Scotland have sensationally qualified for a major tournament for the first time in over 20-years thanks to a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Serbia at the Rajko Mitić Stadium in Belgrade tonight.
In an evenly fought first-half Serbia had the best chance after Aleksandar Mitrovic set up for Sasa Lukic but his side-footed effort from 20-yards flew inches past David Marshall’s left post.
Scotland’s best chance fell to John McGinn but the keeper Predrag Rajkovic did well to save his angled drive.
Shortly after the restart Lyndon Dykes squared the ball for Andy Robertson but his powerful strike flew well over the bar.
Moments later Scotland took a deserved lead when Ryan Christie collected a pass from Callum McGregor on the edge of the box and his reverse shot went into the net off the keeper’s left-hand post.
In response to the goal the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted seven saltires.
Scotland continued to attack and in the 68th minute McGinn did well to win possession in midfield before setting up Callum McGregor but his long-range effort went narrowly past the post.
Christie then went close with an angled drive as the Scots dominated possession but with only a one-goal lead nothing could be taken for granted.
Serbia then enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure but the Scotland defence stood firm as cross after cross arrived in their penalty box.
With 12-minutes remaining Aleksandar Mitrovic’s header flew inches wide of David Marshall’s right-hand post.
In the final minute, Scotland conceded a corner kick and the substitute Luka Jovic was left unmarked and his downward header bounced off the turf and into the top corner, breaking the hearts of the Tartan Army watching on TV back home.
The Serbs, buoyed by the late equaliser piled forward in the first period of extra time and it took a superb save from Marshall to deny the hosts.
With four-minutes remaining Steve Clarke brought on former Hibs’ striker Leigh Griffiths in a last ditch attempt to win the play-off but it was not to be and the game finished 1-1 after extra time.
Griffiths took the first penalty which he fired high into the net but the Serbs’ captain equalised.
McGregor took Scotland’s second and scored but once again Serbia scored and made it 2-2.
Manchester United’s Scott McTominay made it 3-2 but Serb equalised then Oli McBurnie sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 4-3.
Katai made it 4-4 to effectively take it to sudden death. The fifth penalty fell to Kenny McLean who also sent the keeper the wrong way then Marshall saved Alexander Mitrovic’s strike and Steve Clarke’s men made history.
The Scots go into group D and will face the Auld Enemy England, Croatia and the Czech Republic in the competition which should have been played earlier this year but will now take place in 2021.
The tournament which will still retain the name “UEFA Euro 2020 was normally played in one country however this time it will be held in 12 cities in 12 UEFA countries including Scotland as a “romantic” one-off event to celebrate the 60th “birthday” of the European Championship competition.
The Stadio Olimpico in Rome was chosen to host the opening game, involving Turkey and hosts Italy whilst Wembley Stadium in London is scheduled to host the semi-finals and final for the second time, having done so before in 1996.
Hampden Park will host group stage matches and one last-16 match and for the first time, the video assistant referee (VAR) system will be used at the tournament.