Uefa should be commended for their innovation which opened up a route for Steve Clarke to revitalise Scotland.
The introduction of the Nations League has allowed Scotland to end 22 years of qualification misery.
Should the Scots defeat Israel tonight, it will also open up a potential second route to World Cup qualification – should they need it.
It has been confirmed Scotland will be in Pot 3 for the World Cup draw in December.
The rewards of victory in Israel tonight are many and long reaching.
Scotland will also earn promotion to League A where they will rub shoulders with Europe’ elite in competitive matches.
Promotion to League A would also greatly increase our chances of securing a play-off spot for Euro 2026 – again, should they need it.
For example – in the 2018-19 Nations League, Iceland finished rock bottom of their League A group with no points, having scored just once and conceded 13.
Yet they still secured a play-off spot for Euro 2020, and only lost out in the final.
When Uefa first introduced the Nations League, it was derided as too convoluted. I had my doubts about it.
However, now the mechanics of it are clear and the routes open for nations to progress rapidly, I raise a glass to Uefa.
Without their introduction of the Nations League, Scotland would be poring over the ashes of another failed qualifying campaign after finishing third in Group I, nine points behind second-placed Russia.
Uefa’s new league offered a chance of redemption that Scotland magnificently held their nerve to grab, and qualify for Euro 2020.
Without it the Tartan Army would have to suffer the embarrassment next summer of being one of the host nations at a tournament we had failed to qualify for.
Introduced in 2018 in a bid to eradicate meaningless friendlies, Scotland would be in the mire without the Nations League.
When the pandemic hit in March, football in Europe shut down. But Uefa had been steadfast in their desire to proceed with Nations League fixtures, albeit delayed.
Without the league, the Scots would have had very few games for Clarke to instil his style on the squad before the World Cup qualifying campaign begins on March 24.
In the midst of a pandemic, international friendlies are just not viable with players coming from multiple bio-secure bubbles at club level to play to empty stadiums overseas.
At club level, Uefa’s structuring of tournaments is becoming a private members club, especially the Champions League. It seems the rich get richer and the others have to jump through hoops for crumbs.
Yet, at international level, the Nations League has offered a route for small nations to progress and break into the elite.
It is refreshing and Scotland are capitalising on the chance.
The Dons have the quality to end Rangers’ winning run
Aberdeen will need their best performance of the season to overcome league leaders Rangers at Ibrox.
Derek McInnes’s squad have the quality to end Rangers’ impressive unbeaten run, which hit 20 games with the recent 8-0 thrashing of Hamilton.
All unbeaten runs must come to an end – just ask Scotland boss Steve Clarke after his side succumbed to a shock 1-0 defeat in Slovakia.
Rangers’ formidable run is now 17 wins, three draws and no defeats in all competitions this season with only seven goals conceded.
However, Aberdeen have the firepower, midfield strength and defensive solidity to cause them real problems and end that run.
Is an Aberdeen formation tweak in the offing for Ibrox? We discussed what Derek McInnes could do on this week’s Northern Goal podcast:
It will take 90 minutes of intense concentration from the Dons to get a positive result in Govan. Switch off for a second and Rangers can punish that.
The sublime finish from Sam Cosgrove in the 2-0 defeat of Hibernian before the international break indicates the striker is quickly returning to sharpness after three months out.
Scotland U21 captain Ross McCrorie is unavailable due to the terms of his loan deal.
With Dylan McGeouch injured McCrorie’s replacement will likely be Funso Ojo.
He will have to stamp his authority in midfield against former Don Ryan Jack. The middle of the park will be key to leaving Ibrox with points.