This should really be my old boy in the corner of the pub moment, shouldn’t it?
The lull in the conversation when I tell you what it was like to have been in the press box at Hampden that night in 1973 when big Joe Jordan scored the goal against the country formerly known as Czechoslovakia.
The one that took us to the World Cup finals in Germany in 1974 and ended a 16-year exile from major international tournaments.
And how it felt to have been in the press tribune, as the French know it, inside the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne a quarter of a century later.
The night of June 23, 1998, when Morocco beat us 3-0 in the World Cup and sent us homeward to think again.
For the next 23 years.
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I should really go the full Methuselah about the years in between those two bookend moments.
We came. We saw. We got blootered.
But I’ll resist the temptation, if it’s all the same to you, out of respect for Steve Clarke and his players.
Nostalgia is a form of self-indulgence. It doesn’t get you anywhere, backwards or forwards.
Recounting all those nights we ended up upside down in the pot plants after going on the razzle following a Scotland game in foreign parts?
It sounds like you’re looking for some sort of commendation for having lived this long. A campaign medal at the very least.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than grateful for having a pulse, but I want that pulse to be quickened by the Scotland team playing the now politically-reconstructed Czech Republic tomorrow,
Because this is all about tomorrow, not yesteryear.
I loved the fact that Rangers’ Nathan Patterson made his Scotland debut against Luxembourg last Sunday then gave a post-match interview in which he delivered a highly complimentary assessment of his own cameo performance.
That wasn’t arrogance, to my way of thinking. That was someone speaking with the certainty of youth.
I loved the way Billy Gilmour came on in the same match and immediately looked the best man on the pitch, causing everyone to speak once again about his vision.
But you’d be suffering from limited vision yourself, obscuring the big picture, if you didn’t see what Gilmour’s all about.
He had the teenage smarts to see beyond his localised horizons and appreciate he’d be better off going for the life-changing chance of making it at Chelsea rather than waiting to see how an apprenticeship at Ibrox might work out.
He had the certainty of youth about him as well.
I love the fact the vast majority of Clarke’s players were pre-natal, pre-school or pre-age of reason when Scotland last played in a major international tournament.
That was in the past. And in the past it must remain.
This is their honour. This is their responsibility. This is their burden to carry.
This is their time.
And it has nothing to do with anybody else who can’t materially influence the outcome of three group-stage matches at Euro 2020, which will determine whether or not we conform to our own history and depart the competition prematurely.
Or confound our past and boldly go where no Scottish team has gone before.
It’s a dangerous business telling a four-belt world boxing champion like Josh Taylor he’s being presumptuous but, seconds out, here we go.
Taylor publicly put himself forward for an appearance in the Scotland dressing room at Wembley on Friday in order to give a motivational speech to the team about to face England. The manager’s the first man to take Scotland to a major final in 23 years, and from a starting point that was troubled.
Otherwise the SFA wouldn’t have been looking for a new manager in the first place.
Clarke has lost only two of his last 16 matches into the bargain.
He seems perfectly articulate in the ways of motivational oratory to me.
So, no old boy in the corner of the pub routine from me.
This is no country for old men to be rabbiting on about all our yesterdays.
Big Joe won’t head them in at one end if we need a goal.
And Big Eck won’t head them away at the other end of the park if we’re in trouble.
This is our Carpe Diem moment.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term it means seize the day. And I mean the day that dawns tomorrow. Not that time back in the day.