 times for Scotland.

He played in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups and was also a member of Scotland’s 1986 World Cup Squad.

Roughie was joined by former rugby star Iwan Tukalo, who played in Scotland’s legendary 1990 grand slam winning team, in wishing the national team well.

The 37-times capped winger said: “We have given ourselves a chance of qualification and that is all we can ask for.”

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