One short trip - but Scotland can make a giant leap in Dublin 

Scotland can take a big step in their recovery from World Cup pain by beating Ireland.

Nations League: One short trip for the Tartan Army – but Scotland can make a giant leap in Ireland SNS Group

The Tartan Army’s taken over Temple Bar – and the rest of Dublin- this weekend and it looks like they’re feeling no pain after World Cup disappointment.

That might just be the Guinness, but there’s certainly a positive feeling amongst them and belief that it’s not quite back to the drawing board for Steve Clarke’s squad.   

The Nations League represented a fresh start and, after a dominant display against Armenia, Scotland will run out at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday aiming to not only boost their own standing in the competition, but to effectively end Ireland’s hopes.

Anthony Ralston's goal helped Scotland get their Nations League campaign off to a strong start.SNS Group

The draw for the European Championship qualifiers is not until October; by then, Scotland will know if they are guaranteed the security blanket of a place in the play-offs via the Nations League.

And after making our way to last year’s Euros through this route, we know more than most that this tournament can’t be sniffed at.

Clarke will look to rotate his squad again during this demanding schedule and, after making six changes in midweek, it’s been proven that there’s depth in this squad.

Questions had been asked about Clarke’s favoured back three after Ukraine but, against Armenia, that formation paid dividends, with the players seemingly comfortable in their roles. The manager will believe he was right to stick to his guns.

The captain Andy Robertson also came in for some criticism after the play-off, admitting himself that he wasn’t at his best, but a much improved performance on Wednesday saw the manager (unprompted) talk up the contribution of a player who has had a tough month with club and country after a long and demanding season.

And in Anthony Ralston there’s another bright young option at right wing-back. He shone on his first international start, turning in a man-of-the-match performance and the battle between the Celtic star and Nathan Patterson is one all Scotland fans – and the manager – will relish.

Despite weather warnings, train issues and the post play-off gloom, the Tartan Army turned out in their numbers on Wednesday and the hardy travelling bunch will do the same again today.

They’ve been through much worse following their heroes and they hope this short trip can be an important step on a long journey. One that could see the World Cup pain put in the past, take us to Nations League promotion and a step closer to Euro 2024.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code