Steve Clarke plotting Scotland Euro 2024 stay beyond group stage as boys in dark blue go down a storm in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Scotland's grand arrival at the Euros almost turned into a spectacular wash-out after a ferocious thunder and lightning storm ripped through the Bavarian Alps., writes Keith Jackson in Germany.

Local authorities here in Garmisch-Partenkirchen had planned a lavish public reception to welcome Steve Clarke and his players to their five star base camp in the picturesque ski-ing resort. Clarke and skipper Andy Robertson were scheduled to be presented to the town’s mayor in the middle of a public park after being greeted by local brass bands and dancers in traditional lederhosen.

But, around an hour before the party was scheduled to kick-off, the heavens opened as a massive electrical storm came clattering in off mount Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany. And officials quickly U-turned on their preparations to switch the reception indoors to a town hall, ten minutes away, on the other side of the Partnach river. But the locals were thrilled when funnyman John McGinn entered the spirit of the occasion by joining in a local Bavarian dance routine on stage in front of his team mates.

The region has been battered by a succession of storms over recent weeks with some areas recently declaring a state of emergency because of severe flooding. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is particularly prone to the elements but mayor Elisabeth Koch was quick to calm fears that Scotland’s training schedule may fall victim to the weather.

Speaking moments before the team bus pulled up outside the hastily arranged BayernHalle welcome bash she said: “The training pitch is only 400 metres from here. It is new and the drainage is fantastic, so we have no worries with the weather.”

After being cheered onto the stage Scotland boss Clarke said: “When I came here in January I thought it would be a special place to have our base camp and now to see this welcome is amazing. You’ll be fabulous hosts and I hope we’ll be a fabulous football team.”

And skipper Andy Robertson added: “Thank you for the warm welcome. It’s been a long day of travelling and we’re all ready for bed, but it’s been wonderful to see the local people. The fans will drink a lot of beer. They’ll be here in numbers and will enjoy themselves, but Scottish people try to be respectful and will behave themselves.

“Hopefully they can be celebrating us winning some football matches. Everything we’ve done has been building up towards this.”

Mayor Koch then revealed that Clarke is already planning on extending Scotland’s stay in the town beyond the group stages. Clarke’s men open up their Group A campaign on Friday night 90 kilometres away in Munich against Germany before facing Switzerland and Hungary as they attempt to become the first Scotland side in history to make the knock-out stages of a major finals.

And Koch said: “I think they will survive the first group and make it to the last round - Steve Clarke told me that and I believe him!

“I am an Alpine ski-er, so I have no idea about football. But I know the Scotland team has an award as the fairest in the tournament, so that is great. Let’s wait and see what the result is next Friday.”