Steve Clarke revealed he used the memory of an iconic Kenny Dalglish goal against Spain in 1984 to inspire his Scotland players towards a 2-0 victory over the same opposition at Hampden Park.
Dalglish notched the third goal of a 3-1 win which was the last success for the Scots against Spain until Scott McTominay, with two goals, sunk Luis de la Fuente’s men. Scotland’s head coach later explained how he drew upon history.
“I spoke about Kenny Dalglish scoring that goal in 1984 and I said to the players: ‘That’s what it means to the country,’” Clarke said. “I told them: ‘If you can produce a result against one of the top teams in Europe, people will speak about you in years to come.’
“I am delighted. The players were outstanding from the first minute to last. It was a big night and it feels like a big step forward for us as a nation and a team.”
Scotland now top Group A with six points from two matches as they chase a spot at Euro 2024, but Clarke remains cautious. “I told the players you don’t qualify with six points,” added Clarke.
“It was a big win but there are plenty of games to go. One bad game can set you back so we stay focused and keep our feet on the ground.
“The dynamic, enthusiasm and quality of the team didn’t change. It’s a big night, it feels like a step forward, but it’s only six points.”
De la Fuente said he was “satisfied” with his team’s display. Rodri, the Spain captain, was less magnanimous in defeat as he criticised Scotland’s approach to the game. “We conceded easy goals,” he said. “This is football, if you concede easy goals you are penalised.
“It’s the way they play, but for me it’s rubbish, always wasting time, provoking you, always they fall.
“For me, this is not football. The referee has to take on this, but he says nothing.”