Steve Clarke led his players back into Glasgow on Sunday for a date with destiny 23 years in the making - and warned them not to lose focus amid the hysteria at Hampden.

Clarke and his players jetted back from their tournament training base near Darlington and the sight of the team bus heading along the M8 sparked chaotic scenes on the motorway as fans welcomed them home ahead of today’s big kick-off against the Czechs.

And while the manager can feel the levels of excitement building to fever pitch ahead of a first major finals in 23 years, he has urged his squad not be overwhelmed by the passion of the Tartan Army.

He said: “Yes, the players are excited but we have a lot of experienced guys in the squad, remember.

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“We have got boys who have played in European finals, two quite recently. Andy Robertson is a European Cup winner and World Club champion so we have players who know what it’s like to be involved in big games like this. So their job will be to keep a lid on it.

“I don’t want to tell any of the lads that they shouldn’t get excited because sometimes when you’re excited you play your best football. But it needs to be controlled.

“We need to control our emotions and make sure that we play our game properly. And hopefully that’s good enough to get us the win that we want to start with.”

And yet Clarke is determined to make sure that his players make the most of their big moment.

He went on: “I’ve been around the block a few times myself - having been involved in some big matches - so the players will be properly prepared.

“That’s physically, mentally and tactically. That’s our job.

“It’s been a long wait - we’re all waited a long, long time for this moment - so let’s make the most of it. That’ll be the message.”

Clarke was giving little away last night in terms of his team selection for today’s Group D opener.

Questions about his starting XI were swatted aside and he also declined to show his hand if he has decided to go for broke for a win by deploying two strikers in Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams.

He said: “We go into every game trying to win it. That’s the reality and that’s how we’ll approach this one. We want to win.

“But if we can’t win it then don’t lose it - I’d say that’s a good way to set out your style as a football team.

“The Czechs are a big strong physical team with one or two really good technical players. They have a couple of players I’m expecting to play who didn’t play the last time.

“But then some of our players didn’t play against them either.

“I feel both teams are on a similar path by improving all the time. So listen, we expect a tough game. Just like I think the Czech Republic will be expecting a tough game back. So let’s see what happens.

“Obviously I know my team! I’ve known it for a few days now, to be honest. But listen, you have to wait and see what happens.

“You never know what can happen in football. But I’ve always had a fair idea of what the team would be for this game.

“I’m aware that the first game is different to the second game and it’s different to the third one.

"We have a 26-man squad and I’m hesitant to say I’m going to need all the players. But I’m going to need the vast majority in the squad.

“But the more perceptive within the group might have worked out what the team is by now.”