Scott McTominay started the 2022-23 season in Erik ten Hag’s good books, with his impressive form even managing to keep Casemiro out of the team after he signed from Real Madrid.
In his recent months his appearances for Manchester United have been fleeting and his form hasn’t been great. Even with the injuries to midfielders Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek, he’s struggled to get playing time in the league.
However, with Casemiro facing a four match ban, McTominay couldn’t have hoped for a better international break than the one he’s just enjoyed, with the hope of getting himself back in to Ten Hag’s plans.
In Scotland’s first Euro qualifier, after coming off the bench with 20 minutes to play, McTominay doubled Scotland’s lead in the 87th minute to secure the win. He controlled the ball with his right thigh before firing the ball in to the roof of the net with his left boot. Five minutes late, he found the back of the net, with a calm finish from inside the area.
Three days later Scotland faced Spain and clocked up another victory to go top of the group, this time by a 2-0 margin, with McTominay grabbing both the goals.
McTominay spoke to the national team’s media after the game and spoke about how much it meant to him to see his family celebrating after his two goal heroics.
It was a really tough game. We know Spain are a top, top side with quality players all over the pitch. We weren’t naive to that going in to the game. The manager said we will have to suffer without the ball and that’s a given when playing against a top team like Spain. They’re going to have a lot of the ball, they control it really well, but I felt like we controlled the game even without the ball at times.
You have to set high expectations for yourself and in football you can’t go in to games thinking ‘I hope I do well’, you have to go in there believing and manifest it. I spoke to the manager before the camp and, it’s a funny one, he said ‘I think you’re not playing with a smile on your face, I want to see the smile come back out’, and that was the first day I arrived. I was like ‘you know what, he’s right, the smile does need to come back on my face, I need to enjoy football and play like I love it’. It’s hard when there’s a lot going on in your life. But I’ve concentrated, got my head down and focussed back on football, and that’s all I need to do.
I had goosebumps the entire way around when we were clapping. All the fans are singing and going wild jumping up and down, and seeing my mum and dad up there with other family members, my aunties and my cousins, it’s special and something you’ll never forget in your life. Seeing them seeing that tonight was everything I could wish for.