Scotland defender Kieran Tierney hopes his side can emerge stronger after their first major tournament outing in 23 years ended with their exit from Euro 2020.
The Scots needed a victory over Croatia to progress to the last 16 of the competition, but fell to a 3-1 defeat to their opponents at Hampden Park.
Having secured a spirited 0-0 draw against England at Wembley on Friday, which followed a 2-0 loss to Czech Republic, Tierney hopes the experience can prepare Steve Clarke’s men for a successful future.
Arsenal player Tierney said: “That’s the aim. That’s what the manager said and that’s the message he wanted to get across – that it’s not the end for this group of boys and this squad.
“It’s just the beginning of us qualifying for tournaments more and more and giving the fans more to celebrate and cheer for and I’m sure the boys will give absolutely everything to make the fans and the manager proud in the future.”
Reflecting on Scotland’s experience of Euro 2020, Tierney is proud of how his side acquitted themselves but he feels there is plenty for he and his team-mates to learn from.
The 24-year-old added: “I think we’d have liked to get off to a better start and it was an uphill battle from that first game.
“But we can hold our heads up high with the effort and the commitment. We played against three amazing teams who have been in tournament football a lot more than us and have a lot more experience of games like tonight’s. I think that showed.
“We will learn, for sure. It was a big learning curve for us all. Croatia had been there before, plenty of times, and with the quality they’ve got it showed and we just have to learn from stuff like that because the way they played made it hard for us to get going.”
Tierney was disappointed not to reward the Tartan Army, who gave the team a warm reception at full-time despite the disappointing outcome.
Former Celtic player Tierney added: “I think that shows we were all in it together, both on the night and throughout the tournament. It was just hard not to do it on the night.
“The support has been fantastic, we’re all very grateful for that. We did our best to make the fans proud but it wasn’t to be.”