ON the most Scottish of nights, the most Scottish of nights. But thanks to David Marshall, the most un-Scottish of endings. As the skies opened over Belgrade, the Tartan Army - so many miles away at home - ascended into heaven.

There had been nothing glorious about the 23 years of failure that followed Scotland to Serbia where their supporters could not, but the phrase that has haunted this team – this nation – for over two decades and beyond, has finally been shaken off by Steve Clarke and his band of heroes.

The overriding feelings of joy, relief and euphoria were accompanied by the shaking of heads in living rooms all over the country as Scotland’s long-suffering supporters took to social media to express disbelief and the almost universal feeling that it was all so unlike us. But then again, was it?

This Scotland team have now gone nine games unbeaten in a run lasting over a year. How unlike us.

They controlled the 90 minutes from start to finish, and although it eventually took the excruciating spectacle of a nerve-shredding penalty shootout, they deserved their place at Euro 2020 by the length of Sauchiehall Street.

So too there was nothing serendipitous about Luka Jovic’s equaliser to Ryan Christie’s opener, no fates that conspire uniquely against our nation. It was terrible defending from Scott McTominay, plain and simple.

But that aside, each man was superb. From the imperious Declan Gallagher at the centre of the defence, who had the much feared Aleksander Mitrovic so deep in his pocket the Fulham man will be in need of a lint roller, to Callum McGregor who controlled the game in front of him with perhaps his best Scotland performance on his 25th cap. From Christie who came up with the piece of magic to break the deadlock to Lyndon Dykes up top, who won every single ball that came near him with both the frequency and the ferocity of a dog set loose on a Sunday league pitch. How unlike us.

Scotland bossed the early stages, looking calm, composed and in total control of the situation. A rumour started circulating online that Nike had dropped Michael Jordan from their promotional campaigns and were instead launching a new range of Air Lyndons.

Not that Scotland were solely relying on long balls, There was a zip and a zest about their passing on the slick surface. Each man was comfortable in possession and had time and space to do as they pleased on the ball. How unlike us.

It was over 20 minutes before Serbia showed anything, and it was a reminder for Scotland not to rest on their laurels as Dusan Tadic arrowed a shot just wide from the edge of the area.

Admittedly, that was a little more like us. If anything, it was something of a comfort though, as the whole experience to that point was a little discombobulating. If anything, nerves had been subsiding since the first whistle, and it was no bad thing to be jolted out of our comfort zone.

Not that the players were slacking in any way. Scotland were swarming all over the Serbs as they tried to build from the back, and that was personified as Stephen O’Donnell of all people pounced on a ball at the edge of the area and forced the ball through to John McGinn to get a shot away that just lacked the required power to match the passion that forced the opportunity in the first place. How unlike us.

The Scots were so assured, and none more so than McGregor, who was picking up every loose ball and reading the game superbly in front of the Scottish backline. Gallagher then picked up a yellow card, seemingly for displaying the temerity to stand next to Mitrovic, and there was a fear it would come back to haunt the Scots.

The second half started the same as the first though, and Dykes laid the chance of the game on a plate for Andy Robertson, bullying three defenders and picking out the late run of his captain steaming in at the far post. The Tartan Army rose, only for Robertson to fluff his lines at the crucial moment and slice high and wide.

Scottish fans sunk into their sofas, waiting for the inevitable goal arriving at the other end within seconds. But what do you know, this Scotland team had other ideas. It was no surprise that McGregor was at the centre of it as he drove forward and reversed the ball into his Celtic teammate Christie. The attacker took a touch, turned and caressed the ball in off the inside of the post. Had he walked up with the ball in his hands and rolled it in from a yard, he couldn’t have placed it any better.

As we settled back for our nerves to be put through the shredder, the remainder of the match was incredibly plain sailing. Even as extra-time loomed, there was no hint of a Serbian storm around the Scotland area to match the one that had raged overhead. And then, suddenly, it was all so like us.

A corner from the right as the clock ticked into injury time saw substitute Jovic brush off McTominay like a gnat and plant a header into the top corner past the despairing dive of Marshall. Suddenly, we were all Renton from Trainspotting again, sitting on that train platform, every word resonating.

Clarke had made subs to see out the game, and suddenly a frontline of Oli McBurnie and Callum Paterson was hopelessly inadequate for what was required. The ball was coming back at the Scots at an alarming rate, nothing was sticking up front.

A brilliant Marshall save aside from a shot from the edge of the area, the visitors got through it relatively unscathed, and so it was to penalties. Nine were despatched, with special mention to the much-maligned McBurnie for exhibiting the minerals to step up and slot home when a miss would have seen him castigated forevermore.

It was then the turn of Mitrovic. Marshall guessed right, and after a quick check that he wasn’t being referred to VAR, 23 years of hurt melted away. How unlike us.