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‘It’s the monkey off the back now’: Scotland goal hero Ryan Christie elated as Steve Clarke’s side book Euro 2020 place

Ryan Christie celebrates with Andy Robertson after putting Scotland in front.
Ryan Christie celebrates with Andy Robertson after putting Scotland in front.

A tearful Ryan Christie hailed Scotland finally ending their 22-year wait for a major tournament appearance.

Christie opened the scoring for Scotland on Thursday night against Serbia, before Luka Jovic’s late equaliser prompted extra-time and penalties.

David Marshall stood up and became the hero from 12 yards, keeping out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s spot-kick to earn Scotland a place at Euro 2020.

The national team has not played at a major tournament since France 98, when Craig Brown’s side exited at the group stage.

However, after a nervy and tense night in Belgrade, Steve Clarke’s side can look forward to taking on England, Croatia and Czech Republic at the delayed European Championships next summer.

Christie said: “It’s for the whole nation. It’s been a horrible year for everyone. We knew that coming into the game we could give a little something to this country and I hope everyone back home is having a party. Because we deserve it.

“We’ve been through so many years. You know it, everyone knows it. It’s the monkey off the back now.

“It’s an amazing night. From the start we believed. In the last couple of camps we’ve picked up so much belief in each other.”

Ryan Christie celebrates his opening goal for Scotland.

It extends Scotland’s unbeaten run under Clarke to nine games and is their second penalty shootout triumph in a month, having beaten Israel by the same method in October in Glasgow.

They dug out results against Slovakia and Czech Republic in the aftermath of that spot-kick triumph and again delivered when the odds were against them.

Christie said: “The gaffer mentioned before the game, the way the Czech Republic game went in the last 10 minutes – even the way that game went tonight, conceding that late equaliser, we’re still digging in.

“The penalties were not nice. When you’re on the pitch you feel like you can impact it. When you’re off, you can’t watch it. Those penalties are probably the most horrible thing I’ve ever been through.”

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