As we head towards Scotland’s Euro qualifier with Liechtenstein on Tuesday I am slowly beginning to think we have never quite recovered from the trauma of Argentina 1978.
This seems to be a monkey that we all carry about with us, even the generations that have grown up since then and have no first hand memory of the games with Peru, Iran and Holland.
I have slowly come to terms with the fact that I was carried along on Ally McLeod’s wave of enthusiasm 32 years ago and can now admit to going along to Hampden to wave the team away. Only in Scotland could we give a team a lap of honour before the tournament!
Sadly it all went horribly wrong for McLeod and rather than return with the medal he promised us we returned with our tails between our legs.
The mantra following this humiliation was that we should never get carried away again and expectations had to be calibrated, or in other words lowered. We were never to dream ever again.
Subsequent Managers of the National team from the great Jock Stein through to the current incumbent have now become do debilitated that we have got to the stage we can’t think of attacking away from home.
Even guys who were welcomed into the manager’s role thanks to the work they had carried out at club level changed their natural styles and became victims of our media pack.
George Burley was almost seen as the ideal man for the job after his exploits during his short time at Hearts but as soon as he got the Scotland job he became a crumbling wreck and lost any ideas of how to put a side on to the park. <
Even during the recent good years of Walter Smith and Alex McLeish the teams were put out not to lose and once again the lid was kept on our expectations and hopes.
The fans too have become a parody of themselves with the Tartan Army almost having given up hope of seeing their team win and therefore seeing their team in major finals. They now celebrate the worst performance as if we had actually won a tournament, the most recent example of this was the reaction to the 3-0 defeat in Sweden
I would like us to show some belief in our abilities and rather than going to Lithuania fearing what might happen walk in with a swagger that says we are good enough to win here and that’s what we are going to do.
Looking ahead to Tuesday it would now appear that just winning over Lichtenstein (141st in the World Rankings) will be acceptable. Whereas I believe we should be looking to win by as many goals as we can, and should not be embarrassed to say so….or am I just dreaming?