STEVE CLARKE reckons it is time for Scotland to come out of the international wilderness.
The last time the Scots played in a major tournament was in the World Cup Finals in France in 1998 when Craig Brown was the manager.
Clarke aims to end the agonising 22-year wait by guiding the nation to next summer’s Euro Championship showpiece competition.
The former Kilmarnock gaffer has a wonderful opportunity when they take part in the Euro 2020 play-offs in March and the nation’s chief is desperate to reach the final tournament, with four matches due to be held at Hampden.
As he geared up his players for tonight’s final Euro 2020 qualifier against Kazakhstan at the national stadium, Clarke looked forward to the prospect of gatecrashing the big-time again and told Sky Sports News: “It would be fantastic – 1998 was the year I retired (from playing). it’s a long time ago.
“It’s probably been too long. We’re working towards hopefully a big, big moment for the nation and we’re all giving 100 per cent for that.”
Scotland have beaten San Marino 6-0 and Cyprus 2-1 in their past two outings and the gaffer has challenged his side to extend their winning run.
He said: “It’s very important. In the same way in football everybody talks about losing games can become a habit, it’s the same with winning games.
“It’s important to win. It’s important for this group of players to feel good about themselves.
“The mood in this camp has been particularly good. Very positive from the first day we got together until now.
“The only way to cement that is with another good performance and hopefully another victory against good opposition, I have to say.”
Scotland suffered a 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan in March in what proved to be former manager Alex McLeish’s penultimate match in charge of the national side.
Clarke has won three of his seven competitive games since taking charge in May and the 56-year-old former international full-back believes progress has been made during his six months in charge.
He added: “I’m reasonably satisfied. I think we’ve made some progress.
“I said before the Cyprus game that to me within the camp and within the matches, I can see signs of progress.
“But until we start to get wins on the pitch, people might not believe me.”