December 2, 2020

Scotlands qualification party: Ryan Christie in tears and Andy Robertson dancing the night away – Daily Mail

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-8944315/Scotlands-qualification-party-Ryan-Christie-tears-Andy-Robertson-dancing-night-away.html

Ryan Christie was left in tears after Scotland ended a 22-year wait to qualify for a major tournament as Andy Robertson and Co toasted a beer and danced the night away in Belgrade.

Christie looked set to be the matchwinner after his first half strike gave Steve Clarke’s side a pressure advantage in their play-off against Serbia.

Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic equalised in the 90th minute to force extra time before Scotland edged the most nerve-jangling of endings to book their spot at next summer’s European Championship via a penalty shootout. 

Scotland ended a 22-year wait to reach a major tournament as they reached the Euros 

Ryan Christie, who made it 1-0, was holding back tears as he spoke to media after the game

Ryan Christie, who made it 1-0, was holding back tears as he spoke to media after the game

Ryan Christie, who made it 1-0, was holding back tears as he spoke to media after the game

Liverpool's Andy Robertson (seen left, back) put a tight hamstring to one side as he danced the night away

Liverpool's Andy Robertson (seen left, back) put a tight hamstring to one side as he danced the night away

In the dressing room, Steve Clarke's players sang along to a 1977 classic hit

In the dressing room, Steve Clarke's players sang along to a 1977 classic hit

Liverpool’s Andy Robertson (seen left, back) put a tight hamstring to one side as he danced the night away in the dressing room as Steve Clarke’s players sang along to a 1977 classic hit

Christie, who was just two when Scotland were last at a major tournament, was left watching the shootout in which goalkeeper David Marshall was the hero, saving Aleksandar Mitrovic’s decisive penalty, and he was emotionally exhausted by the time of the post-match interview.

‘This is an amazing night,’ he told Sky, trying to hold back the tears. ‘I think from the start we believed, the last couple of camps we’ve picked up so much belief from each other. 

‘Conceding that late equaliser, digging in, it’s penalties away from home and Big Marshy coming up again. Unbelievable. Those penalties are probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.’

No fans were allowed to be there in Belgrade on such a momentous night due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

England will face Scotland next summer, days after the anniversary of their 1996 meeting

England will face Scotland next summer, days after the anniversary of their 1996 meeting

England will face Scotland next summer, days after the anniversary of their 1996 meeting

Clarke's men held their nerve in a tough setting in Belgrade to progress via a penalty shootout

Clarke's men held their nerve in a tough setting in Belgrade to progress via a penalty shootout

Clarke’s men held their nerve in a tough setting in Belgrade to progress via a penalty shootout

The music blared out and players danced to mark the thrilling night in Belgrade

The music blared out and players danced to mark the thrilling night in Belgrade

But there was to be no dancing for John McGinn (left) and Christie (right) as they had drug tests to take

But there was to be no dancing for John McGinn (left) and Christie (right) as they had drug tests to take

As team-mates danced, John McGinn (right) and Christie (far right) undertook drug tests

But Christie was hopeful there were plenty of celebrations across households in Scotland after this squad got ‘the monkey off’ their back. 

‘The whole nation (have had it tough) and we knew that going in,’ Christie added, visibly choked up as he paused his interview to compose himself. 

‘It’s been a horrible year for everyone and we knew we could give a little something for this country. I hope everyone back home has a party tonight. It’s a monkey off our back.’ 

Tears flowed inside the dressing room after such an exhausting campaign before the music was fired up and dancing took over.

Clarke’s side were captured dancing to 1977 hit song Yes Sir, I Can Boogie by Baccara in the dressing room with a chorus rendition a brilliant look behind the curtain. 

In the clip, players are seen jumping on the benches and leaping into each other’s arms as they sing along and are doused in water with bottles thrown into the air in celebration. 

Christie and team-mate John McGinn unfortunately had to miss out on all the dressing room dancing as they endured a more tranquil spell in the drug testing facility. 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is already dealing with a nightmare in his defence and he will have taken a large intake of breath in extra time when Robertson’s left hamstring tightened. 

