Scotland midfielder Callum McGregor's mixed emotions as Celtic ace follows 'pinnacle of career' with Nations League defeat
Steve Clarke's men required a victory to be sure of holding onto top spot in their final Group B2 match but a goal conceded on the stroke of half-time to Shakhtar Donetsk forward Manor Solomon condemned Steve Clarke's side to second place in the standings, as Czech Republic claimed top spot with a 2-0 home win over Slovakia.
Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor admitted there were mixed emotions following a week that saw Scotland clinch a place in a major finals for the first time since 1998 with a penalty shoot-out win over Serbia, only to throw away a strong position in the Nations League with back-to-back defeats to Slovakia and Israel.
Scotland had 33 attempts on goal over the two matches but failed to score and McGregor believes that's where improvements are required.
"We have to look at where we've come in a short space of time," he said. "We've done well and we've qualified this week for the Euros so we put that to one side.
"But if we're going to keep progressing then we have to take our chances when we get them in the game because you see at this level when you don't take your chances and they go up the pitch and get a counter attack you can quite easily lose the game. So that's the next step for us in our development, is to take our chances."
Despite the defeats and a huge missed opportunity to build further momentum, McGregor believes Scotland should still reflect positively on a week that saw them bring joy to the nation by ending a 23-year jinx.
"We were in a great position to give ourselves the play-off for the World Cup and to win tonight would have been a great way to finish the camp," he said.
"It's a disappointing result but if you look at the performance at the start of week, to win the play-off final and get us to the Euros, then we certainly have to look at that in a positive light as well.
"We've learned a lot this week, good and bad, and we take that back and come together in March."
McGregor, who is on the cusp of completing a historic quadruple treble at club level with Celtic, described qualifying for the Euros as the 'pinnacle' of his career.
"It's been incredible," he told Sky Sports. "I've had a lot of success at club level but to go and be successful at international level, that is the pinnacle of a footballers' career, to go and play at major tournaments and get your country there.
"It's been a brilliant last week in terms of the success we've had but we need to stay humble and continue to improve. We want to be a side that when we come together we can try and qualify for tournaments on a regular basis."