Campbell Ogilvie, president of the Scottish Football Association, is invited to rate the performance in a World Cup qualifying campaign that started badly and could still end with the national team finishing bottom of Group A.
The recruitment of Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager after the devastating beginning to the group has sparked a recovery with victories in Croatia and Macedonia. The return match with Croatia at Hampden is next week and Ogilvie senses that the national team is on the right track. "I believe optimism has increased," he insisted. "You have seen results and you have seen the way the team's been playing. Gordon's certainly steadied the ship since he came in; started to get results. You can judge by the attitude of the supporters at recent away games. They certainly seem a bit more confident."
The challenge beyond Croatia is crucial for the football well-being of a nation. The qualification campaign for Euro 2016 has the opportunity to provide both funds for the association and balm for supporters who have not witnessed their team at major championships since 1998.
Ogilvie, though, believes firmly that Strachan is the man to lead any resurgence. "Gordon seems to have a more settled team, he seems to know the team he wants to put on the park and he has obviously made an impact since he came in with the away results in particular," he said.
"I'd say we're finishing higher than we were a few months ago when he took on the reins. And to be fair to Gordon, he came in at a difficult time with a limited number of games remaining."
Ogilvie has known Strachan for decades and has an appreciation of the values and attributes of the former Celtic manager. "He's very knowledgeable on the game, very experienced at the top level," he said. "Players relate to him and he's very astute tactically, having played and managed at the very highest level. There are some younger players coming through, it's a limited squad, but he's certainly got them working together. He certainly seems to have a very good atmosphere within the dressing room. Gordon's a very infectious character. He's very good, very bubbly. I certainly know the line not to cross, I don't cross into the football domain."
The draw for the Euros is in February and Scotland would be much the stronger on the back of a win and good performance against a strong Croatian team on Tuesday. "We're on a road just now, we're on a journey - and, hopefully, I believe, we're seeing positive signs of being on the right road," Ogilvie said.
The first destination needs to be France 2016.