Robertson was overcome with emotion in his interview as he urged fans at home to celebrate

Robertson was overcome with emotion in his interview as he urged fans at home to celebrate

Robertson was overcome with emotion in his interview as he urged fans at home to celebrate

In the end the panic eased and Robertson was among the ringmasters of those planning one of the biggest celebrations this young squad has ever enjoyed.  

‘My hamstring had seized up, a bit of cramp!’ Robertson explained. 

‘What a night, so hard to explain, tears everywhere and these lads deserved it. I’m just a boy who gets to walk out in front of them. We’ll look forward to the summer now.’

Fans were not far from Robertson’s thinking. It was such a momentous night and yet it almost didn’t quite feel whole. 

Come next summer’s Euros, Robertson is hopeful things will be back to normal. 

‘I’ll say every sort of prayer I have to have a full Hampden,’ he added, himself trying to hold back tears. 

‘I hope everyone parties at home tonight because we have through tough times as footballers and football fans of Scotland. I don’t really want to think about it as I’ll probably cry.’ 

One of the fascinating sub-plots to Scotland’s qualification is that they will take on England, the Auld Enemy, days after the anniversary of their face-off at Euro 96. 

Current England boss Gareth Southgate was in the side back then that faced Scotland and so there will be plenty of history when they meet next summer. 

Gary Lineker was among those to tweet congratulations after Scotland's qualification

Gary Lineker was among those to tweet congratulations after Scotland's qualification

Gary Lineker was among those to tweet congratulations after Scotland’s qualification

Peter Crouch pointed to the rivalry with England as he passed on his congratulations

Peter Crouch pointed to the rivalry with England as he passed on his congratulations

Peter Crouch pointed to the rivalry with England as he passed on his congratulations

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was 'great' to see Scotland reach the Euros

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was 'great' to see Scotland reach the Euros

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was ‘great’ to see Scotland reach the Euros

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was ecstatic on social media following the result

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was ecstatic on social media following the result

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was ecstatic on social media following the result

Sturgeon described it as a 'lift for the country' in a year ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic

Sturgeon described it as a 'lift for the country' in a year ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic

Sturgeon described it as a ‘lift for the country’ in a year ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic

After England’s friendly win over Republic of Ireland, the Three Lions boss said of facing Scotland: ‘That will give everybody something to look forward to, let’s hope it’s with full crowds.’ 

Some of England’s finest were even able to park their allegiances to congratulate Clarke’s men on a magnificent qualification.  

Gary Lineker tweeted: ‘Well played Scotland. Great stuff as Marshall is the hero.’ 

Sportsmail columnist Peter Crouch wrote: ‘Congratulations Scotland! I know you hate us but I was pleased for you.’

Amid a tense political backdrop right now, events in Belgrade caught the eye of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

Johnson tweeted: ‘So great to see Scotland going forward to the Euros. Massive well done to the whole team.’

Sturgeon, who attached a GIF of her celebrating at an election, added: ‘Massive congratulations to Steve Clarke and the team. After 22 years, @ScotlandNT men are off to a major tournament. What a lift for the country. Well done!’ 

The national team account vowed there is ‘No Scotland. No Party’ as attention now turns to next summer’s tournament.  

Robertson tweeted that he was 'struggling to find the words' to describe the qualification

Robertson tweeted that he was 'struggling to find the words' to describe the qualification

Robertson tweeted that he was ‘struggling to find the words’ to describe the qualification

Oli McBurnie said he was 'buzzing for everyone back home' following such a historical night

Oli McBurnie said he was 'buzzing for everyone back home' following such a historical night

Oli McBurnie said he was ‘buzzing for everyone back home’ following such a historical night

Liam Cooper was full of praise for Clarke's squad as he described the group as 'different class'

Liam Cooper was full of praise for Clarke's squad as he described the group as 'different class'

Liam Cooper was full of praise for Clarke’s squad as he described the group as ‘different class’