John McGinn's Bavarian dance had Scotland fearing the worst but Euro 2024 injury gods finally have some mercy

-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

John Carver has revealed how Scotland’s injury curse has hit the camp so hard he feared star man John McGinn might rip a hamstring doing a Bavarian dance routine at Sunday’s civic reception, writes Keith Jackson in Germany.

Carver spoke on Monday after helping Steve Clarke and his players get down to business here in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the first day at their base camp for the Euros. Skipper Andy Robertson and striker Lawrence Shankland both left the training session early sparking fears that the run of wretched luck - which has already ruled out Aaron Hickey, Nathan Patterson and Lyndon Dykes - had struck again.

Both players were taken to the treatment room as a precaution and are expected to be back on the grass today as preparations gear up for Friday night’s Group A opener against Germany in Munich. But Carver admits the mounting misfortune has left the entire squad on tenterhooks to the extent that McGinn’s crowd pleasing introduction to the locals had the coaching staff fearing the worst.

The Geordie said: “It was good that he joined in with the people and the culture. I couldn’t have done that - especially when they went down to the squat! If I had done that I wouldn’t have been getting up again. I was standing behind him just in case he got injured and thinking, ‘John! No! No! No!’.

“But it was good because he embraced the whole situation. It was very important that we did that because, let’s face it, we are coming into the towns and we need for the hosts to see that we are going to appreciate everything they put on for us and do for us.”

And it was panic stations again briefly on Monday morning when first Robertson and then Shankland were added to the casualty list. A relieved Carver confirmed later that both players have already been given the all clear to rejoin the squad with Kenny McLean and Stuart Armstrong also in line to be passed fully fit for Friday night’s big one. But he admitted to fearing the worst when Robertson pulled up and limped off the training pitch.

He said: “Absolutely. I just thought, ‘Not another one!’ Because that’s what you do. Thankfully, when we finished training I had a good conversation with him and he’s fine. But you do worry. You are walking on eggshells because you don’t want anyone to miss out. We lost Kenny and Ryan Jack last time before the Euros. I am sure those guys are thinking, ‘I don’t want to miss another Euros!’ They don’t know how many more they have got left in them.”

But Carver says Clarke cannot afford to wrap his players in cotton wool with only three more sessions to go behind closed doors before the showdown with the hosts. He said: “No, because you want it to be as realistic as possible. You can’t. There are things which happen in games and you think, ‘Don’t go in for the challenge!’.

“That is my thought anyway because I am thinking about Friday. Even in training I sometimes tell them to stay out of trouble. It is sometimes difficult but the closer they get to that first game you see the players’ focus and mindset change because they know they have to be ready to go.”