DEREK Adams admits he will be surprised if Scotland can get through the group stage in their first appearance in the finals of a major international tournament for 23 years.

The Scots kick off their Euro 2020 campaign this afternoon against Czech Republic at Hampden Park.

The City boss is thrilled to see his country back at the business end for the first time this century – but cannot see them breaking new ground by reaching the knock-out stages.

“I think they will find it very difficult,” said Adams. “There are good teams in the section and it would be a surprise for Scotland to get out.

“But it’s great we’ve got so many home nations in the competition and Scotland have joined that. It’s a fabulous opportunity after so many years out.

“It does add an extra bit of spice being in the same group as England. That’s going to be a fabulous occasion but unfortunately there’s not going to be the supporters there that everybody wants.”

Scotland have not qualified for any finals since the 1998 World Cup in France – where they were beaten by Brazil and Morocco and drew with Norway.

Adams added: “I think international and European football has become a lot stronger in that time and in Scotland, unfortunately, we’ve missed out on players who have maybe retired from the international scene too early and concentrated on their teams in the Championship or Premier League in England.

“That set us back a bit but I think we’ve got a very good group of players in terms of team spirit.

“We probably lack top stars but we have got players playing at very good clubs in England who can help us.

“We’re set up to play on the counter-attack. We’re set up not to dominate possession but to defend and try and get a goal when it comes along.

“That, unfortunately, is how the squad is as a unit because we don’t have the outstanding ability of, say, England.”