19 moments from the hope igniting Scotland 1 - 0 Slovenia

Maybe it would have been better if Chris Martin had dragged that shot wide of the post. Maybe it would have been better, in the long run, if we were just put out of our misery.

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"What you gonnae dae, eh?" Picture: SNS"What you gonnae dae, eh?" Picture: SNS
"What you gonnae dae, eh?" Picture: SNS

But we weren’t and, for the first time in a long time, it feels damn good to be a Scottish football supporter. Even if we are just getting our hopes up for no reason, at least we can feel something.

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Following on from last week’s article, here’s a live timeline of all the memorable moments as Scotland produced a campaign-saving performance to defeat Slovenia at a half-empty Hampden.

0.00 The regular inspection of who and who isn’t singing Flower Of Scotland is interrupted when the Sky broadcast cuts away to Gordon Strachan. Just as the anthem comes to a close, the director cuts back and holds the focus on captain Scott Brown. His vacant stare is a thing of wonder. Opposition fans give him a bit of stick for it, seeing as “vacant” is not usually a compliment when you look into a man’s eyes, but he uses it so well. Other players must surely be unnerved by it. The eyes are where you read someone’s emotion. You can tell if they’re scared, angry, fired-up or have admitted defeat. How must it feel to look at Scott Brown staring right back at you and see... nothing. That must be unnerving. A man showing no emotion is possible of anything.

0.32 Scotland win a corner right away as Leigh Griffiths puts pressure on the opposing goalkeeper. It’s great seeing a Scotland team line up with a striker who can actually move.

6.27 For the second time Robert Snodgrass whips in a dangerous cross to Russell Martin again and... it’s in the back of net! We’re winning. We’re actually winning. Oh ya fu... nope. Never mind. it’s been disallowed for a push on the defender. We should have known. It was never going to be this straight-forward.

22.06 A rare sight as a referee actually books a player for intentionally trying to steal ten yards at a free-kick deep inside his own half. Boštjan Cesar angrily complains about his booking, presumably arguing that literally every other player in football has tried this at one point or another and got away with it.

24.02 James Morrison waves imaginary card after Josip Iličić goes down theatrically on the edge of the area. The commentators don’t criticise him for such an action because his name isn’t Jaime Morrisano.

27.11 Morrisano strikes narrowly wide of the post from edge of the area. It’s another fine Scotland move. Where has this team been hiding the rest of the campaign?!

34.01 Again we look like a coherent football team as Andy Robertson and Snodgrass combine, before the latter crosses for Griffiths who rattles the bar from four yards. It’s ok, though, a goal must be coming shortly.

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35.26 Griffiths hits the woodwork again, this time hitting the post. This is becoming horribly familiar.

41.28 Robertson tries his best to remind everyone that this is Scotland and, it doesn’t matter how well we are playing, we can slit our own throats at a second’s notice, as he nods the ball down inside his own six-yard box. Thankfully Charlie Mulgrew is alert and the danger is cleared.

Half-time In the Sky studio, James McFadden breaks character to laugh after unintentionally rhyming of “Russell” and “tussle”. Nope, me either.

46.57 After twice going down holding his back in the opening two minutes of the half, Griffiths is forced from the action. In his place comes Steven Naismith. You could make a joke about Strachan still thinking it’s still 2014, but looking along the bench, the choice of substitute is fair enough.

54.47 Tierney squares up to Roman Bezjak after he’s fouled. It’s a little jarring to see Tierney giving it the hardman act. He seems like such a nice boy. Don’t be letting that mean Scott Brown be a bad influence now, Kieran.

63.25 It’s past the hour mark. It’s still 0-0. Scotland have not created a chance since the first half. Welcome back doubt and cynicism, we’ve missed you old friends.

74.41 Brief hope flickers and dies in a flash when Ikechi Anya fluffs a shot right at the goalkeeper shortly after coming on as sub. Why do we ever get our hopes up? Why do we constantly do this to ourselves? Red from Shawshank Redemption was right. “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” Apparently, it can drive a nation insane as well.

78.22 James Forrest goes down the byline but can’t find anyone with the cutback. The commentators take this opportunity to really drive home the disappointment by announcing that Chris Martin will be coming on, confirming Scotland’s failure to qualify for Russia 2018.

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81.25 There’s actual booing of the Chris Martin substitute. Incredible. He’s officially Scotland’s Conor Sammon.

84.20 Brown passes the ball straight out of the park. This may be his last meaningful action in a Scotland shirt - until we draw Italy in the next qualifying campaign and he fancies having a game in Rome.

87.29 Stuart Armstrong picks up the ball, he moves it into the penalty for Chris... CHRIS MARTIN! WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT? The least likely hero in Scottish international football since Lee Wilkie scored the winner against Iceland! Looking at the replay, the ball seems to slalom into the back of the net via the covering defender’s right boot and the goalkeeper’s left boot before hitting the inside of the post. It almost seemed preordained. That ball was destined to find the goal. Martin had to suffer for his art. He had to prove himself capable of taking the wrath of the football gods and never losing his faith. Six minutes after booing met the very mention of his name, and he’s the hero. Chris Martin is the hero. It will never, ever get any less weird writing that sentence.

94.10 Full-time. It’s all over. We refuse to go quietly in the night. We refuse to give up believing that this is our time. This time.

“You were wrong, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”