Ninety minutes. It sounds like a long time. Historically, for Scotland fans, it’s often felt very much longer.
But it is, fundamentally, merely a collection of moments. Fleeting moments, any one of which could alter the course of history and create legends.
For a few precious seconds, Scotland thought they had found a moment for the ages via Scott McTominay, utility man turned international superhero. In a tournament throughout which McTominay has been first class, mailing so improbably angled a missile into the postage stamp corner of Spain’s net looked like his most special delivery of all.
Scotland fans devasted as Scott McTominay’s goal ruled out by VAR
In any other era, it would have been an image hung in the walkways of Hampden for posterity. Nobody in the stadium had noticed Unai Simon being fouled – not even Unai Simon – and were it not for a VAR truck parked nearby the Scots bandwagon would have shifted into top gear and bounced off towards Germany.
Instead, the slimmest of reprieves shook the momentarily shellshocked hosts into action. Dominant but largely unthreatening before, Spain suddenly transformed into an irresistible tide. McTominay’s extraordinary resourcefulness had, in functional terms, served only to wake the beast.
A horrid shame. It ought to have been the crowning glory of a tremendous footballer.
Almost universally unloved and misunderstood in the land where he was born and plays domestically, McTominay’s value is properly reckoned in the country of his surname.
To think this is a player commonly thought too prosaic and pedestrian to be worth his prominent place in England’s Premier League. Pah. How many of your vaunted princes would have the clarity and courage to even conceive of it, far less the class to execute it?
A modern hero for a modern Scotland. The picture framers can stand down, but we will not soon forget. Some hit, min.