IT wasn’t quite on a par with British and German troops jumping out of the trenches for a kickabout in no man’s land on Christmas Day back in 1914. But there was still something quite cheering about the temporary ceasefire that broke out on social media on Thursday night for some mutual backslapping following two terrific results for Scottish clubs in Europe.

A lot of that praise may have been offered through gritted teeth but there was the heartening sight of Celtic fans congratulating Rangers supporters for beating Porto, and the same in return after Neil Lennon’s men took care of Lazio. And even neutrals – not usually the Old Firm’s biggest fans – got involved, basking in the reflected glory and making excited noises about the surging Scottish coefficient.

It perhaps shows how starved we’ve been of positive football stories in recent years that just two Europa League group victories on the same night – against reputable sides if not exactly out of European football’s top drawer – can stir a nation into regaining a sense of pride once more.

There were people digging out calculators to work out the long-term ramifications of this upsurge and poring over the UEFA rankings with the sort of giddy enthusiasm usually reserved for gawping at a picture of a kitten in a baseball cap riding a skateboard.

It was all quite heart-warming. Granted, it would have been far more satisfying had the results arrived in the Champions League rather than its less relevant little brother. But after years of fearing that Scotland was being reduced to an after-thought on the European front then it was just nice to see two of our representatives making their mark once again.

Sustaining it, of course, is the hard bit. Celtic already have their last 32 tie to look forward to in the spring and may not see Europe as their priority in the last two group games with the job already done. Rangers have performed well in their group but still have a bit to do if they are to join Celtic in the knock-out phase.

Both are also entitled to look at Scotland’s other representatives and ask “any chance?” Kilmarnock’s first-round defeat by Connah’s Quay Nomads this summer could be partially blamed on Angelo Alessio having not long arrived in the door but it was just the latest in a long line of exits from Europe so premature that teams are heading home before the first golf ball has even been struck in The Open.

The European picture is forever evolving and the elite clubs will inevitably shape it in whatever format suits them, mostly likely some sort of continental league that eventually replaces domestic competitions in those countries.

With that prospect in mind – as well as the very real introduction of the third-tier Europa Conference League from 2021 – it is vital that Scottish clubs at least stay relevant. The carrot of a second Champions League qualifying berth is another source of motivation, even if the chances of making it all the way to the group stage are now slimmer than ever.

Still, the feel-good factor that those two wins produced again shows that – for all our frustration with our game’s decline over the decades – Scotland remains a football country at heart.

That ought to give Steve Clarke some reassurance as he heads into the latest double-header as the national team could certainly do with that sort of upsurge too.

There may be relatively little at stake in the matches against Cyprus and then Kazakhstan but it would be do wonders for the nation’s morale if Scotland could produce two positive performances and results to take into the play-off matches in March.

Club rivalries will ensure the communal love-in experienced on Thursday night won’t last for long. In fact, with the title race resuming this afternoon, you can be sure there will be sniping from both sides before the day is out.

With the national team, however, there is scope for a more enduring affair. Qualification for Euro 2020 would be a terrific place to start and you can only imagine the outpouring of euphoria that will unfold if Scotland finally makes it back to a major finals for the first time in 22 years. Goodness knows our football fans deserve to have something to cheer again.

And another thing

There was something in the unseemly rush with which both St Mirren and Rangers moved to deny it that told you there was more than a grain of truth in the prospect of Vaclav Hladky moving to Ibrox in the summer.

The goalkeeper has been an exceptional find by Saints’ technical director Gus MacPherson and deserves a move to a higher platform when his contract expires. The player’s wish is to progress his career in England – something most St Mirren fans would prefer too – but if he does end up at Rangers then it ought to be as Allan McGregor’s replacement rather than as his deputy.

McGregor will be 38-and-a-half by then and can’t go on forever. Hladky, meanwhile, is almost a decade younger with barely a flaw in his armoury. St Mirren keepers tend to be busier than most and it is hard to recall too an occasion when the Czech was at fault for the loss of a goal. Rangers – and others – could do a lot worse.