IN the days and weeks before the international break, I was nervous to say the least.

Scotland faced a mixed set of tests in their opening games in the Euro qualifiers, a simple game against Cyprus, and a behemoth of a challenge against Spain.

Spain hadn’t lost in the Euro qualifiers for nine years. They boast one of the most exciting young talent pools in the world, while also having a decorated old guard to guide them.

With the form of some of Scotland’s key players in recent years being how it was, my hope for this game was slim.

Scotland’s defining feature is out wide, the wingbacks contributing much on attack and defence.

For Steve Clarke’s boys, this is the way they unlock teams – balls in from out wide, cutbacks from the touchline to an onrushing McGinn or Dykes to latch onto, just like that incredible win against Israel that sent us to the last Euros.

But this season, the stars in these positions have been less than impressive at club level. Kieran Tierney warms Arsenal’s bench, Andy Robertson concedes goals at an unprecedented rate in the worst Liverpool side of the Klopp era, and Nathan Patterson is in a relegation battle at Everton, fighting for gametime with an ageing Seamus Coleman.

Aaron Hickey was the only one of the wide men having himself a good season, and knowing how essential form is in football, I was not confident in our abilities.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get tickets, so I sat at home with bated breath, readying myself for disappointment… And then Scott McTominay scored in the seventh minute.

Hampden erupted with excitement, I got out of my seat and screamed; it was so unexpected. Not only the goal scorer – his third in this international break – but the source of the goal, the left flank. Skipper Andy Robertson winning the ball high, firing a perfect cutback to McTominay and running off to celebrate with him just like he used to.

Robertson then played an expert long ball to Dykes right at the death of the first half, and it nearly worked too, as Dykes struck the bar with an audacious chip.

Tierney was amazing too, his underlapping runs and link with Robertson as instinctual as ever despite his lack of play time this season.

It was his explosive forward carry that led to the ball dropping to McTominay’s feet yet again for the second goal.

“What did they do to McTominay,” I said. “Why is he so good!?”

This performance will always be remembered for his heroics, but the roll that left-hand-side played must not be understated.

And just to spite my pre-game predictions even further, Hickey was just okay by comparison. I remain a firm believer that club form and international form don’t always corelate – different managers, different teammates, different systems can have a huge impact on a player’s performance.

McTominay proved this point. He’s only started in the league once since his club, Manchester United, bought Brazilian stalwart Casemiro. But he’s just scored four goals in two games for Scotland, after bagging just one in his previous 37.

However, with our full-backs falling off as starkly as Marvel movies this season, I was certain it would carry over.

Hands up in apology … Steve Clarke just knows how to get the best out of these lads, and their club managers cannot currently.

I was wrong. But this is one of those rare times where being wrong feels amazing.

Clarke’s team now find themselves in the driving seat at the top of group A and every game before them is easier on paper than their triumph over Spain.

We could well see successive Euro campaigns for this side, but it’s still too early to call as of now.

But like I said, this is only on paper, there are still some high-level threats to come.

Two of the world’s best players, Norway’s Erling Haaland and Georgia’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, lurk like eldritch monsters in the distant shadows of this group.

Get positive results against them, and it’s well and truly in our hands.