Scotland captain Andy Robertson feels overcoming the barrier of history will help when they aim to take a major step towards Qatar on Friday night.
Steve Clarke’s men will secure a World Cup play-off spot with a game to spare if they beat Moldova in Chisinau on Friday night and Robertson is hungry for more big tournament action.
Scotland have positive recent experience of play-offs after beating Israel and Serbia a year ago to book their place at the delayed Euro 2020 finals, ending a 23-year wait for a place on the big stage.
That long wait weighed heavily on previous teams and Robertson feels this Scotland squad now have a more positive mindset going into the business end of their latest qualification campaign.
The Liverpool left-back said: “It was a barrier and a lot of people in our country probably didn’t believe that the country would ever get over it at one point.
“The longer it goes, the more people start believing that it’s never going to happen again.
“But credit to the manager and the coaches, they changed that mentality with the help of obviously me and the more experienced lads, and not thinking about the last 23 years but thinking about the here and now.
“We managed to do that, we ticked a huge box by beating Serbia and being able to get to the Euros and the feeling the whole country had when we were at a major tournament was incredible.
“And the boys are hungry for more, and so are the manager and the country, because I think the country really came together and united then.
“We don’t want to be sitting at home when the World Cup is going on, or any more Euros are going on. We want to be there.
“But we also know how hard it is to get there and we know how much it takes.
“That’s why we know how important Friday night is to secure the play-offs and then March will bring its own challenges. We need to secure that first and then everyone can build up to March.”
Having achieved qualification success last time out, Robertson does not feel greater expectations will be a problem.
“I wouldn’t say there’s more pressure, I would just say the boys got a feeling for getting to major tournaments and we really enjoyed it and want to get back there,” he said.
“I’m sure the fans and everyone connected with Scotland are the same.
“When you play for your country, there is always pressure on you. You are representing your country, you are representing everyone back home, and that brings its own pressure.
“I think we have been really good in dealing with the pressure, it has usually brought out the best in us and I hope that happens again on Friday night.
“We have had big games, we have had big challenges, we have had setbacks in games that we came back relatively well from. But it’s important that we don’t take that for granted, it’s important that every game is different, brings its different challenges and pressures.
“Friday will bring its own and I believe the players are well equipped to deal with that. But it’s important that we show that.”
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