I want to be angry at another Scotland failure. I want to say that we were mediocre; that we’ve been here before; that we could have got out of that group; that finishing fourth in it is actually a bit shaming.

Yet there was something in those three Scotland performances, wasn’t there?

Occasionally, our wretched record at major tournaments has been illuminated with brief moments when we looked like a right good team: against Denmark in 86; Holland in 78 and a game against Germany at Euro 92 in Sweden when we matched them for skill and fitness.

It could never be sustained though, mainly because our best performers were nearing the end of their careers or latterly because we had so few in England’s top division. The English Premiership asks the most searching questions of a player’s ability and makes the most sustained physical and mental demands of them. For much of the last two decades, very few Scottish players have been considered good enough for it. In recent years though, Scottish names have begun to pepper the team line-ups.

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