Ryan Fraser celebrates the end of 23 years of hurt for Scotland thanks to Mitro
Ryan Fraser was three years old the last time Scotland won qualification for a major tournament.
After 23 years, the hurt is finally at an end for the Newcastle winger and the rest of our friends over the border.
It was the 1998 World Cup in France when Scotland last played at a major finals, losing 2-1 to Brazil, drawing 1-1 with Norway and losing 3-0 to Morocco.
Now Ryan Fraser and his teammates have group games against England, Croatia and the Czech Republic to look forward to in summer 2021, at the confusingly still named 2020 European Championships.
No surprise that Scotland didn’t do it the easy way, you can only imagine the agonies the likes of Ryan Fraser went through watching it from home, a hamstring injury preventing him taking part in Belgrade.
Scotland were the better team throughout in this all or nothing final play-off for a spot in the finals, Ryan Christie putting them ahead on 52 minutes.
Continuing to get the better chances, the Scots were then made to pay for missing them when Luka Jovic equalised in the last minute.
A nervous extra time followed and then the ultimate all or nothing, the game and a place in the finals decided on penalties.
All nine penalties scored until Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped up, an excellent save by David Marshall sending Scotland through via a 5-4 penalty win.
Watch the highlights below, the Mitro penalty is at 8.10 if you want to go straight to that.
What a moment for former Newcastle United number two Steve Clarke to get his country to these finals, with former NUFC number one and two, John Carver, also by his side! Carver having only recently joined the coaching set-up.
Steve Clarke’s men are now on their best run in 44 years, nine games unbeaten.
For the likes of Ryan Fraser and so many others this is a very special moment, as it is very likely the only chance he / they will have of playing at a major tournament for their country.
It shouldn’t do his performances for Newcastle United any harm either, as once he is back fit, he’ll be doing everything he can to be in that Scotland team next summer.
Wednesday 11 November
Belgium 2 Switzerland 1
A frustrating night for Fabian Schar as Switzerland took a first-half lead through Mehmedi and were the better team on the night, only to lose this friendly due to two second-half goals from Crystal Palace’s on-loan from Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi, Belgium’s only two shots on target all night.
Denmark 2 Sweden 0
Emil Krafth and the other English based players weren’t involved due to quarantine restrictions on travellers from Denmark arriving in UK.
Thursday 12 November
Serbia 1 Scotland 1 – Scotland win 5-4 on penalties
Ryan Fraser watching on from home with a hamstring injury, celebrating as Scotland qualify for finals of 2020 Euros to be played in summer 2021.
The first major tournament for them since the 1998 World Cup in France.
Northern Ireland v Slovakia
Argentina v Paraguay (Miguel Almiron) World Cup qualifier
England v Republic of Ireland (Jeff Hendrick) Friendly
Saturday 14 November
Sweden v Croatia (Emil Krafth) Nations League
Switzerland v Spain (Fabian Schar) Nations League (***Schar suspended for this game after sending off against Germany in same competition)
Sunday 15 November
Austria v Northern Ireland (Jamal Lewis) Nations League
Wales v Republic of Ireland (Jeff Hendrick) Nations League
Tuesday 17 November
France v Sweden (Emil Krafth) Nations League
Switzerland v Ukraine (Fabian Schar) Nations League
Paraguay v Bolivia (Miguel Almiron) World Cup qualifier (Time differences mean match doesn’t finish until into the early hours of Wednesday in terms of UK time)
Wednesday 18 November
Northern Ireland v Romania (Jamal Lewis) Nations League
Republic of Ireland v Bulgaria (Jeff Hendrick) Nations League
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