After watching Scotland play Poland, I found myself feeling more confident than ever that we will qualify for the World Cup Finals.
It ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw, but the performance deserved so much more. We attacked with purpose, and defended with everything.
Poland are a good side, but they didn’t deserve to leave Hampden undefeated.
Let’s be honest, their equaliser in the closing seconds was never a penalty-kick. There was no contact between Craig Gordon and Krzysztof Piatek, and if Grant Hanley touched the Pole, contact was minimal.
It denied us a seventh consecutive win, but there was much to be pleased about.
Scotland performed with a lovely flow to their play. There was a real confidence about the players, and that was lovely to see.
In fact, there was almost a wee bit of a swagger, and I like that.
It wasn’t arrogance or over-confidence, but they played as though they deserve to be on the big stage in Qatar. And they do.
John McGinn stepped in to replace Andy Robertson as skipper, and the Aston Villa midfielder led the team well.
In beside him, Billy Gilmour and Callum McGregor were solid and creative. Gilmour also had a brilliant clearance off the line.
Che Adams, once again, looked good up front. Nathan Patterson and Greg Taylor showed what they were all about down the flanks.
Kieran Tierney was his usual superb self, and he scored his first-ever goal for Scotland with a lovely header.
We now go to Vienna for Tuesday’s game in good spirits. It’s a friendly, but it will be important and everyone will want to keep the unbeaten run going.
We are still waiting to see when we will play Ukraine for the right to play in the Play-off Final, where Wales are waiting.
They deserved their 2-1 win against Austria, and Gareth Bale’s two goals were stunning.
But our focus remains on Ukraine. We can’t get carried away and look too far ahead.
FIFA and UEFA need to set a date for the game, a difficult task given what continues to happen in Ukraine.
First and foremost, everyone has total sympathy for the Ukrainians’ plight. Of that there is no doubt.
When the game does get played, we know we will have a full house. Almost 40,000 turned up at Hampden last Thursday, and that will have raised the best part of £400,000 for UNICEF to help the children of Ukraine.
The Tartan Army is desperate for the World Cup Play-offs to get under way because they believe we can get to Qatar.
I share their vision.
Part of that confidence stems from the togetherness there is from the stands, on to the park, and into the technical area.
The fans and the players are bouncing off each other in a really positive way.
Steve Clarke and his staff are feeding off that energy, too, and it really is great to see.
It just goes to show what can be achieved when everyone is together. It gives you a much better chance of success.
Sure, it doesn’t guarantee you anything, but it certainly doesn’t do any harm.
I’m sure Rangers would love to have that harmony on and off the park right now.
It’s been quite a week at Ibrox, starting with the demonstrations at Dens Park, then on to the statements and arguments between the board and some of the club’s fan groups.
It has not been very pleasant.
The situation looks as though it could run and run for a while, but they all need to find a way to call a truce, and park their differences until the end of the season.
Fans have every right to be heard, and their opinions should always be taken into account.
But the football team is into the last seven league games of the season, in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, and the last eight of the Europa League.
It’s going to be an exciting end to the campaign, and Rangers are in the running for three trophies.
The focus should be on that, and everyone should be 100% behind Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his players.
The team is still doing very, very well. But if the arguing between the board and the fans continues, it could very well bite, and cause damage to what happens on the pitch.
As soon as possible, everyone connected with the Ibrox club needs to start showing togetherness.
We know that part of the problem is the agreement to go to Australia to play Celtic in November.
There could be a financial penalty if Rangers pull out, but Dave King has made an offer to cover any costs, and that could run into millions of pounds. It’s up to the Rangers board if they want to accept that offer or not.
One way or another, an interesting two months lie ahead at Ibrox.
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