Craig Brown led Scotland to Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup, but says nothing in his day came close to Thursday night’s euphoria as Steve Clarke’s men ended 22 years of hurt
- Craig Brown is happy to no longer be last man to get Scotland to a major finals
- The former coach was part of five successful Scotland qualifying campaigns
- Brown says nothing came close to the scenes of Thursday night’s qualification
As a coach, Craig Brown was part of a successful Scotland qualifying campaign on five separate occasions.
He knows exactly what it’s like to be in a dressing room full of footballers who have just secured their nation’s place in a World Cup or European Championship finals.
But he insists that nothing, absolutely nothing, ever came close to the scenes of unrestrained abandon that marked Steve Clarke’s team ending 22 years of hurt.
Craig Brown was manager of Scotland when they reached their last tournament in 1998
The former manager says nothing in his day came close to the scenes of joy on Thursday night
The cheesy disco sing-along moments, the celebratory conga in honour of match-winning goalkeeper David Marshall, the roaring and laughing – each new snippet snuck out onto social media underlined just how much this means to everyone involved.
Brown, deliriously happy to no longer be known as the last gaffer to lead Scotland’s men to a major finals, told Sportsmail: ‘I loved seeing the players all bouncing in the dressing room. That was great.
‘Because it wasn’t like that, not quite the same, in our time. The euphoria seemed to be greater, just because of how long we’ve been away.
‘When we were there, it wasn’t as exciting to qualify – it was more of a disgrace if you didn’t!
‘I remember we qualified for the World Cup at Celtic Park, against Latvia.
Hero David Marshall led a conga as Scotland celebrated their qualification for Euro 2020
The rest of the Scotland team sang Marshall’s name to the tune of Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’
Brown said it wasn’t as exciting to qualify in his day – there was a disgrace if they didn’t
‘The police asked the team to go out and do a lap of honour. The crowd kept applauding, so they’d to do it twice.
‘I went into the dressing room with the doc, Professor (Stewart) Hillis, and the staff – we went in for a cup of tea!
‘But I think it’s great to see these players bouncing about like that. It shows their togetherness, shows how much it means to them.’
Brown was a member of the backroom staff at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, as well as Scotland’s first ever European Championships appearance in 1992.
Promoted to the top job after Scotland’s shock failure to qualify for a sixth consecutive World Cup, he then Scotland to Euro 96 and – of course – France 98.
Brown praised the stability Steve Clarke has brought after transforming Scotland’s fortunes
He couldn’t be more pleased to see the former West Brom and Kilmarnock boss succeed where so many have fallen short.
‘The ultimate is still managing your nation, although club management appeals to younger managers,’ said Brown.
‘I do think Stevie has transformed the fortunes of the team,’ he said. ‘There’s a stability now, a method. All the cognoscenti think a back four is the answer. He just defies that, goes to a back three, plays it against anyone – regardless of minor or even major criticism.
‘Some teams still don’t get it right. Stevie Clarke’s got it right.’