Scotland have reached their first major tournament since 1998 and may fancy their chances of upsetting the odds at Euro 2020 by emerging from a competitive group containing the World Cup runners-up as well as their most bitter rivals.

Having endured more than two decades of failure, the Scots clawed their way into the tournament with a gutsy penalty shootout victory over Serbia in a nail-biting playoff.

A typically mettlesome victory showed that the current Scotland side are no soft touch.

Yet as the lowest ranked of the four teams in Group D, Scotland will need to outperform expectations to make it to the knockout stages and that is where their rediscovered strength of character will come in handy.

While this Scotland side has some talented individuals, none more so than captain and Liverpool left back Andy Robertson, who can justifiably claim to be among the finest in his position, they have shown more that they can generate and ride a wave of national feeling built from past failures.

When Scotland keeper David Marshall flung himself to his left to palm away the decisive spot kick in that shootout, it kicked off wild celebrations fuelled by raw emotion.

Scotland, once regulars at major tournaments, last played on one of the international game’s biggest stages at the 1998 World Cup in France, and the Tartan Army has endured a barren run since.

Yet when Marshall stretched out a firm wrist to parry away Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty all that disappointment was forgotten and Scottish fans were once again given licence to dream.

Scotland face group matches against World Cup runners-up Croatia and the Czech Republic in front of a limited home crowd at Hampden Park. In between is a game to get the pulses of all Scots racing – a trip to Wembley to play England.

While Scotland will certainly not be favourites against Gareth Southgate’s side, who are 40 places above them in FIFA’s rankings, like many derbies the fixture often defies the form book.

England hold the upper hand but not by much, having won 48 of the 114 matches between the teams to Scotland’s 41.

While Scottish supporters may have their eyes trained on the clash at Wembley, Steve Clarke’s side will know the stern challenge they face in their other group matches.

Croatia reached the World Cup final in 2018, dumping England out in the last four, with a side full of technically gifted players.

With Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric still pulling the strings for his country at 35, the Croats qualified as group winners.

The Czechs are no pushovers either, having booked their finals place as runners-up to England after winning five of their eight qualifying matches.

Yet previous European Championships have shown that sides tanked up on team spirit can go further than predicted and Scotland will hope to follow in the footsteps of Iceland and Wales five years ago and defy expectations.