Scotland manager Steve Clarke insists he will not rest on his laurels as he bids to make Scotland’s return to the world stage a regular occurrence.
Clarke has helped end 22 years of hurt by leading the team to the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup following a penalty shootout win against Serbia which booked Scotland’s place in next summer’s Euro 2020 finals.
The celebrations continued long into night among the players and backroom staff in Belgrade, but, with a trip to Slovakia in the Nations League tomorrow followed by Wednesday’s match in Israel looming large, Clarke is eager to continue the rich vein of form which has carried the country to the finals.
He said: “It’s great for Scottish football. It puts us back on the map, back in the big tournaments.
“Obviously we will prepare for the two games coming up because they are very important for us. We want to finish top of that section and be winners there are well.
“We want to win one of the next two games so we can win our group and qualify for the A group of the Nations League.
“We want to be competing with the big teams, but I’ve said before we are still a work in progress.”
The Tartan Army will be making plans for the matches against the Czech Republic, England and Croatia next June and Clarke is proud at being able to help restore pride in the national team.
He said: “Next summer will take care of itself. There are three great group games to look forward to, one especially for the Tartan Army which I am sure they will enjoy.
“I’m grateful the board at the Scottish FA for showing their faith in me and thankful I’ve managed to deliver for them.
“I’m really pleased for them as it has been a difficult time for the country and financially for the SFA, so this is a big step forward and I’m delighted we’ve been able to produce for them.
“We’ve been positive for a long time. It took a little while to get everyone on board, but the belief has been there these last couple of months, which is why I’m so pleased for the players and the fans back home who couldn’t be with us.
“For everyone throughout the world in this global pandemic, it has been a very difficult time. For the people in Scotland, it has been very difficult.
“We spoke before the game about trying to make the nation smile on Friday morning. If we have done a bit to make them feel a bit better about themselves, about the country, that’s great.
“Every player turned up. I’m not just talking about the 11 who started, but the boys on the bench and the way the rest of the squad conducted themselves. Everyone was together. And that’s why we succeeded.
“For a long time, we have been building this group of players and that’s why we got the rewards.”