IT is nearly a week since Scotland beat Serbia on penalties in the Euro 2020 play-off final in the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade, but the country is still on a high.

Emotional tributes to Steve Clarke and his players continue to flood in from around the world. Social media remains awash with clips of the key moments. Hell, unofficial anthem Yes Sir, I Can Boogie has even re-entered the charts.

After 23 years of disappointment, hurt and failure, people are fully entitled to milk a long overdue success for all it is worth.

Clarke, however, will not allow his squad members to dwell on their epic achievement.

The former Kilmarnock manager certainly enjoyed the wild celebrations with his men last Thursday evening, and the early hours of Friday morning, to the full.

But he has quickly turned his attentions to the next challenge – reaching the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 – and expects nothing less from those working under him.

With good reason. Victory over Israel in their final Nations League match in the Diamond Stadium in Netanya this evening would see Scotland finish first in Group B2 and give them the potential safety net of a play-off spot. Clarke is determined to top the section.

“We spoke before about creating history,” he said. “We’ve created that history. Now we need to move on to the next chapter. I’ve forgotten about Serbia already. I’m on to the next game.

“In December, the World Cup is drawn. I believe we are in pot three, which is a little bit of progress. We have gone from Nations League C to Nations League B, one step away from Nations League A. That’s progress.

“We want to keep progressing. And when you want to keep progressing, you can’t rest on your laurels. You can’t rest on what you’ve done. Maybe when we get back and have a little bit more time to think about it, we can look back. But at the moment I am only looking forward to the game tomorrow night.

“At any level you are only as good as your next game. You need to be focussed on the targets ahead. You can’t stand still. Maybe as a nation we were guilty of standing still too long – and everybody went past us. We are trying to catch up. We don’t want to lose that momentum. We want to keep going.

“We were focused on the game (against Slovakia in Trnava) on Sunday. You saw the performance was good. It deserved more than we got. Hopefully, you will see the same tomorrow night because three points is vital.

Being promoted to Group A of the Nations League would result in Scotland having to face a far higher level of opposition and make securing a place in the Euro 2024 play-offs more difficult.

Clarke, though, is keen for the national team to square up to the most formidable teams in Europe as he believes it will be good for their development.

“In terms of trying to improve it’s important as well,” he said. “If you are challenging yourself against the very best over the course of six matches over a three month period then you can only get better as a group. Everyone in professional sport wants to challenge themselves at the highest level. We and I are no different. I would relish the chances to play against the top teams.

“You can look deeper inside yourself and find ways to compete with the top teams and that’s what we want. We want to be in that position. It would be good. It is something that we are all determined to make happen tomorrow night, with all respect to Israel.

“They are a good team and they have shown that in recent matches against us that there is not a lot between the two sides. We will have to be at our best to get the result that we want.”

Scotland had an opportunity to go 10 games undefeated for the first time since 1927 in the City Stadium at the weekend, but ended up, despite dominating the 90 minutes, losing 1-0. Clarke is keen to get back to winning ways and build up momentum before the Euro 2020 finals next summer.

“The unbeaten run was great when you were part of it, but it came to an end on Sunday,” he said. “It wasn’t a bad performance, but losing is difficult so we want to start the next run now.”

“On the back of a long unbeaten run you pick up confidence. The players feel more sure of themselves when they go on the pitch. I mentioned about international experience when I first took the job. The boys are picking that up the more they go along and are starting to produce what we expect them to do on the pitch.

“But we are not getting carried away. We don’t think we are anywhere near the finished article and we need to keep improving. It would be nice to finish this week on a high with a win.”