Scotland stood still in international exile when they were missing major tournaments.
That is the view of manager Steve Clarke, who became the first man since Craig Brown to guide the nation to a major tournament last week.
Prior to last Thursday’s win over Serbia, which booked Scotland’s place at Euro 2020, they had not qualified for a tournament since 2020.
This has led to Clarke to say Scotland “stood still” while others around them were making progress.
Clarke said: “We stopped qualifying for tournaments. It has taken us a long time to get back to qualifying. We don’t want to wait as long for the next one.
“In fact I don’t want to wait very long at all, I want to qualify for Qatar 2022 and so do the players.
“It has to be the start of something else. It has to be. The Euros are there, I have told the players the Euros are in a cupboard. Now we forget about the Euros until April.
“We need to have a good start in the World Cup qualifying. Obviously a nice favourable draw in December would be great.
“But then we have three World Cup matches in March, so we can’t get ahead of ourselves. The World Cup is the next target.”
Scotland moved up four places in the world rankings after the last international window and now sit 45th. Their victory over Serbia – ranked 30th – should see that climb again.
Clarke added: “At any level you are only as good as your next game.
“You need to be focussed on the targets ahead. You can’t stand still. Maybe as a nation we were guilty of standing still too long – and everybody went past us.
“We are in a position now where we are in a position to catch up, we are trying to catch up. We don’t want to lose that momentum. We want to keep going.”