Craig Burley is the last Scot to score a goal at a major Finals.
His strike in Bordeaux gave Craig Brown’s side a point against Norway, but ultimately the Dark Blues’ campaign at France 98 was another failure.
Just over a year later, the midfielder was part of the side that came agonisingly close to defeating England in the Euro 2000 play-off, a win at Wembley not enough to overturn the earlier defeat at Hampden.
Now living on the outskirts of New York and working as a pundit for ESPN, Burley watches our game from afar, with a vested interest in the fortunes of the national side that goes beyond his patriotism.
Now 48, he would love nothing more than to see Steve Clarke take care of Israel, then overcome either Norway or Serbia away from home to reach next summer’s Euro Finals.
The current Scotland manager was a mentor when Burley was breaking into the Chelsea first-team as a kid in the early 1990s.
Burley witnessed firsthand the determination Clarke possesses and is the first to admit there were times he didn’t perform to the required standard for the Blues.
And if he looked for a shoulder to cry on in his fellow Ayrshireman, that was never forthcoming.
Indeed, Clarke was more likely to offer a blunt appraisal.
That didn’t bother Burley. He was also the kind of guy who wanted to hear the cold, hard facts, and know exactly where he stood.
He hopes that four months from now, the Scotland manager’s position will be crystal clear and that he will be a national hero, having guided the nation to their first major tournament in 22 years.
Burley, capped 46 times, told The Sunday Post: “I thought it was a big call for Steve to take the Scotland job.
“He had worked wonders with Kilmarnock and taken the club as far as he could.
“He could have waited and got a really good job in England.
“But when his country came calling, he decided he wanted to do his bit.
“I’m happy for him that he is through the first phase of the job, and finished off the group stage with three wins on the spin.
“That sets it all up nicely for the game against Israel.
“Let’s deal with that one first before we think about analysing the challenges that may await in Norway or Serbia.
“However, I have to say we have been given a free hit at this because of the Nations League.
“We may never get a better chance to qualify. Failing at this final hurdle is something none of us should want to contemplate.
“I’d be delighted for Stevie and the players and the supporters if they get the business done on March.
“Stevie is a really good guy and I have a lot of respect for him.
“I’ve known him since I was a teenager at Chelsea, and we played in many games together.
“The manager, Glenn Hoddle, liked to play a diamond formation, and I’d be on the right-hand side of it. Steve was the right full-back.
“He had good pace and lots of energy. He would bomb past me, expecting me to slip him in to deliver a cross into the box.
“But I liked to have a pop at goal and would often come inside, on to my left foot, to shoot.
“As he ran back into position, he’d give me pelters for not putting him in. He didn’t like it when I gave him a custard pie!
“He was good for me, though. And he told me the truth too.
“I remember having an absolute nightmare of a game one Saturday, and my head was down in the dressing room at full-time.
“Stevie came over, looked at me, and I was waiting for words of comfort and encouragement.
“But he told me to go home, take two paracetamol and draw the curtains! Then he walked out the dressing room!
“We have kept in touch, and he has phoned me once or twice when he was in club management to ask about players playing in the States.
“He was on looking for a bargain or two, and a few of his jobs have been about fire-fighting and working with a really limited budget.
“I suppose Scotland can be viewed that way, in terms of international football.
“So for him to get the country to a major Finals would be a brilliant achievement. I’ll be cheering him on, for sure.”
The decision by UEFA to expand the Euros from 16 to 24 nations doesn’t sit too well with Burley.
But he understands it gives a nation such as ours a better chance of qualification.
He said: “The Nations League is good because it gives an edge to games and makes them competitive.
“It’s much better than some of the friendlies that used to take place. Honestly, what a waste of time they were.
“But putting in eight extra countries does dilute the quality. It allows more mediocrity into the tournament and that doesn’t sit too comfortably with me.
“That is not Scotland’s fault, of course.
“So I will put that to one side because it has given Scotland a back-door opportunity, a free hit to be at a major Finals again.
“If we can’t do it this time, then we really could be in trouble.
“That is looking at the worst-case scenario. For now, we have to be positive and believe it can happen.
“I was part of the last group to be involved when we played in 1998. I also lost the play-off in Euro 2000, so I know how cruel the system can be.
“It’s hurts you badly as a player, cuts really deeply.
“I would never have imagined it would have led to us being more than 20 years away from the big time.
“What has happened? It’s been quite frightening.
“But we have a group of players now who appear to be a hard-working lot, and we have talent spread around the group.
“Yes, we are two or three bits of quality away from where we’d like to be, but we need to get on with it.
“We just have to hope that all of the players can peak during that play-off period in March. It’s a simple as that.
“We will need every single one of them, and the manager, to be at their very best, especially if we get to the last game away from home.
“If we have Andy Robertson, Stevie Naismith, John McGinn, James Forrest and the rest all right on it, then we will have a great chance.
“As we all know, some of the games in next summer’s Finals will be played at Hampden.
“We will also be in England’s group if we get through the play-offs. That kind of thing will take care of itself.
“But, first things first. Let’s focus on the job in hand.
“There is nothing to be gained at this stage by looking too far ahead.”