Scotland has waited 23 years to reach a major finals but we won’t have to wait as long for the next one.
I don’t have a half-pint full view on this, I have a three-quarters of a pint outlook.
Yes there is huge disappointment at how it all ended and there are things we need to work on to get it right next time.
But there is also so much to be positive about going forward.
If you look around our dressing room you will see a hungry squad full of talented young players who all have a taste for tournament football.
Scotland squad has the time and talent to make it to another major finals
Our best players are all playing at the highest level of English football and are all in their mid-20s or below.
Andy Robertson, John McGinn, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay all have time and talent on their side and will be around for the next few major tournaments.
You’ve got Billy Gilmour, who at 20 is going to be a superstar, Nathan Patterson and David Turnbull who are the future of our team.
At Euro 2020 we didn’t score enough goals and conceded too many. Ultimately, we fell short.
But let’s not hang our players out to dry or begin the big inquest.
Small mistakes led to early Euro 2020 exit
At Wembley our team was absolutely outstanding. We stopped England playing all night and we made them worry about what we could do.
We didn’t reach those levels against Croatia and, on the night, made a couple of key mistakes that killed us.
It’s a basic for me but we never had anyone on our posts at the opening goal.
At Arbroath, we drill it into our players to cover the posts. We are religious about it.
The third goal was a bad one to lose and the second was an exceptional strike from Luka Modric.
We witnessed a midfield masterclass from Luka Modric
Croatia are not a one-man team but, my god, is that man talented.
Forget about all the talk about this being an ageing side. Modric is like a fine walt whisky, he gets better and better with age.
Everything went through him and the ball retention of the Croatians was phenomenal.
His strike with the outside of his boot will be one of the top three goals of the tournament.
We’ve lost five goals and two of them have been absolute ‘worldies’ if you think back to that goal scored by Patrik Schick in the first game.
🗣 "It's one of the best goals you can see in a big tournament."
Here's what Petr Cech thought about Patrik Schick's goal against Scotland…
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) June 18, 2021
A goalscorer like Leigh Griffiths could make the world of difference
That’s what you get from world-class finishers and, sadly, we haven’t been able to convert our chances.
Against the Czech Republic Che Adams came off the bench and was outstanding. I’m hoping the more he plays, the more he’ll score.
You also wonder what a fully-fit and focused Leigh Griffiths would have done.
🏴Leigh Griffiths vs England (2017) pic.twitter.com/TJe2mkTo9V
— Scotland Goals (@ScotlandNTGoals) June 17, 2021
I’ve had the pleasure of playing with and against Leigh and he’s a natural goalscorer.
As a professional footballer you have to make sure you stay fit. If Leigh can do that then we have a very talented player to come in.
Stay positive, look ahead and the next tournament may not be that far away. Then maybe, just maybe, we can take it to the next level by reaching the knock-out round.
I’m absolutely delighted for Charlie that he won the Championship Player of the Year.
Everyone can see that he’s a very naturally-gifted footballer but the hunger and desire he has shown since coming back up the road to Dundee is infectious.
You can tell he’s really enjoying playing for the team he supported as a boy and is willing to impart his vast knowledge of the game onto younger players at Dundee to help them reach the next level.
Football is back
It’s been great to be back and I’m looking forward to the next couple of games with Arbroath – including Saturday’s derby at Montrose.
Having supporters back at games will be a massive boost.
There is light at the end of the long tunnel. We’ve missed the fans so much and it will be great to see them back.