SO I’m in Paris for the World Cup. No, not this one. The other one. The one 21 years ago when the men in shorts (but not pink shirts) managed to get themselves to the World Cup finals. And when we arrived in the city of lurve, the tartan army, of which I’m a proud and long-standing recruit, were already out in force.

Many were clad in that season’s must have t-shirt. On the back were names under the heading “Scotland’s Sporting Heroes”. And among the more obvious contenders, Denis Law, Jim Baxter etc, were a short-arsed Argentinian, name of Maradona, and a certain Mr Gareth Southgate, whose honourable mention was due, it seems, to his having had the decency to miss a vital penalty for England in Euro 96.

Let nobody say Scots sports fans lack a sense of humour. In fact it’s an essential part of the package when you belong to a nation whose claims to sporting greatness are sufficiently frequent to fill one side of an average small postcard.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening when a significant proportion of the nation unable to travel in person to the Parc de Princes were assembled in front of assorted screens, willing our gals to make it out of the group stages, a feat which has always eluded the lads.

I know this thing. I am a veteran of several World Cup campaigns where we sojourned to watch wur boys leave at the earliest opportunity – once without actually losing a game, more usually on the curse of the goal difference calculator. (A pal of mine opined before the game that Scottish football had done more than any other factor to improve the nation’s mathematics.)

This time, cometh the hour, cometh a tear-stained new twist on an auld tale. Such was the unconfined joy at Scotland sticking three goals in the back of the Argies’ net my cup ranneth over fortunately there was still plenty left in the bottle. And then, like a slow moving car crash, we watched that surely insurmountable lead cut back until our goal difference had shrunk from five for, two against, to three for, four against. Still, with regulation time just about up, what could possibly go wrong? Surely defeat could not be snatched from the jaws of a famous victory.

But this is Scotland, remember. After the debacle of the twice-taken penalty, courtesy of that new fan on the block VAR, we reverted to our default mode: glorious defeat. I’ll leave it to the professional pundits to argue the toss about whether we should have defended a three-goal lead better, whether the manager should have put on fresh legs earlier as her counterpart did, and whether the referee’s watch was feeling the strain. Let me just report that tears weren’t only falling on the pitch.

But this is Scotland, remember. So it was that the home of golf, the country of the fitba daft, was able to dry its tears and re-assemble in front of the box barely 24 hours later to welcome back a Scottish sporting hero who really has done the business. A man who comes from a rain-sodden nation with minimal indoor sports facilities yet scaled the top of the tennis tree thanks to spending his most formative years abroad.

Training in Spain where the rain falls mainly elsewhere. Underfunded of course by the Lawn Tennis Association’s blazerati who preferred to build a “national” tennis centre at Roehampton, on the grounds that it was handy for just about nobody. His indefatigable mum, the witty and wise Judy, is still battling on to ensure her brilliant sons are able to leave a tangible physical legacy for the next generation of racket-wielding wannabees.

Anyway our boy was back. And all we asked was that he got through his doubles match with an unfamiliar partner against the number one ranked pair without pain or injury. It was enough just to see that familiar big figure walk on to the court without that limp so familiar to those of us whose hips have troubled the NHS over the years.

But, bloody hell, someone just dropped the script. He and Feliciano Lopez (once famously dubbed Deliciano by Judy, who knows a good pair of legs when she sees them) came from a quietish start to steal the first set. And, such was my Scottish mindset -tuned to smell disaster in every apparent triumph – that I started to worry what three sets might do to Murray’s new orthopaedic arrangements.

Hah! Oh ye of little faith. They stormed the second set with Murray showing more than a few flashes of his erstwhile genius. After the horrors of the night before it was truly balm to the sporting soul. Though, as I am Scottish, I did wish the post match commentators hadn’t leapt from one two set victory to predictions of more singles triumphs. Steady on chaps. This boy is Scottish too.

A wee PS from that other World Cup in Paris. Before the opening match with Brazil I had been presenting a radio show from the Auld Alliance pub, unofficial HQ of Scots sports fans for both footy and rugby. We had set up shop in the wee back room since the bar had already fallen to the army, my host having thoughtfully removed all the heritage armoury from his walls before they arrived.

Programme done and dusted, we repaired to a brasserie. Later, phoning home, I discovered that later that same evening Ally McCoist was pulling pints behind the bar, while Stan Collymore and Ulrika Jonsson were having their infamous, violent domestic in that same back room. Of all of which I knew nothing. Scoop Wishart, as they never called me.