Scottish football fans were doubtful about UEFA's Nations League and its chances to breathe life into the dull international break. But they were wrong. Scotland's Nations League campaign started without much ado, but as the team notched one good performance after another fans started paying attention. By the time Scotland's last two matches against Albania and Israel finished all was different.
Scotland's success means that from the season2020-2021 they will compete in Nations League B, together with strong opponents such as World Cup finalists Croatia and serial World Cup winners Germany. More importantly however, the Scottish national team will now have a chance to book its place at Euro 2020.
Playing at Euros and World Cups is what matters to players, especially to those youngsters watching at home, as this is a great source of inspiration for them to continue improving. Scotland are never the bookies favourite. Playing in qualifiers all the time, as Scotland did for so long, is like going to an ordinary casino, it soon gets pointless and boring. However, playing with the best and at the biggest stage is a whole different ball game.
New and Improved Scotland
Scottish FA officials were inspired by the German national youth strategy for football when they were making the draft version of their plan to revolutionize Scottish football back in 2010. The Germans looked over the reasons for their failing national squad back in the early 2000s and devised a strategy which later helped them to win a World Cup with players who benefited from that national strategy directly.
Something similar is happening in Scottish football right now. With the Scottish FA's Performance Strategy and the "New Scotland Way" the basis for Scotland's return to the big tournaments has been set.
Young players such as Billy Gilmour, who already signed a professional contract with Chelsea, together with the likes of Kieran Freeman of Southampton, Harry Cochrane, Dean Campbell, and Anthony McDonald will soon join forces with an already strong Scotland main squad.
Squad for the Future
The fact that there were only two players who can be considered as veterans in the side which defeated Israel on the last day of the Nations League, reaffirms this notion that those five Scottish youngsters will join a squad which will be in its zenith when the time comes.
This means that, should Scotland make it to Euro 2020, its core will be made up of players such as Robertson, Christie, Fraser, Armstrong, McKenna, and Bates who will then be in their prime, while the youngsters will be knocking on the first team door and may even play a role if they progress as planned.
This gives even more weight to this year's Nations League success as it will serve as further incentive for Scottish youngsters to keep on improving, knowing that they have a chance to play in big international tournaments.