SADLY, it wasn’t to be for Scotland at Euro 2020. The dream is over once again. We’re now left ruminating over what could have been had things went a bit differently. But we’re also left with an overwhelming positive; the future looks a lot brighter for us now.

This isn’t a football-centric column so I won’t pontificate and pretend to have all the answers on what went wrong or how I know better than Steve Clarke and how if he had only done X, Y and Z, we’d be sitting pretty in the last 16. What is undeniable is how good that night in Serbia was when we sealed qualification.

Seeing all the videos online of people out in the streets celebrating and going tonto in their homes was fantastic to see. The build up to the tournament itself, the hype and the buzz emanating from the country was absolutely glorious.

I was lucky enough to get to go around Scotland interviewing fans for the SFA and everyone I spoke to seemed so happy and positive and it was impossible for me not to feel the same.

I knew that it’d be a big ask for us to get out of that group but my heart said “we’re gonnae win the whole thing”.

Glorious failure seems so ingrained in the national psyche that I think almost all of us saw the result against Croatia coming well before kick-off, despite our relentless, maybe performative, optimism. But still we charged on, Saltires hanging everywhere, Scotland tops on, faces painted, tunes blaring, and allowed ourselves to dream.

Now we can look ahead to the future, qualification for major tournaments no longer feels like the herculean, almost impossible task it has been for the last 20 odd years but now it’s a very realistic, very achievable goal from now on with this exceptionally talented group of players.

I could go on and on about how positive I’m feeling about the future of Scottish football but what I’m more excited about is how this will impact on us all in terms of morale, hopefulness and the significance our brief time at football’s top table could have on us all culturally.

I’ve written before about how, as a nation, we’re always the first to put ourselves down. Self-deprecation can be an admirable trait to have as an individual, the ability to laugh at yourself shows you don’t take yourself too seriously, but as a country we seem to take it too far.

We almost seem to actively enjoy not allowing ourselves to be happy, not allowing ourselves or others to celebrate their successes, feeling that it’s too much of a riddy to put ourselves out there.

It’s a strange way for the population of an incredibly creative, diverse, vibrant and industrious country to behave. Perhaps it’s because we’re part of a union that many of us don’t feel we’re an equal part of, maybe it’s decades of austerity, maybe it’s

the weather.

It manifests in strange ways. We laugh at people for trying something out of the ordinary, we laugh at them when they fail, we deride them if they succeed and say they’ve forgotten their roots or something.

It’s not all of us who feel like this but there’s certainly plenty of us doing it. I know I’ve been guilty of this mindset, especially when I was younger.

Instead of trying to build a better life for myself and my family, I’d be moaning about people who had achieved the kinds of things I wanted to and hoping they failed, hoping they languished in bitterness and unhappiness like I was. I’ve no time for any of that carry on anymore, it eats away at you and makes you feel even worse.

When you let that go, the sun seems to shine a little bit brighter and your pals’ and family’s victories make you smile from ear to ear, just as much as your own would make you.

I have a theory that if we were a more successful footballing nation, then the effects of this would trickle down through the population and instil more confidence and self-esteem in us all.

It’s maybe nonsense, but I like to believe in it. Imagine the swaggers on us all if we had the kind of team that regularly got to World Cups and European Championships and could go toe to toe with anyone without fear. We’d all be unstoppable.

The few weeks of build-up to the Euros showed me the kind of country Scotland could be if we wanted to. After a horrendous year, it felt like the worst of everything was over and the good old days, the time in our lives we’d all be reminiscing about in the future, had arrived.

The national team may have been knocked out but hopefully the optimism, revelry and hope aren’t going away anywhere soon.

Let’s keep the feel-good factor alive and enjoy the rest of what could be a truly glorious summer for us all.