Scotland manager Steve Clarke has challenged his players to go from heroes to legends by qualifying for the knock-out stages of a major tournament for the first time at Euro 2020 next month.
Clarke has named his 26-man squad for this summer’s tournament, with the Scots beginning their preparations when they travel to Spain for a training camp next Thursday.
Scotland reached their first major finals for 23 years, courtesy of a penalty shoot-out victory over Serbia in November.
The Scots have never progressed beyond the group stage of a major tournament, with Czech Republic, England and Croatia standing in their way in Group D of the European Championships.
Having already ended one hoodoo, Clarke has urged his players to grasp the opportunity to create their own piece of history.
Clarke said: “They were all heroes when they came out of Serbia, they were fantastic and everything was great.
“But if we become the first men’s team to qualify for the knock-out stages of a major tournament they can be legends, so why not aim for that?
“Yes, of course, it’s quite a motivation. But becoming the first group of players to qualify for 23 years was also a massive motivation and they managed to do that.
“Let’s go into the tournament this summer, let’s be really competitive and let’s give everything to get out of the group and into the knock-out stages for the first time. That would be fantastic.”
Despite the excitement surrounding Scotland’s team, Clarke feels the current squad must look to sustain its success beyond this summer’s finals in order to be classed as a golden generation.
He added: “It’s nice to think we have a squad of players that have qualified for a tournament. We’ve got a group of younger players that can come in and push that talented group.
“And then, if it all comes together? I don’t think you can speak about a golden generation if I’m being honest until we’ve actually qualified for a few tournaments.
“Hopefully in five or six years from now we’re talking about this as a golden generation but, at the moment, this is a generation which has qualified once in 23 years so let’s just enjoy the tournament in the summer if we can.”
Clarke feels the announcement of his squad allows the build up to truly begin, with the Scots playing two friendlies against Holland and Luxembourg prior to their first Group D match against the Czechs at Hampden Park on June 14.
He added: “It’s good people are feeling excited. It’s been a long wait since last November. It’s nice it’s finally here. It’s nice that I finally managed to settle on a squad of 26.
“I’m happy with the squad. I like it, I like the balance, I like the way it looks.
“It will be good to get the work in at the training camp before we go to the tournament.”