Defender Liam Cooper insists no Scotland player would risk blowing the chance of a lifetime by jeopardising the squad’s Covid-19 bubble.
Manager Steve Clarke allowed the players and back-room staff a brief break from the squad’s Covid ‘bubble’ earlier this week.
They were granted time off to visit their families after Sunday’s 1-0 friendly defeat of Luxembourg.
Clarke instructed the players to stay at home and observe social distancing rules before returning to Scotland’s Euro 2020 camp.
The threat of the virus was underlined when midfielder John Fleck was forced to self-isolate following a positive test during a pre-tournament camp in Spain last week – with six players left of the 2-2 friendly draw with Netherlands as a precaution.
The squad reconvened at their Euro 2020 base in Darlington on Wednesday evening with everyone subsequently returning negative test results.
Fleck has also returned to training ahead of the Group D opener with Czech Republic at Hampden on Monday.
Leeds United defender Cooper knows first hand the severity of Covid-19 having been so ill with the virus in March he was ruled out of the World Cup qualifiers.
Cooper said: “I think you’d be stupid to go out there and see people, knowing what’s at risk.
“You’ve got the chance of a lifetime to go and play for your country in the Euros.
“We had a few days off but I don’t think the lads got up to much, because they knew what was at risk.
“I had my family tested before I got back from Spain just to be cautious.
“Speaking to a few of the lads, they’ve done the same.
“The lads are pretty switched on and everyone’s PCR tests have come back negative.
“We’re sticking to the precautions – Doctor (John) MacLean has been unbelievable with us.
“Nothing is too much to ask.”
Leeds United captain Cooper, 29, contracted the virus in March and missed two Premier League games and also the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
If you did contract it now you’d be in serious trouble – that’d be your Euros over.”
Speaking at the Scotland squad’s base at the five-star Rockliffe Hall hotel, he said: “I’m not ashamed to say I picked up Covid; it was rough the first few days but after that I was pretty fine.
“I wasn’t too sure about losing the smell and taste – that was weird.
“I was trying to eat all sorts to get that back as it was well and truly gone.
“It was curries, chillies, everything, you name it.
“There was nothing there!
“I can taste a few things and the food here is lovely. I’m just thankful I can taste it.
“But now I feel fit and healthy as ever.
“I don’t know if I could get it again but we still follow the precautions round the place.
“We still wear masks.
“If you did contract it now you’d be in serious trouble – that’d be your Euros over.”
The spectre of the coronavirus pandemic is already looming over Euro 2020 before the tournament has even begun.
Spain captain Sergio Busquets is currently in a 10-day quarantine having been forced to leave the squad’s training camp after testing positive.
Barcelona star Busquets will miss their first game against Sweden on Monday.
Scotland had their own Covid-19 set-back when Sheffield United midfielder Fleck tested positive on the eve of the friendly against Netherlands.
Clarke opted to omit John McGinn, David Marshall, Grant Hanley, Nathan Patterson, Che Adams and Stephen O’Donnell from the flight to Portugal as a precaution.
Fleck is back training with the squad.
Cooper said: “It was difficult for Flecky because we’d only been there two or three days and he returned a positive test.
“The first time we’ve seen him was Wednesday night so it’s nice to have him back.
“We had to rally round.
“I’ve been there myself.
“I spoke to John and luckily he’s not had any symptoms.
“He looked sharp in training so fair play to him and it’s good to have him back. ”
Ahead of the opener against Czech Republic at Hampden the Scottish FA confirmed players will “stand up to racism” at Euro 2020 rather than take the knee before matches.
The squad switched to standing for the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign in March.
With the world watching Euro 2020 the defender insists it was a unified decision by the squad in an attempt to try to bring ‘meaningful’ change.
— Andy Robertson (@andrewrobertso5) June 10, 2021
Cooper said: “It came about at the international in March when Robbo (Andy Robertson) spoke to us all and there was an agreement that we were going to take a stand.
“We believe in making a meaningful change and we are looking to get that.
“We just came together as a group and wanted to make a stand against discrimination.
‘We know the world is watching and and I know I keep saying it, but we all strive for that change.
“Eventually we will get there.”
#FootballUnites against racism.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) June 10, 2021
Asked if he had witness racism, Cooper replied: “No, nothing of the sort. But neither am I blind to it.
“You see incidents in other countries and things like that.
“The problem is not eradicated as it should be.
“It’s 2021 now and the world should not be talking about this.
“Unfortunately we are and we are going to stand up against it.
“‘We are in a fortunate position where we can stand up to it and show we are against it.
“I’m sure the Scottish fans will join in with us on that as well.
“It’s been going on far too long now in the game and we all want to make a stance and get rid of it.’
Scotland are just days away from the nation’s first tournament for 23 years.
There will be fans, albeit only 12,000, inside Hampden for the Czech Republic clash.
Cooper admits excitement is building especially now they are locked down in their Euro 2020 camp – and the Scots aim to do the nation proud.
He said: “When we qualified by beating the Serbs the excitement was there, but we still had our club duties to get on with to finish the season strongly.
“We all try to play as well as we can to get into the manager’s plans and now we are here.
“We had the ten days away last week and it was good to see all the boys again.
“It’s hard to come away on international duty and have that club mentality, but it really does feel like that here.
“The boys get on unbelievably well and the chemistry and team morale is as high as I have ever seen it within the camp.
“It’s pure excitement and hopefully we can go and do the team proud and do ourselves justice.’”