There seems to be a fair bit of pessimism flying about after the Scotland double-header.
I don’t share it.
Just look at Nations League games across the board.
How many countries were on top form? Not many. Certainly not the home nations.
The truth is, players are still building up their match fitness, with the English-based guys nowhere near 100% yet.
And the no fans factor definitely affects international football, which is often played at a slower pace at the best of times.
Nobody in the Scotland camp will come out and say it but these were glorified friendlies.
It was the right time to try a new system and that’s what Steve Clarke did.
In these circumstances, if you can come out of an international break with a couple of big positives then that’s pretty good in my eyes.
As well as topping their group with a draw and a win and extending an unbeaten run to five, Scotland now have a proper number nine in Lyndon Dykes and a goalkeeper in David Marshall who has ended the discussion about who should be first choice.
I said before the game that Marshy is exactly the right man for the job and he proved it in the Czech Republic.
And Dykes looks to be a real find.
The goal he scored on Monday night was from exactly the sort of run you want your centre-forward to make and his hold-up play over the two games was excellent.
It’s up to the attacking midfielders to get close to him and, when we raise the tempo in the play-off match against Israel, I think that will happen.
I also think that Clarke will be contemplating playing another striker up top with Dykes.
He’s such a strong player and that link-up play I was talking about would be perfect for the likes of Leigh Griffiths, Steven Naismith, Oli McBurnie and Lawrence Shankland.
All four of those lads will want to prove over the next few weeks that they deserve the opportunity.
Griffiths would be my first choice but he needs at least two competitive matches to be considered, I feel.
Naismith will be lacking game-time as well, while McBurnie is coming back from injury.
What a chance for Shankland.
Hopefully he’ll be back on the pitch for Dundee United at Ibrox on Saturday and there couldn’t be a better time for him to rediscover his goalscoring form.
* I know it’s still a long way from where we want to get to but the return of some fans to two top flight games at the weekend is a big step in the right direction.
Bit by bit the number of supporters being let into grounds will increase hopefully.
With an Arbroath hat on, by the time our season kicks off, the crowds might not be too far off what we would have expected in normal times.
* The manager’s plans for the new season are coming along nicely with two boys from Aberdeen, Miko Virtanen and Michael Ruth signing up on loan.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Michael has to offer and I already know that Miko will be brilliant at this level.
I’m slightly surprised that Aberdeen have let him come back but it’s a sign of how much he came on last season.
I can definitely see Miko playing in the Premiership in the future.