It must seem inconceivable to the younger generation, but those older saw Scotland compete at World Cups in 1974, 78, 82, 86, 90 and 98. When I turned 35, the only tournaments Scotland had not reached in my lifetime happened when I was 3 and 27. Wales had never been there (still on a 64 year dry patch) and England missed out in 74, 78 and 94.
Back then, it meant something to me; today, I’m all about the Celtic. That nationalism thing has gone, Celtic is my nation and the only flag that represents me. If Scotland lose, it will not move the dial of my mood one degree.
If anything could come close to changing this, it’s a former Scotland captain wanting Ukraine to win at Hampden tonight in the ludicrous belief that would send a message to the Kremlin. A child-like belief that football support can impact a man who is prepared to kill thousands.
Still, the World Cup is always a great sporting event, the younger generation has been robbed of the meaningful interest many of us had, it is churlish for me to “humbug” at what I once enjoyed. There’s also Callum McGregor to think about. He would grace the tournament as the heartbeat of the Scotland side and deserves the chance to perform on the top international stage.
So for the younger generation, Callum, David Turnbull, Greg Taylor and Anthony Ralston, best of luck tonight. Just don’t ask me to stand for a blue flag.