Football fan Gregor Townsend is backing Scotland to win Euro play-off in Serbia

Gregor Townsend has urged the Scotland football team to “give the country a lift” by beating Serbia and qualifying for the Euros.

Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend will be keeping a close eye on the national football team's game in Serbia. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS
Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend will be keeping a close eye on the national football team's game in Serbia. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS

Townsend and his Scotland rugby squad will be in Florence to prepare for their own match against Italy this weekend but intend to watch Steve Clarke’s side’s bid to end the national team’s 22-year absence from the finals of a major tournament.

Both rugby and football squads have been training at Oriam this week and sharing the same hotel on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

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“I think it is a great thing for Scottish sport for football and rugby to come together and be preparing for enormous games in the same environment,” said Townsend. “We love the fact they have been on this unbeaten run and it gives the country a lift, just like us winning down in Wales a couple of weeks ago.”

The Scotland rugby and football teams have socialised at Oriam in the past although this is not possible at the moment due to Covid restrictions,

Clarke and Townsend have not had a chance to meet up this week but the pair keep in regular contact.

“We’ve both been pretty busy and we are keeping both groups pretty separated within our environments,” explained Townsend. “But we have chatted a few times this season and the last time they were in camp I was in the hotel a few times.

"I spoke to John McGinn the day after Aston Villa beat Liverpool 7-2. As a Liverpool fan, that was a bit painful but it was good to hear from him that he has turned into a bit of a rugby fan. He was over at our game in Dublin this year. A lot of them enjoying watching rugby and watching the Scotland team play.”

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