The players and staff of the Scottish national team are overjoyed to be able to report for the first time since 1998 for a final tournament. Thanks to a victory after penalties against Serbia, the country qualified for the European Championship on Thursday.
‘We pray for a filled Hampden Park’
“This time we have not disappointed the people,” said national coach Steve Clarke after the game in Belgrade. “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.
“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.”
Enormous discharge for the Scots after Serbia’s decisive miss in the penalty series. (Photo: Pro Shots)
The placement for the Scots is extra nice because they are ‘rewarded’ with two matches at Hampden Park, Glasgow’s own stadium. There they meet the Czech Republic and Croatia. “We pray for a filled Hampden, because we will notice,” said Robertson.
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. As a team we’ve been waiting so long for this and a weight is falling off our shoulders.”