NICOLA Sturgeon has issued a stirring message to Scotland’s men’s national team as they prepare for their first major tournament in 23 years.

Steve Clarke’s side take on the Czech Republic on Monday as they kick off their Euros campaign at Hampden – and Nicola Sturgeon has hinted they could all the way to lift the trophy.

At First Minister’s Questions on the eve of the tournament, the leaders of Scotland’s biggest parties wished the team luck.

Douglas Ross wished the squad “all the very best for the Euros”.

He added: “It has been a long 23-year wait for the men’s international team to qualify for a major finals and I know in our first match against the Czech Republic on Monday, against the Auld Enemy on Friday and their final group stage match against Croatia on the 22nd of June, they will have the support, the hopes and the backing of the entire country.”

Those sentiments were echoed by the First Minister.

She said: “Can I also take the opportunity today to wish Steve and all of the men's football team all of the best as they prepare to embark on this European Championship campaign.

"On Monday afternoon, 23 long years of frustration and pain and standing on the sidelines will come to an end, and the team has done us proud already.

“To echo Douglas Ross and I’m sure everyone across the chamber, we're all absolutely behind them as they kick the first ball, and will be behind them all the way through the tournament. We all hope that is for quite a considerable way into this tournament – perhaps, who knows, the whole way.

“Good luck to Steve and all of the team.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar was next to wish the team well.

He said this was the men’s team’s opportunity to “catch up on the great leadership shown by the women’s team”.

He thanked manager Clarke and captain Andy Robertson, adding: “They will give us, I hope, a summer of hope optimism and cheer after what’s been a really difficult year for us all.”