Scotland 1998-2018: 20 Years Of Hurt Never Stopped Us Dreaming
Written by RockSport on December 31, 2017
2018 marks 20 years since the Scotland National Football Team last qualified for a major tournament.
World Cup 1998 in France was our last appearance on the big stage and the whole of the 1990’s, which included the bulk of the Craig Brown era of 1993-2002, [ he was also Andy Roxburgh’s assistant 1990-92 ] now seems like a golden age with two World Cups out of three in that decade qualified for and European Championship final appearances in 1992 and 1996. We would also have been at Euro 2000 had we not lost narrowly 2-1 on aggregate to England in a play off in 1999 despite winning at Wembley.
The last decade of the 20th Century might never be bettered as far as tournament qualification goes for Scotland and despite a brave campaign that kept hopes of World Cup qualification for Russia 2018 alive until the very last group game it was the same old story of close but no cigar for the men in dark blue [ and sometimes those controversial PINK shirts ].
Gordon Strachan has exited the scene and we start 2018 with Edinburgh based Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill still the favourite with the SFA to take over the Head Coach position with our national team but it now seems the IFA will fight to hang onto the former Brechin City manager.
Whoever finally gets the big job [ and it still should be classed as that ] Scotland must make their mark on the world stage again so inclusion in the new style Euros of 2020 and a visit to Qatar 2022 is a must if Scotland matches are to avoid just becoming exhibition games for future generations and the longer we go without qualifying for things the more we will start to think we simply aren’t good enough!
2017 gave us glimpses of hope via the Leigh Griffiths free kicks against England and the tenacity that brought the last gasp win over Slovakia at Hampden but these matches will count for nothing if we cannot use them as a foundation for more good scorelines in 2018 and we will have to grit our teeth in the summer too as deadly rivals England pitch up in Russia as we sit at home cheering for any underdog that might have a player that has the remotest connection with Scotland.
In short, this can’t go on for another 20 years so let 2018 be the year when the hurt ends and Scotland gets its 80’s and 90’s football mojo back when tournament qualification was expected and not greeted with surprise!
2018 is also 40 years since World Cup Argentina when one of the best post-war Scotland sides travelled to South America being tipped for ” a medal ” [ manager Ally McLeod never actually said we could win it but thought a ” top four place ” was possible..ie a semi final appearance ]
We crashed and burned in spectacular style ofcourse against Peru and Iran, and then almost saved it via the eventual runners-up Holland, but at least we were there and one can only imagine what the ultimate Mr Optimism of Scottish football would have made of our plight 1998-2017.
Scotland’s National Team 2018..will it be a new start or more of the same?