As a 1993 baby my only memories of Scotland at a major tournament are limited to a half-completed sticker album and a miniature replica kit.
I only hope Thursday night tops the thrill of ripping open a Panini packet to reveal big Colin Hendry’s pus staring back at me, clad head to toe in Umbro’s finest.
Yes, I’m part of the starved Scots generation to have not, really, witnessed our nation at a summer finals.
France 1998 has taken on a mystique for me and so many of my peers unable to fully appreciate the Tartan Army at a World Cup.
The vast majority of the players in Steve Clarke’s squad will be in the same boat, too.
And that gives me great hope we can navigate this final hurdle and make Euro 2020 next summer.
Much like the younger subset of the support, they are not haunted by the failures of the past and, even more importantly, are ready to grasp the opportunity to recapture former glories with both hands.
History-makers they have the potential to be, but Serbia will not lie down in next week’s play-off and allow us to fulfil our wildest of dreams.
No, no, the Serbs will be formidable foe, no question.
Yet, among the ’90s babies in our pool there is not only great hope but great quality, too.
On paper, it’s probably one of the strongest squads we’ve assembled since the days of captain Hendry & Co.
The return of old head Craig Gordon, Leigh Griffiths, Ryan Christie, Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney already adds to the top-level quality in the group like John McGinn, Ryan Fraser and skipper Andy Robertson.
Not quite a golden generation but one with time yet, under Clarke’s pragmatic guidance, to make its mark.
It’s not been sexy football under the former Killie boss, far from it, but we’re quietly making waves on the international scene again.
Eight games unbeaten and, finally, finding some sort of identity and recipe for success.
Veering into negativity for a moment, even if things don’t go our way in Belgrade on Thursday evening, there are enough encouraging signs that we are going places.
If this isn’t our time, it feels like under Clarke there will be more chances.
It’s going to be an emotional watch for me, nonetheless, though.
Not quite that of 10-year-old Calum, crying in a heap on the living room floor after Holland horsed us 6-0 in Amsterdam back in 2003 – our last play-off final appearance as we looked to reach the Euros the following summer.
I still remind fellow Tele columnist Lee Wilkie, who played that day, of my inconsolable sobbing that evening.
I don’t envisage those scenes occurring again, partly because I’m hopeful of a Scotland win, but also because I’ve read the script a few times now in the last 17 years.
Best keep the phone off the hook on Thursday Lee, just in case. . .
Dundee United fans were dealt a blow when it emerged the players and coaches were being asked to take pay cuts – and they could be in for another shock when the club’s accounts are released soon.
The picture is already pretty bleak for United after the coronavirus pandemic forced the club to ask football staff to take a 20% wage cut until the end of the season.
Terrors owner Mark Ogren has come out, in a forthright manner, and stated the club’s accounts this year will be bad.
But just how severely the coffers have been hit will reveal itself in the next few weeks.
The Tangerines posted losses of £3.7 million last year and, if that trend continues, questions must be asked of what’s going on behind closed doors at Tannadice.
Honesty from club owners is refreshing and Ogren deserves credit for fronting up. But that doesn’t mean fans shouldn’t ask questions – and it doesn’t mean supporters won’t be spooked by the numbers.
As we know, the outlay to get the club back into the Premiership was vast and, largely, bankrolled by Ogren himself.
A lot of cash was thrown at the project, particularly in terms of player wages, and, yes, the impact of Covid should not be diminished.
However, the club could find themselves in a tight spot, partly, of their own doing.
It was terrific to see fans in at Ross County-Livingston last night but whether it happens in these parts any time soon remains to be seen.
Dundee United owner Mark Ogren said last week that more needs to be done to get supporters back in stadiums and clearly the willingness is there.
Whether that actually comes to fruition at Tannadice or over the road at Dens seems unlikely.
It’s a sad situation but the reality is, with Dundee currently locked in a tier three coronavirus zone, it could be a ghost town for a while yet.
It’s health before wealth but how much longer can clubs cope?