Scotland finished top of Nations League Group B1 with a goalless draw against Ukraine in Krakow on Tuesday night.
Despite their exhaustion, Steve Clarke’s side earned promotion to League A by producing a gritty performance against the side that dashed their hopes of reaching the World Cup this winter in Qatar.
They will now be in pot two when the Euro 2024 qualifiers draw on October 9, with a play-off guaranteed if necessary.
The ramifications of the resulting promotion to the top flight of the forthcoming Nations League campaign are vast, however…
Compete against the best teams in Europe
In the inaugural Nations League in 2018, Scotland faced Albania and Israel in Group C1. The 2024 competition will be completely different for the Scots in Group A.
Scotland cannot be drawn in the same group as the other promoted countries Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
However, all major footballing nations such as France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands are on the prowl.
Unfortunately, there can be no meeting with Auld Enemy England who have descended to League B.
However, in December, UEFA vice-president Zbigniew Boniek said that all 10 teams from CONMEBOL, the South American football federation, could join the Nations League, so there could be a revamp with Brazil and Argentina involved.
Second seed for Euro 2024 qualifiers and guaranteed play-off spot
Being among the second seeds in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, which will be drawn next month, should in theory boost Scotland’s chances of reaching the final in Germany.
Scotland will avoid other teams in the pot such as France, England, Austria and the Czech Republic.
However, it would be foolish to believe that any team in pot three or even pot four would provide easy points.
Romania, Sweden, Norway and Iceland are among the countries in the third pot and all would be a tough test if drawn in the same section as Scotland. If the Scots fail in their task, they will have another opportunity through the play-offs, the route they took for the delayed Euro 2020.
Playing against top teams earns more money
Scotland have been reported to have secured £1.5million for their participation in Group B1, which will be doubled for their victory.
Scotland will be guaranteed three glamorous games at Hampden Park when the Nations League returns in 2024-25.
The home stadium will be guaranteed to sell out to see the cream of the crop in Europe and in addition there should be an opportunity to earn more from things like hospitality and merchandising which will be welcome income for the Scottish FA .
Who leaves the team?
All is rosy in the Scottish backyard after winning promotion, but manager Steve Clarke will have to do some pruning from the squad.
The Scottish boss was hit by a series of injuries, and a Scott McTominay suspension to boot, as the final Group B1 game against Ukraine arrived.
Clarke’s side played heroically for the crucial point with Hibernian debutant Ryan Porteous particularly impressive.
However, when the Euro qualifiers begin next March, players such as skipper Andy Robertson, Grant Hanley, Kieran Tierney, Nathan Patterson, Scott McKenna and McTominay – all of whom could be considered starters – as well as Liam Cooper , David Turnbull , Jon McLaughlin and Jacob Brown, will all be available again.
It’s a selection dilemma that Clarke will welcome but a dilemma nonetheless.
Nations League 2024/25 – League A
The date of the draw is not yet confirmed but Scotland can only play one team from each of the following pots…