SFA president Alan McRae wants to get the Tartan Army flocking back to Hampden – but admits good results are the only way that will happen.
Scotland will head into 2019 buoyed by winning Uefa Nations League C Group 1, the first step on the road to qualification for the 2020 European Championships.
That success has secured at worst a play-off in the bid to end a 20-year drought without the national side reaching a major tournament.
In the new year the Dark Blues will tackle qualifying Group I containing Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino.
McRae hopes for these matches the Tartan Army can roar the team on to qualification.
However, recent crowds at Hampden have been disappointing with just over 21,000 at the national stadium for the Nations League clash with Israel and only 17,000 watching the Group C1 opener against Albania.
There a number of factors behind the attendances, one of which being international matches spread over a week resulting in unfavourable kick-offs at 7.45pm on Monday or Tuesday nights.
In 2019, McRae hopes good results from Alex McLeish’s team can get Hampden full again.
He said: “I can understand fully that for the fans the last few years have been a disappointment.
“We have just come up a bit short in the Euro 2016 qualifiers and the World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
“We weren’t far away but we just came up short.
“Gordon Strachan had done well and we were close – but now we have the chance to take the next step and qualify.This is going to be an exciting campaign and once you start winning, the confidence goes into everyone.
“Whether that is players, the manager and coaching staff, officials or the fans, it goes to everyone. That’s what we have to get back – we have to get the fans onside.
“It will be difficult. First of all you have the week of international football.
“You can be playing on a Monday night, or a Sunday night or a Thursday night and the kick-off times can be 6pm or 8pm, so it’s sometimes not in people’s best interests to be trailing down to Hampden on a Sunday night.
“But that’s what we have got to work with, there are problems with the timing of fixtures and with them being on television as well which makes people less likely to go.
“But if we can get back to winning games the fans will come back – it might just take for us to get through this group to get them back. If you can win your home games you end up with great backing with the fans behind you.”
McRae describes the Nations League group victory as a “little step” towards qualifying for the Euros in 2020.
He hopes Gothenburg Great McLeish can deliver qualification without needing the play-off.
The president knows it won’t be easy to finish in the top two in Group I to reach the Euros.
In Belgium, Scotland face the No 1 ranked side in the world, while Russia reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in the summer.
With games at the 2020 tournament set to be staged at Hampden, the Scots have another incentive to qualify and McRae hopes they can deliver.
He added: “Winning that group was a little step – but the important thing is that it is a step for us and going forward it can become a big step depending on how we do in the main qualifying group.
“We are confident, the manager is confident and the players are confident.”
TOMORROW: McRae’s delight at young players’ showings in dark blue of Scotland