Scotland boss Steve Clarke has challenged his heroes to win their Nations League group.
The squad helped put the whole nation on a high after securing qualification to the Euro 2020 finals next summer.
Clarke’s players overcame Serbia 5-4 in a penalty shootout to reach a first tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
Now Clarke wants them to top the Nations League group to deliver more joy.
Four points clear at the top of Group B2, the Scots visit Slovakia tomorrow then the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
Clarke said: “We want to win the Nations League section we are in to secure promotion to the A League.
“We want that so we can be competing with the big teams. We want to be winners in the Nation League because we like winning.”
Scotland sit four points clear of the Czech Republic, who they have defeated home and away in the Nations League group.
Clarke’s side are also five points ahead of third-placed Israel.
One win from the next two matches will be enough to win the group – but Clarke wants six points to keep the momentum going for a Scotland side unbeaten in nine.
He said: “We will prepare properly for the two games coming up because they are very important for us.”
After a dismal run of 10 failed qualification campaigns spanning 22 years and seven previous managers, Clarke finally ended the agony.
Scotland will now face Czech Republic (June 14) and beaten World Cup 2018 finalists Croatia (June 22) at Hampden in Group D next summer.
They will also play England at Wembley on June 18.
He hopes the momentous win in Belgrade and the prospect of watching Scotland at the Euros can bring a smile to the nation during troubled times.
Clarke said: “For everyone throughout the world, with the pandemic going on, it has been a very difficult time.
“For the people of Scotland it has been a very difficult time.
“We spoke before the game about trying to make the nation smile on Friday morning.
“Hopefully they will be smiling.
“If we have done a little bit to make them feel better about themselves and about the country that is great.”
Leading 1-0 in the 89th minute Scotland had one foot in the Euro finals, only to concede a late equaliser that forced extra-time.
Clarke hailed the resilience and mental fortitude of his players for not crumbling after the loss of that late goal.
He said: “The character of the players is unbelievable.
“They were obviously very disappointed to concede so late on as we had one foot in the finals.
“It would have been easy to crumble, take the disappointment and not finish the game properly.
“However, they dug in during extra-time and kept believing.
“They got their rewards when it got to penalty kicks when they kept their nerve again.
“Two big games against Israel and Serbia went to penalties and twice that group of players have held their nerve.
“I know penalties can be lucky, but it was a deserved victory over the course of the game, especially the 90 minutes.”
Scotland went into extra-time not only dejected, but also minus main scoring outlets Lyndon Dykes, John McGinn and Ryan Christie who had been substituted.
Clarke’s advice was clear – keep believing.
He said: “Before the game we said it was 90 minutes to go to Euro 2020, at half-time it was 45.
“Then with extra time we had another 30 minutes to go.
“Sometimes you get the blow at the end of the game and you can allow that to affect certainly the start of extra time.
“I told them to just keep believing and to keep working hard. It is going to take a while for it to sink in, however, we do know what we have achieved.”
The former Kilmarnock manager made some hard choices in Belgrade, including omitting players who had been so impressive in the defeats of Israel and Czech Republic last month.
One of the players dropping to the bench was Aberdeen defender Andy Considine, who started both matches.
Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney came in to fill that left sided centre-half role Considine had occupied so well in recent games.
Former Aberdeen centre-back Scott McKenna, now at Nottingham Forest, returned from injury but did not retain his normal starting slot.
Instead Declan Gallagher retained his position.
Clarke said: “Every player turned up and I am not just talking about the 11 that started.
“I am talking about the boys that came from the bench.
“I am also talking about the rest of the squad, their positivity and the way they conducted themselves when they knew they weren’t starting the game.
“Everyone. Even the two boys left out with Greg Taylor and Lawrence Shankland not even in the squad.
“Everybody was together and that is why we succeed.
“For a long time we have been building this group of players and we got our rewards.”