“Only our wee country could mess it up from here”. So said John McGinn in the aftermath of the routine swatting aside of Cyprus on Friday night. Except, you sensed that he didn’t really believe it.

That of course is the mentality that generations of Scotland teams have had to fight against. That there’s the easy way, the hard way, and the Scotland way. That when it comes to so-called ‘glorious’ failure, wha’s like us?

It suited McGinn to lean into that cliché a little after a win that leaves the Scots in what is now a surely unassailable position in their bid to qualify for the European Championships.

This Scotland team have won five matches out of five and are currently the top-seeded team in qualifying. McGinn did his post-match press duties with the air of a dog with two tails, but also no doubt with a stern warning from manager Steve Clarke to keep a lid on his excitement.

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You would have more chance of McGinn hitting out with the Hearts song or a wee chorus of the Blue Sea of Ibrox than you would have of him admitting that Scotland are home and hosed. He had to toe the party line.

As Clarke said himself after the game, that can make for a boring soundbite. Any journalist can vouch that their eyes reflexively roll back in their heads when a manager or player tells you that they are ‘taking it one game at a time’. But this is the mantra that the Scotland players adhere to religiously.

They focus only on the task in front of them, carry out their instructions to a tee, and then move on to the next challenge. It is an approach that may make for dry post-match copy, but it is also one that has allowed these players to make mincemeat out of the notion that Scotland are somehow ‘too wee’ to compete at the top level. If Croatia aren’t, then why should we be?

It seems that this group of players, and perhaps this generation as a whole, aren’t afflicted by the crippling fear of failure that had Scots of a certain vintage dreading the match on Friday evening. That feeling that things were almost going too well.

Having been burned before, the elder conscripts of the Tartan Army have that telltale thousand-yard stare when it comes to an away game against a pot five team who had yet to pick up a point in the section. Oh aye, that is exactly the type of match where we would come a cropper.

Except, we didn’t. And we never looked like doing so from Scott McTominay’s sixth-minute opener. Within half an hour, the Scots were three to the good and in cruise control. They played the second half like any pot one team would do when having a handy lead up their cuff against a weaker opponent: passing the ball around, killing the game and conserving energy.

It was all a little humdrum. Mundane. Boring, even. And a hugely refreshing change.

That is exactly what these Scotland players are too. A refreshing change from years of mediocrity in both ability and mindset. When Spain came calling to Hampden, there was no inferiority complex. When the chips were down in Oslo and time was ebbing away, they dug deep and found the answers. When a monsoon fell on Mount Florida to delay the game against Georgia, they kept their heads.

They have talent in spades, of course, which is why they are playing at a higher level over the piece than perhaps any other Scotland squad of the last thirty years or so. But they also have an elite level mentality, and none of the emotional baggage that so many have carried before them.

They (largely) were the ones who got the two-decade qualification monkey off the back in the first place, after all. Yes, they would have been disappointed with how the last Euros campaign turned out once they were there, and were devastated after missing out on the World Cup at the play-off stage.

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But they are using those setbacks in a positive manner, as fuel to fire them to Germany as they look to make amends, rather than allowing those setbacks to become albatrosses around their necks.

They don’t view trips to Cyprus or Georgia with trepidation. There are no pre-emptive excuses about the heat, the pitches, or there being no easy games at international level. As they showed in Larnaca, they simply go there and get the job done.

So, here’s to this new generation of Scotland players, who are dead set on healing old wounds rather than creating new scars. When it comes to the national side, failure is out. What this team have achieved so far in this section is simply glorious.

As he had the first word, I’ll also leave (just about) the last word to the man who will forever be known as ‘Super’ John McGinn, a man so talented he can even make that old stock quote of taking each game as it comes sing.

“We’ll let the fans get carried away,” he said. “We’ll let them drink Cyprus dry.

“We’ll go back to have our Summer Fruits, and we’ll prepare for Tuesday.”

All of Scotland will raise a glass of diluting juice to that, and to the men who have flipped the narrative around the national side.