Jim McInally recalls being given the runaround by Belgium on his Scotland debut.
But he hopes the same won’t happen to the current crop of players to wear the dark blue when they face the top side in the Fifa rankings tonight in Brussels.
Back in April 1987 Andy Roxburgh’s team took on the Belgians in qualifying for Euro 88.
Peterhead manager McInally made his international debut in the 4-1 defeat at Anderlecht’s Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
Despite it being a strong Scots side containing Aberdeen’s Jim Leighton, Alex McLeish and Jim Bett as well as Roy Aitken, Paul McStay and Ally McCoist, Guy Thijs’ Belgium were too strong.
Former Stuggart, Standard Liege and Tottenham striker Nico Claesen hit a hat-trick with Frankie Vercauteren also netting.
McStay got Scotland’s counter and McInally said: “It was a magical occasion for me personally until after the game.
“Obviously it was a poor result and we had a really strong side that night.
“They had some terrific players at that time as well and I remember Nico Claesen was at the top of his game.
“There was another little guy, Franky Van der Elst, who was at the top of his game and both of them were world class.
“There were other players as well who were excellent.
“We were getting caught late on with sucker punches and the result obviously wasn’t what we wanted. But it was a brilliant occasion for me – the place was packed and it was a great atmosphere.”
Scotland failed to qualify for Euro 88, but McInally hopes things are different in this campaign under new boss Steve Clarke.
The former Killie gaffer started his tenure with Saturday’s 2-1 win against Cyprus, but this is a different challenge.
Former Dundee United midfielder McInally added: “Belgium have got great players – Eden Hazard is a proper superstar and Kevin De Bruyne is a different class.
“They are two of the best players in the world. You look through their team and there’s quality players everywhere.
“In the World Cup they finished third and nobody was surprised, and they could have won it.
“So it’s a massive task for Scotland because the last game between the sides at Hampden – albeit in a friendly – was men against boys. The one thing in Scotland’s favour is that we could be catching them at the right time.
“I’m a great believer in that because these guys have played their football and some of them will be looking for their holidays, so it could be the right time to play them.
“I’m sure everyone will know their jobs inside out and play in a certain shape because you’re guaranteed to get that with Steve Clarke.
“It will be interesting if he goes with two strikers like he did at Kilmarnock all the time.
“It would be interesting to see how he feels about that because if you play two strikers and they drop back in without the ball it’s always hard to play against.
“It would be good to see two strikers because in football now it’s too easy to go with one.
“At Kilmarnock he had two strikers who were both workers and made a difference – Eamonn Brophy does it brilliantly.”