THE torn calf muscle will take a bit more time to heel but the memories will last the rest of John Carver's life.

Amid the scenes of celebration in Serbia last week, Carver was an unfortunate victim.

Goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods started the chain of events, Steven Reid exacerbated the problem and Graeme Jones, the Scottish FA Head of High Performance, tried to join in.

It left Carver watching on as Steve Clarke's side rejoiced following their shoot-out victory that ensured Scotland will return to a major finals next summer.

But the 55-year-old can laugh it all off as he reflects on a remarkable evening personally and professionally in Belgrade.

Carver said: “Woodsie tripped us and then Steven Reid jumped on my back and the rest is history. Jonesie tried to get on my back but there was no way someone else was doing that.

“I actually ended up watching everybody celebrating from a distance which was great but I was left in complete agony.

“They were great scenes: the doctor and Frank Reilly and the manager. All these people who have been with Scotland for so many years and gone through all the pain and all the torture. To see them celebrate was amazing. I was so proud of everybody.

“Unfortunately yes [I ended up on crutches]. It was a precaution more than anything. There were a few complications because we were away from home and had the flight to Slovakia and then the flight from there to Israel and then back to Edinburgh.

“I had a couple of little things go wrong but I am fine now. I am back home and I am being looked after which is great."

The celebrations were sparked, of course, by keeper David Marshall as he made what will become a legendary save to deny Aleksandar Mitrović from the penalty spot.

In that moment, Marshall became a national hero. It was a stop Carver was always convinced Marshall would make when it mattered most.

Carver said: “I sat next to Woodsie on the plane and I was actually just watching his pens out of the corner of my eye. I know a bit about Mitrovic so I actually knew a bit about him before he took the penalty.

“The goalkeepers have got a secret system which I won’t go into it but the work and preparation that was done prior to the game is amazing so I actually knew where it was going. If I saw a straight run up he was putting it on his right hand side and the goalkeeper’s left.

“I just focussed. The fourth official had said to us don’t celebrate until you have confirmation from VAR but how can you not celebrate something like that?!

“We had gone through the pain of conceding in the last minute, gone through the pain of extra time, gone through the pain of penalties and then I suffered the pain afterwards! We all suffered on the night and it was well worth it."