What must Scotland do to qualify for Euro 2020?

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Scotland lost out on a World Cup play-off place, failing to beat Slovakia in heartbreaking fashion.

Having gone 1-0 up, the Scots folded, going behind 2-1, before pulling a goal back in a dramatic last few minutes. It wasn’t enough.

The World Cup dream was dead. And it’s now time to move on to Euro 2020 preparation.

Gordon Strachan resigned with Malky Mackay coming in on an interim basis.

How does the former Watford and Cardiff City manager get them to their first major championships since 1998? The Ladbrokes News Team takes a look.

Build system around full-backs

The two best players Scotland have are arguably Celtic’s Kieran Tierney and Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson.

The flying full-backs are still just 20-years-old, and 23-years-old, respectively.

The best way to get the best of their talents would be to utilise the fashionable 3-4-3/3-5-2 formation seen at Tottenham Hotspur.

Mackay doesn’t have an abundance of talent at centre-half. So pick the most solid trio and let Tierney and Robertson rove forward on the outside.

Incorporate best young talent now

At 32-years-old and 33-years-old, Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher won’t go on forever. They certainly will be long past the prime of their careers when Euro 2020 rolls around.

Mackay must develop the younger talent as quickly as possible. That means the likes of Hibernian’s John McGinn and Rangers’ Ryan Jack must be given plenty of game-time.

Even ex-Dundee United wonder kid Ryan Gauld must be looked at. The Sporting CP ace – currently on-loan at C.D Aves – has been doing well in the Primera Liga this season.

Celtic’s Callum McGregor and West Bromwich Albion’s Oliver Burke must also get more minutes.

Take a leaf out of Wales’ book

From August 2013 to now, Wales have played just eight friendly internationals. By taking advantage of how FIFA’s ranking systems worked, the team jumped massively in the rankings.

In that same time period, Scotland played a huge 13 friendlies. They hit a ranking low of 67 in 2016, only to jump back up to 29 this year after a superb run of results.

Now might be the time to take a leaf out of Wales’ book and streamline the number of non-competitive games they play.

By playing the percentages game, the Tartan Army could advance their ranking and their possible seedings.

It may not have much of an impact on their actual qualification chances for Euro 2020. However, confidence within the camp could soar knowing the team is on an upward curve.

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All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publication

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.