Rather, it was ensuring that the sense of optimism, hope and sheer delight – as evidenced by countless rousing versions of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie – that this created continued to the end of Scotland’s involvement in the competition.
Two defeats and a draw might not sound like success, but Scotland went toe-to-toe with finalists England and were arguably the better side in their nil-nil draw. The results do not look good on paper, but the performances showed the national team were far from outclassed or undeserving to be in the company of Europe’s best.
And in the emergence of young players like Billy Gilmour and Nathan Patterson – in addition to established stars like Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay and John McGinn – there are reasons to be hopeful that Euro 2020 will not be a blip.
So the decision to extend Clarke’s contract, meaning he will remain in charge until at least the Euro 2024 qualification campaign, comes as a welcome fillip ahead of next week’s World Cup qualifiers against Denmark, Moldova and Austria.
Clarke’s public persona may not seem as inspirational as his results suggests he actually is in the dressing room – it is hard to imagine that he can Boogie quite to the same degree as his squad – but he brings a quiet, calm dignity to the role.
And he is certainly lifting the spirits of the nation at a time when it is most needed. Long may he continue to do so.