Men from Aberdeen to Arsenal, Merseyside to Motherwell, have the chance to create history tonight for our football-daft nation, Scotland.
There’s many a decision to be made by manager Steve Clarke. What formation is picked? Do you start Arsenal man Tierney or Aberdeen hero Considine? How do we keep Serbia at bay?
All of this will be decided during Scotland’s Euro 2020 play-off final in Belgrade. For the first time in a long, long time, there is actually optimism the men’s team can reach a major tournament for the first time since 1998.
We’ve had flickers of hope in the last few years, Shelley Kerr leading the women’s team to a World Cup, Scot Gemmill’s U21s on the brink of Euro qualification. Now Clarke’s team must step up to the plate.
I was born in 2001, so me and countless others in my generation have literally never watched Scotland in a major tournament. Even those in the Scotland squad are probably too young to remember any details of World Cup 98.
I’d imagine there were probably black and white TV’s still, no cars and certainly none of the technology we have in 2020. But whilst the world has moved forward, Scotland’s national team has been left reminiscing.
We have looked back on memories of yesteryear for far too long. In my own personal case, I don’t have such tales and stories to look back on. My dad was into his motorbikes and NFL before I dragged him into Scottish soccer, although the Brazil top he passed down to me from World Cup 94 was decent.
My mum, grans, aunties and uncles weren’t that interested in football either, plus some of my other grandparents were English, so their memories weren’t much use. While we all have different stories, there are so many like me out there.
Those who all they have known with Scotland and football is glorious failure or just the latter. I can vaguely remember Gary Caldwell’s effort against France and that James McFadden goal but most of my fresh memories come from defeats to Kazakhstan and the like.
My generation has seen many a mediocre Scotland squad but this feels like the one which can finally gives us some hope. Big players from the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Aston Villa will all likely feature.
Even on the domestic scene, those from Aberdeen and Motherwell will also play a big part. We have strength in depth like never before and whilst Serbia pose Clarke’s team with the biggest threat yet, it’s an occasion they are capable of rising to.
2020 has been an utterly tragic year for many. We can’t go to Serbia for this one, the biggest game in my lifetime, as Covid-19 takes hold. We’ve lost family members this year, not been able to see those we hold dear, separated from the things we love.
It has been a terrible year. But within 90 minutes or potentially more in Belgrade, Clarke’s group could go a long way to delivering some much-needed hope for the nation and a tournament for its lost generation.