On this day, nine years ago, Scotland thumped The Faroe Islands 6-0 at Celtic Park to get their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign off to a flyer. They went on to dispose of 2006 World Cup finalists France both home and away.
Much like the current crusade, Georgia were also in Scotland’s group back then. With two games remaining in that campaign, Scotland faced the eastern European nation away and were full of confidence going into the match, having just defeated Ukraine 3-1 at Hampden.
They were sitting pretty at the top of their qualifying group, which also included Italy as well as France. The Scotland manager at the time, Alex McLeish, had stated before the match that the team had “done the country proud” and that they were “very close to qualification”.
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As they arrived in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, the Scots really believed that they could actually qualify for a first major tournament since 1998. It was the most optimistic the country’s football fans had been for several years.
Donning their now infamous new claret strip, they were embroiled in a battle with the Georgians which ended in a surprising and ultimately fatal 2-0 defeat.
A controversial 2-1 defeat at home to world champions Italy in their final match followed which cemented Scotland’s position in third; France still sat one point ahead of them with an extra game to play.
A win against Georgia – one that was expected – would have left France needing a win away to Ukraine in their final game of the group. That game - as it happened - ended in a draw, meaning Scotland would have qualified for Euro 2008.
Who knows what may have happened had Scotland not capitulated on that fateful evening in Tbilisi in 2007. One thing is for sure though, they cannot afford the same slip up again against the Eurasian country on Friday, or else it could end up delivering another mortal to blow to their qualification hopes.
Will Scotland defeat Georgia on Friday? Is it the most crucial game in qualifying so far?
Let us know in the comments below.
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