KEVIN De Bruyne knows what it’s like to feel like a Scottish footballer and not because he’s a ginger with a pale complexion.

When his international football career began nine years ago, the team now rightly rated No1 was struggling on the world stage.

In August 2010, De Bruyne was in a Belgian side which lost to the might of Finland. At the time, that result was far from being seen as a shock. When the Red Devils qualified for the 2014 World Cup, it was their first major finals in 12 years.

The country had lost interest in the national team. The players weren’t good enough. This should sound familiar.

The Belgian FA then did something we never do. They changed things. Belgium reached the quarter-finals in Brazil and finished third in Russia. On Monday night at Hampden Park, they made Scotland look like a non-league team drawn against Manchester City.

De Bruyne was good enough to speak to the Scotland Press pack after the match as we pleaded with this world class footballer to offer us some hope.

He said: “I actually think Scotland have some really good players. They are trying to find a concept which will help them perform well as a team.

“It’s similar to when I started with the national team. Ten years ago, we had troubles in terms of finding the right balance, the right team. There was a long time when we didn’t qualify for anything.

“It takes time. Obviously, you guys have had some great times before. You need to show some patience and the manager has to find balance within the team.”

It does take time but things only get better if changes are made during the period of transition.

De Bruyne said: “We had a really young team for a time and then things changed for us in a big way when a lot of our players went abroad to play for big clubs. We all got some maturity and were able to show prove ourselves in other countries. Lots of us had the opportunity to do that.

“We then grew as a team. We played, at the start, really differently compared to now. Back then we really played on the counter-attack a lot. We were struggling but were still able to win games. Lately, we have tried to be better with the ball.

“It took us four to six years to find this, a way which works for us. We are a much better team, we are performing well but, yeah, it took us some time to get there.”

De Bruyne was perhaps being polite but he was positive about Scotland even if our woes are hardly something that keeps him up at night.

He said: “As I said, you have good players and I think that should give you hope. The team is fairly young as well. I know all the players who are in the Premier League such as Andy Robertson. They are doing well with their clubs.

“There seems to be a lot of changes for every game. I don’t know what the thinking is with the manager but that’s not something I’m not busy thinking about.

“But they will find their rhythm. Obviously, it does take time. It hurts when you lose. I hope you can do better in the future.”

To be Scottish at Hampden on Monday was difficult. However, if you were there, at least there was some wonderful football to be admired. Even if it was the other mob playing it.

De Bruyne put one shot past in the second half which brought his ten out of ten performance down to a nine and a half. If you love football then you love watching this wonderful player who set-up three goals and scored one.

The man himself said: “It was a good win for us. I think it was a bit up and down in the first ten minutes. Scotland started well but after we made it 1-0, we began to control the game. Defensively we were really compact. I don’t think Scotland created a lot. We scored at the right times.

“In the second half we controlled the game. We tried to keep it zero goals against us and to score more ourselves. In the end it was a great reaction from Friday’s game when it wasn’t so good against San Marino. That was the most important thing for us.”

Asked on Monday night whether there was anyone playing better than him at this moment in time, De Bruyne said: “Fortunately I don’t have to judge that.

“I just have to play well. I’m just content. I’m feeling good. I have already played many matches and am starting to come into my rhythm. That is important, because there are still many games to play.

“When your career is over, you can see what you have done afterwards. But right now I just want to win competitions. The faster we do that, the better. That can also be very important for the rest of the season.”

The answer, incidentally, is no.