Scotland has celebrated the Wembley Wizards. Now it’s time to honour the Wembley Warriors.
A nation had pleaded for modern day heroes to announce themselves and Steve Clarke ’s players responded to a man to keep our dream of qualifying for the Euro 2020 latter stages alive.
Honestly, last night was one of those performances that make you feel 10 feet tall as a Scotsman.
It’s actually a travesty we didn’t take all three points because we deserved them.
While I say every one of the players was a warrior when it mattered it was a performance full of quality as well.
Make no mistake, Scotland were on the same level as England on their own turf in every aspect. In fact, we were better in a lot of them.
People will say England didn’t perform but that’s because Scotland didn’t let them perform.
I should have been celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary. Instead I was glued to the couch.
Okay, I spent the vast majority of the game on my feet kicking every ball, willing on the boys in navy blue and I am as proud as punch of every one of them.
We might not have won. But for guts, guile and get-right-in-about-them graft this was worthy of so much more than three points.
Then there was Billy Gilmour. What can I say about him?
The best way to sum his performance up is that the 20-year-old can’t come out the side now.
He is just a classy, classy operator. I love watching him and he is on a different level. He was the best player on the park on his debut.
The stage was set for him and Billy showed everybody what he is all about.
I hear people say he is going to be a top player. Well he is already a top player.
Despite it being a massive occasion I was comfortable watching it because I trusted the team and the key to that was that young man in the middle of the park who was keeping it simple, ticking over and dictating the tempo.
Beside him I thought Callum McGregor was excellent too after missing out against the Czechs. They all were.
Clarke must be bursting with pride after that.
His players shook off the hangover from the Czech defeat and showed their class on the biggest stage.
They came in for criticism after that opening defeat, much of it over the top,- but four days later they proved how good a team they were in the lions’ den of Wembley.
Look at Stephen O’Donnell. He came in for major criticism. Again OTT. I was one who said maybe it was time for Nathan Patterson to come in.
But I trust Clarke and when he named the team I trusted it was a group of players that would get a result for us.
O’Donnell was outstanding and hardly put a foot wrong.
Inside him Grant Hanley was absolutely immense at centre-half. In the last two games he has been a man mountain at the back and is looking like a key man for us now.
The defence was rock solid and I mean the whole team.
When they needed to they defended their box like their lives depended on it, throwing
themselves in front of everything and putting their heads in where it hurt when it mattered.
Look at that pile on right on our six yard box in injury time.
I broke out in a cold sweat watching that and the world seemed to slow to almost a stop before John McGinn appeared out of nowhere to smash the ball clear.
When they needed to put their bodies on the line they did that.
Defensively they were on point. Majorly disciplined. Going forward they were every bit as brave and could easily have won with the chances created.
England’s side are known as the Golden Generation but this was a platinum performance from Clarke’s men. We kept their big game players quiet and when we got the chance we played some brilliant stuff.
To see Phil Foden and Harry Kane snuffed out and substituted in the second half proves how good a performance this was.
I was really comfortable watching it because I trust these players and it’s not always been the case that you could say that about a Scotland team.
We have very, very good players and work to a really good structure. Apart from five minutes after half-time and that horrible moment right in front of David Marshall in injury time, I was really comfortable watching it. I just wish we’d got the winner we deserved.
In saying that I’ll be nervous on Tuesday. We need to win, nothing else will do.
These guys deserve a break and to make history.
Croatia have one of the best players on the planet in Luca Modric and if we keep him quiet we have a real opportunity.
But Scotland have to take real confidence from Wembley and go and take the game to Croatia.
Go for them at Hampden. I think we can do it. Actually I know we can do it.
I’m totally convinced that history beckons.