What a great week it has been for Scotland after well-deserved qualification for Euro 2020.
We even lost on Sunday and I don’t think anybody really cared too much.
The euphoria from the Serbia game still hasn’t worn off and I think the performance in Slovakia was also one to be pleased about, we just couldn’t score the goal we deserved.
Talking about deserved, the win in Belgrade, even if it required nail-biting penalties, was most certainly that.
It’s not like we went there and sat in and stole away with victory.
We made a Serbia side full of good players look very average.
And that fills me with confidence for tomorrow’s game in Israel and most
certainly for the tournament in the summer.
It’s not an easy group but it’s a European Championships, so every game is going to be extremely tough whatever the draw.
The England game will take care of itself but I think we have a chance against the Czech Republic and Croatia, if we play well.
And that’s where my confidence lies.
We are playing well – we even played well on Sunday in defeat.
And I expect us to be playing even better by the time June comes around.
Steve Clarke’s plans have taken some time to come to fruition but everyone is buying into it now – add a few months and international camps to prepare for the tournament and we’ll be in good shape.
I 100% believe we will get better.
We played some really good stuff against Serbia and should have had the game won.
But it speaks even more highly of the mentality of our squad and the spirit that’s in there.
Having played so well and to have victory taken away from you in the final minute is very difficult to deal with – I know I found it tough just watching!
It’s all about mindset as a player and you could see the focus they had in extra time.
Serbia had the better of it but our players didn’t let that equaliser affect them.
And then the penalties were spot on, pardon the pun.
Then on Sunday we made a lot of changes, eight in total, and still played well.
We needed to take one of our early chances but let those slip by.
That’ll be the challenge tomorrow in Israel.
We need a result to top the Nations League group but I expect a lot of changes again.
We’ll maybe see Declan Gallagher back in. I’ve been very impressed with him, he’s a good footballer with strong defensive attributes.
He’s done so well to turn his career and his life around after what happened when he was younger.
The beauty of this situation for Clarke is he can say to all the players on the fringes how important it is they play well between now and June.
There are places up for grabs.
What a great situation for Scotland.
The final scoreline on Sunday at Easter Road was a sore one for Dundee.
To lose 4-1 was really harsh for the way the Dark Blues went about things in the
Because it wasn’t like they’d equalised out of the blue – Christie Elliott’s goal had been coming for some time.
Their big problem once more – and James McPake will be exasperated with this – is how easily they allowed Hibs to score their three late goals.
Like I said about the Alloa goals, the good news is there are things you can work on – the problem is it doesn’t happen overnight.
Cammy Kerr isn’t a centre-back and he was caught a couple of times out of position for goals, not miles away but enough.
Those sort of things you can get away with in the Championship – against Premiership teams you don’t.
I think there was also an element of tiredness late on. Players switched off and didn’t get out to Hibs men as quickly as they had been.
That was a big difference between the sides. Two of the goals came from Hibs subs, they were able to freshen things up and put players on who would make an impact.
Dundee, meanwhile, had young lads there just for a bit of experience.
The good news is the Dark Blues will have players back for the next round.
The bigger problem, though, is getting a win at Ayr on Saturday.
They need it.
If you are a team struggling for goals, you want to be taking on a side that’s been shipping plenty of them lately.
Having Hamilton Accies coming to Tannadice this weekend is the perfect game for Dundee United – I hope it is anyway.
Accies might try to play a tight game to stop the goals going in.
However, losing four on the bounce before the weekend walkover with 19 goals conceded should have the Tannadice strikers licking their lips.
Micky Mellon will have been working on attacking over the wee break – let’s see if it works.