Midfielder Ryan Jack insists Euro 2020 qualification is only the start of Scotland’s rise under Steve Clarke.
Jack is confident that under the guidance of national boss Clarke the Scots will qualify for more major tournaments.
Former Aberdeen captain Jack, now at Rangers, has vowed to back up the historic Euro qualification by tonight winning the Nations League group.
Scotland will tonight face Israel away in the final Group B2 4 fixture.
Victory would ensure the Scots top their section to secure promotion to League A and a shot at Europe’s big hitting nations.
Winning the group would also open up a potential play-off route to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar if needed.
Next up for Steve Clarke's #EURO2020-bound side: Israel in Netanya on Wednesday night.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 15, 2020
Jack, 28, said: “We are trying to go on a journey and qualifying for a major competition is just the start.
“Going forward, there are going to be more competitions and more big games coming our way.
“So, this is the start.
“We don’t just want to sit back after the Euro qualification and think: ‘We’re the players who’ve done it for the first time in 22 years, that’s it now.’
“We want to be a squad that makes a real statement going forward – make it clear that there’s a lot more to come than just one major tournament.
“Now we have the game against Israel which is huge.”
Scotland overcame Israel last month in a thrilling penalty shoot-out in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final at Hampden to set up the clash in Belgrade last Thursday.
Jack continued: “We said if we won the game against Slovakia on Sunday or got a point it would really help us.
“We never managed to and now we’ll go and do it the hard way as we always do.
“It’s going to be a really tough game.
“You’ll have seen that from the results and the way the games have went when we’ve played Israel.
“It’s always been tit-for-tat in the games against Israel, so I’m sure it’ll be another close one.
“We’re expecting one of the toughest games we’ve had as a group, but I’m sure if we stick together we’ll get over the line.
“It’s massive for us to win this group and have that extra play-off chance.
“We want to start building some momentum again.”
A product of the Pittodrie youth system, Aberdonian Jack is set to earn his 10th cap tonight, but admits it is only under Clarke that he has finally began to feel an integral part of the Scotland international set-up.
He said: “When the manager got the job, we had a conversation and he made me feel a part of the Scotland set-up straightaway.
“That was massive for me.
“I think with the international scene, if I’m being honest, I’ve not really had that before, where I felt right involved and a part of the plans.
“So that side of it really helped me.”
Jack started the historic Euro 2020 play-off final in Serbia, where the Scots triumphed 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out to secure qualification to a tournament for the first time in 22 years.
Joyous celebrations of the squad partying late into the night after that memorable win went viral on social media.
Jack said: “What a night, it was fantastic! The scenes after the match will live with me forever.
“It’s a night I’ll never forget and I’m sure all of the lads would echo that.
“We obviously knew as a group there was a lot of pressure going into the game.
“We’d spoken about it before that this was going to be the big one.
“But for us, it was more just another game.
“We enjoyed our night to say the least, let’s just say that!
“It was well deserved and no one can take that away from us – we deserved to go and have a good night, which we did.
“But, it’s gone now, and after that the full focus has to be on the matches moving forward, with Israel the next one.”
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 13, 2020
Despite the enormity of the play-off final in Serbia last week, Jack insists manager Clarke successfully alleviated a lot of the pressure in the build-up by the pre-match routine.
It will be similar for tonight in Israel as just six days after that momentous win the Scots again face a match with much at stake.
Jack said: “We obviously knew as a group there was a lot of pressure going into the game against Serbia.
“We’d spoken about it before that it was going to be the big one.
“But, for us, it was just another game.
“The manager tried to do as much as possible to make it feel that way.
“We did what we usually do now, train back home and fly in the day before, go to the hotel, stay overnight.
“It was more of just the same as we’ve been doing and it had that feeling about it which helped us.”
Jack played for the entire 120 minutes in Serbia, but dropped to the bench for the 1-0 Nations League loss in Slovakia.
One of eight changes made by Clarke against Slovakia, Jack hopes to return to the starting line-up tonight, although he recognises there is fierce competition for places.
That is a challenge he relishes.
On the competition for places in midfield, he said: “It’s brilliant.
“It’s a big part of the success that you have to have strong players all over the place.
“The other night it was eight changes against Slovakia and, although we lost, I didn’t think we played poorly at all.
“We had enough chances to win.
“It shows how strong the squad is and going forward we’re going to need that, as we’re going to have big games.”
Former Aberdeen team-mate Andy Considine, 33, has broken into the squad under Clarke and made his third start against Slovakia on Sunday.
Jack said: “For Andy to step in at short notice and do as well as he’s done, it’s not really a surprise as I’ve seen it first hand at club level.
“I’m delighted for him and he’s a part of the squad now.
“He’s been welcomed in with open arms.”