Former national boss Craig Brown believes Steve Clarke’s Euro 2020 qualifying heroes will revitalise football in Scotland.
Brown, 80, experienced that knock-on effect first hand in 1998 having led Scotland to the World Cup finals in France.
That had been the last time Scotland qualified for a major tournament until the historic penalty shoot-out defeat of Serbia in Belgrade.
Brown predicts reaching a major tournament will give the game a shot in the arm, greater than any investment or scheme.
He said: “The spin-off from qualifying for the Euros will be enormous in terms of interest and enthusiasm for football.
“I was at five major tournaments with Scotland, three World Cups and two European Championships.
“I have seen the impact qualification for a tournament has on the country – it is huge.
“I am delighted and the whole nation will get a lift from this. Interest in the game will take off now.
“Even people who were not that into football will be interested in the game now.
“It will also increase interest in the club game because Scotland are going to the Euros and people are talking about football.
“We have only ever been to two European championships in ‘92 and ‘96.
“There have been 15 previous Euro championships and Scotland have only ever been to two.
“That was a horrendous record, so beating Serbia was so important.”
Brown led Scotland to the Euro 1996 finals where they faced England at Wembley, losing 2-0 in the group stage.
Scotland will again go against England in a Euro finals as they will play Gareth Southgate’s side at Wembley in Group D on June 18.
They will also face the Czech Republic (June 14) and World Cup 2018 finalists Croatia (June 22) at Hampden.
Brown said: “I heard a wonderful lecture years ago from a man called Geoff Cooke, who was the rugby coach of England and the British Lions.
“He said you can spend a fortune on the development of rugby, you can have every project and scheme.
“But if the England rugby team is doing well, that does more for the game than any money spent.
“It is the same with Scottish football. We have spent money on reports such as the Henry McLeish one and have also had Project Brave.
“However, if the national team is winning that does more for the game than any other project or scheme.
“The kids will want to go on football courses and wear Scotland jerseys.
“By qualifying for the Euros many kids’ Christmas presents will now be Scotland strips.
“Suddenly it all takes off and when you run a football course for kids they are queueing up to get in.”
All five Scots converted their penalties in Belgrade before David Marshall saved from Aleksandar Mitrovic to end 22 years of qualification agony.
Brown said: “There was excruciating tension during the penalties.
“We were all extremely nervous, but terrific credit is due to the goalkeeper David Marshall, but also Steve Clarke.
“He has transformed the fortunes of the national team and we are delighted we are eventually going back to an international tournament.
“I look forward to watching the success of the team in that tournament.
“The team seems to be getting better every game. I’m looking forward to great success in the future.”
With penalties looming, manager Clarke introduced Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths from the bench with just four minutes remaining.
Griffiths bravely stepped up to take Scotland’s first spot-kick and converted.
Brown said: “Griffiths was an inspired substitution.
“He took the first penalty with great confidence and assurance.
“He made the substitution in the hope that we would at least get to penalties. You have to give credit to the manager.
“The team should get enormous credit for the whole performance.
“For 85 minutes we were absolutely outstanding in that match.”