STEVEN Reid, the new national team coach, said last night that helping to guide Scotland to Euro 2020 would top gracing the 2002 World Cup with the Republic of Ireland – and insisted he saw enough in his very first training session to suggest it is achievable.

The 38-year-old, who was a late call-up for Mick McCarthy’s squad 17 years ago, worked with Clarke as a player at West Brom before being offered his first coaching role under him at Reading. The former Kilmarnock manager wasn’t slow to bring him into the fold after getting the chance to ascend to the top job at the SFA and Reid is enthused by a coaching challenge which he feels would represent the pinnacle of his career.

“Is the quality there? Without doubt,” said Reid. “I saw the quality just from the first session alone.

“I’ve also seen glimpses this season of one or two individuals - I saw John McGinn in the last couple of games when I was at West Brom.

“I went to the Champions League final too and had a keen eye on how Andy [Robertson] played.

“I was away with the family in Adu Dhabi but had arranged to go as I’m still friendly with Kieran Tripper who I played with at Burnley - so haven’t put the trip on my expenses!

“But the quality within the squad is right up there, and I’ve worked in the Premier League in the last couple of years with Crystal Palace and West Brom.

“It’s just getting the balance and doing the ugly bits too.”

The job of returning Scotland to a major finals after 22 fruitless years all gets under way against Cyprus at Hampden on Saturday night. “It would be up there as the pinnacle [of his career],” said Reid. “When you’re actually playing you don’t take things in as much as you should. You’re a little bit blase about it.

“I was actually on stand-by for the original Ireland squad in 2002,” he added. “When the call came saying I was going to the World Cup I was actually on the way to the airport to go on holiday.

“I was going to Barbados and I was with the missus on the way to the airport when I turned the phone on and Mick called. Mark Kennedy had got injured in Niall Quinn’s testimonial up in Sunderland and I was the guy on stand-by. I probably shouldn’t have even booked the holiday! But I went to the World Cup and came on against Cameroon in the first game, then again in the second game against Germany when Robbie Keane scored an equaliser in the last minute.

“As a player you think you’ll be playing in another big tournament in two years, then another World Cup in four. But it turned out be the pinnacle of my playing career and it was right at the beginning.

“So to be there as a coach, that could top it. I played in the Premier League and then coached there. But to help take Scotland to a tournament after so long would just be amazing. It’s a great incentive - and if we do it I’ll try and take it in a little bit more and actually enjoy it.”