Charlie Mulgrew insists Scotland are ready to right the wrongs of previous failed qualifying campaigns by taking full advantage of the opportunity handed to them by the UEFA Nations League.
The Scots got off to a winning start in their first ever match of the newly-introduced tournament, with Monday’s 2-0 win over Albania at Hampden Park putting them top of Group C1.
Alex McLeish’s men have three further fixtures to play in their group, which also includes Israel, with a place in the play-offs for Euro 2020 the prize for the winners.
Although the conventional qualifying groups for the European Championships will start in March next year, the introduction of the Nations League provides the Scots with an extra route of ending their 20-year absence from a major tournament.
Having made the perfect start, defender Mulgrew is eager to keep the momentum going, and he said: “We were aware we haven’t started other campaigns the way we should have so we knew we’d have to be on the front foot here.
“These are important qualifying games and that is how we have approached it.
“Right from the outset, the focus was on the Albania game and getting off to a good start.
“This is a chance to qualify for the Euros so we want to win every game in the section to put us closer to achieving that target.
“It’s up to us to create the atmosphere and give the fans something to cheer.”
Blackburn Rovers player Mulgrew was pleased with the nature of his side’s much-needed victory over an Albanian side ranked 58th in the world, which came just three days after a chastening 4-0 friendly defeat to Belgium.
The 32-year-old added: “We are happy with the performance, it was about us being on the front foot.
“We knew the big game was the Albania one and we wanted to get off to a good start.
“They are a decent side, they are better than what people give them credit for.
“They were at the last Euros so that shows they have quality.
“But it was about us, pressing from the front and playing with a nothing to lose attitude.
“We wanted to impose our style on them and we did it.”
Mulgrew has been at the heart of a new three-man backline since McLeish returned as national team boss in February, and the former Celtic and Aberdeen player takes encouragement from the instruction to pass out from the back, adding: “We have defenders who are good with the ball at their feet.
“John Souttar came in and looked very comfortable, he looked good on the ball and we are happy to have him.
“That’s the way football is going, you have to do the basics well of course, but the manager wants us to get on the ball and play.
“That is something we are capable of doing.”