It is fair to say that Scott McTominay didn’t make a major impact for Scotland in the Nations League.
The Manchester United midfielder did feature in three of the four matches as Alex Mcleish’s men won their group to claim a Euro 2020 play-off, but each time only as a late substitute.
However, the experience certainly had a major effect on the 21-year-old, who was keen to offer up an all too rare Scotland success story to an Old Trafford legend who represents arguably the greatest footballing success that this country has produced.
Alex Ferguson’s recommendation is reported to have swung the Scotland post the way of Alex McLeish, and McTominay was only too happy to share the joy over the decisive 3-2 victory against Israel with the 76-year-old. Now returned to full health following emergency surgery on a brain haemorrhage in May.
“I was devastated when the news came out that the boss was not so well,” said McTominay. “But this win over Israel was for him. It was one of our most important victories and I dedicate that to Sir Alex. Whenever I see him at matches I’ll speak to him a little bit. He’s always up for a chat.”
Ferguson’s desire for him to do so allied to McLeish’s powers of persuasion have been credited with convincing McTominay commit to Scotland, the Lancastrian eligible to do so through his Scots-born father. The welcome he has received has the midfielder, who has featured rarely at United this season, believing that Scotland can target qualification for their first major tournament in 22 years.
“The team spirit is incredible,” McTominay said. “Every single player gets on well. Everybody’s in it for each other, everybody wants to stick by each other. There are no problems with anyone’s attitude.
“And that can take you far as a team. It’s important to have that. You look at the Croatia team during the World Cup and how good their team spirit was. Watching them do as well as they did was inspiring.
“They’ve got some great players, admittedly, but we’ve got some really good players too. We showed that against Israel. Croatia are an inspiration for the boys. It makes us dream of going to a major tournament and doing well.”