'Imagine the abuse...' former Scotland stars hail mentality shown in penalty shoot-out win over Serbia

Former Scotland stars James McFadden and Darren Fletcher were grinning as much as the rest of the Tartan Army after Scotland’s exhilarating penalty shoot-out win over Serbia.

Scotland's players celebrate after David Marshall saves Aleksandar Mitrović's celebration during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier between Serbia and Scotland at the Stadion Rajko Mitic on November 12, 2020, in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Nikola Krstic / SNS Group)
Scotland's players celebrate after David Marshall saves Aleksandar Mitrović's celebration during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier between Serbia and Scotland at the Stadion Rajko Mitic on November 12, 2020, in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Nikola Krstic / SNS Group)

The result sends the national team to the European Championships – the first major tournament for the men’s team in what will be 23 years – achieving a feat both Tartan Army heroes couldn’t in more than 120 appearances, combined.

However that would not stunt their enthusiasm and both Hampden heroes praised the new ones for standing up to be counted in the penalty shoot-out – though Fletcher admitted “that was excruciating”.

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"To stand up and say I know what’s at stake and I’m willing to take it on - fair play,” said McFadden.

James McFadden (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The forward, who scored 15 goals while amassing 48 caps, added: “To show the mettle and mentality to go and win another penalty shoot-out - we are all buzzing. What a lift for the whole country.

“We struggled in extra-time but it was a case of ‘get to penalties’ because we have good technical players who can hold their nerve and it’s happened before.

“Credit to the players. It would have been so easy to feel sorry for themselves and buckle, but they didn’t – they stood up for themselves and took a penalty and showed great bottle.

“Imagine someone had missed that penalty – and the amount of abuse they’d have got.

"We played through loads of heartache, false dawns and glorious failures. If they’d have lost that game it’d have been the biggest of glorious failures because of how well they played.”

Speaking on Sky Sports, Darren Fletcher singled his former team-mate David Marshall out for particular praise.

He added: “If someone deserves it it’s David Marshall. That’s loyalty to your country.

“We had three great goalkeepers – Craig Gordon, Allan McGregor and David Marshall – yet he kept turning up and wouldn’t let the country down. Now he gets a chance to be a hero.

“These lads deserve a massive party and they should celebrate all night because they deserve it. As Faddy said, they showed character.

“Those lads are stepping up and could be thinking ‘imagine I’m the one to miss’ - but they were positive and thought ‘I’m the one to score’ and David Marshall is the hero.”

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