Gothenburg Great Andy Watson today insisted Scotland can end a two-decade finals wait by reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The 56-year-old former Dons midfielder has joined national boss Gordon Strachan’s coaching team as replacement for Stuart McCall, now boss at Bradford.
Watson met up with the Scotland squad for the first time this week ahead of tomorrow’s Group F qualifying opener against Malta at the Ta’Qali National Stadium.
He said: “Scotland were not far away in the last campaign and we need to take confidence from that and move forward.
“We know that this time we can be a threat in the group.
“We’ve got a good chance of qualification and the challenge for us is to play well and be competitive in every game.”
Watson was assistant to Alex McLeish during the Euro 2008 bid when the Scots failed to qualify for the finals despite beating France home and away.
“The campaign for Euro 2008 was great but a bit like Scotland’s last campaign, we came so close,” said Watson.
“It was really hard to take with just one result against Georgia really hurting us.
“Beating France gave everyone such a lift but unfortunately we couldn’t finish the job.”
Watson was on the bench in Gothenburg when the Dons beat Real Madrid 2-1 to lift the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983.
Scotland boss Strachan and assistant Mark McGhee both started in that Euro final win.
Watson will be beside his former Pittodrie team-mates tomorrow when the Scots kick off the qualifying campaign against the Group F minnows.
Ranked a lowly 176th in the world, Malta have just one win from the last four qualifying campaigns.
Watson was most recently at Northern Premier Division side Ilkeston FC, coaching under Strachan’s son Gavin. He said: “To be involved with your national side is a great honour and to be able to contribute and be among really good people is incredibly special.
“Since my last involvement with the national team I’ve been at Birmingham City, winning the Carling Cup.”