Scotland will participate in a final tournament for the first time in 23 years next year. “This time we have not disappointed the people,” said national coach Steve Clarke. “The whole nation can be proud, but no one is more proud than the players on the field.”
In recent years, the Scots have regularly been close to qualifying for a European Championship or World Cup. Still, the 1998 World Cup was the last tournament where the Scots were active for the time being.
On Thursday evening, Serbia was sensationally defeated in Belgrade via penalty kicks (5-4). “I hope everyone has a party tonight because we have been through a difficult time, both the players and the fans,” said captain Andy Robertson. “After 23 years we did it. I don’t want to think about it, because then I probably start to cry.”
The placement for the Scots is extra nice because they are ‘rewarded’ with two matches at Hampden Park, Glasgow’s own stadium. There the Scots meet the Czech Republic and Croatia. Robertson: “We pray for a filled Hampden, because we will notice.” The Scots also play against England in the group; that game will be played at Wembley.
Ryan Christie was of great value with a goal in Belgrade. He missed the playoff semi-finals last month, having been in close contact with an infected teammate, Stuart Armstrong.
“I’m through it,” said an emotional Celtic midfielder Christie. “This one is for the whole nation. It’s been a terrible year for everyone.
Scotland got one point at the 1998 World Cup in France.