OF course, the first thing to acknowledge is jealousy. When Che Adams stroked that second goal home against Denmark on Monday night a little part of me – the little bit that’s a Northern Ireland fan, specifically – did wish I was a Scottish fan for the night.

It’s all very well holding the European champions to a goalless draw as Northern Ireland did on the same evening, but it’s not as good as ensuring a preferential place in the play-offs for next year’s World Cup finals.

Scotland fans know not to get too excited too soon, but there is no doubt this is a team that has improved vastly under Steve Clarke and has a chance of getting to the finals.

It’s just a pity that if/when they do so, they then have to play in Qatar.

What a prospect. Setting aside allegations of corruption surrounding the bidding process itself, next year’s summit of world football squats under the shadow of reports of the deaths of more than 6500 migrant workers during stadium construction, alongside claims of forced labour in the Gulf state which is home to just 2.6 million people and has a working population that is 95 per cent foreign.

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That back story will give any thinking football fan pause for thought. How does one feel about watching the game in a stadium in which men – some of them effectively slave labour, it would seem – died in the construction?

Speaking on 5 Live yesterday morning the former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said the decision to award the World Cup finals to Qatar was “a decision that has corrupted the soul of football.”

You might think that football’s soul was far from spotless before this, of course. Scotland fans of a certain vintage will recall the controversy surrounding the national team playing in Chile’s National Stadium in Santiago in 1977, the same stadium which had served as a de facto concentration camp in the wake of General Pinochet’s coup a few years earlier.

And a year later when Ally MacLeod’s Tartan Army travelled to Argentina to win the World Cup (best laid plans and all that …) they played in a country in which the ruling military junta were also murderously removing their opponents (human rights groups estimate that the Argentinian “disappeared” numbered somewhere in the region of 30,000 between 1976 and 1983).

During that World Cup the Junta did everything it could to exploit the event (and to ensure Argentina won).

In short, there is nothing new about sportswashing.

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The temptation for some football fans is to try to separate the game from the politics that surround them. But it never works. Sport is political at every level, from the anthem you sing to whether you take a knee “against discrimination, injustice and inequality” or not.

A boycott of next year’s World Cup seems unlikely. But if Scotland do qualify, there is a decision for the SFA to make. What are the optics of playing in Qatar? How does the team position itself?

Already Denmark, Germany, Norway and Netherlands have staged protests during the qualifying rounds. The Danes have already announced they will wear “human rights messages” on their training outfits during next year’s competition.

It’s a question that the SFA may not need to answer but if they do let’s hope it remembers the roasting they got last year for initially refusing to take the knee at Wembley. In sport, gestures do matter. It’s best to try to make the right ones.