Such an emotional game. Billy went through the same emotions we all did. And he wrote about it as it happened from a bar somewhere in China. Maybe it’s too soon, but in time you will want to relive this game through Billy’s live updates that follow. Because that feeling that we could and should have beaten one of the best teams in the World is something that we need to remember.

I’m in bed trying to get some sleep. My alarm is set for 1.45am. Managed to get some shuteye but now wide awake. I just read an entire New Yorker in the last 90 minutes.

It’s a bit of a waste of time trying to sleep just now – haven’t slept until after 1am the last two nights.  Not sure about the team.  Very attacking but is that what we need?  Would have preferred Maloney over Naismith for his free-kicks if nothing else; I suspect Burley thinks Naismith will run at the defence a la McCormack in Amsterdam.  Look how successful that was, though.

Ehh… Maloney’s in the team.  Why no Stephen Fletcher?  Sub for Miller later on?

Given up trying to sleep. Received a text: “Fuck Gordon out” which on any other day would just be bad grammar but tonight it’s bad news as well.

Choices, choices. Word is there are 20 pies at the bar. Do I take my chances that there’s one with my name on it, or do i stop off at the Hay Hay Cafe on Johnston Road for some wonderful siu me (BBQ meat)?  Truth be told I’d love a Greggs chicken pasty, but at least I won’t be lured into buying a McRancid Burger from one of the stalls down towards the King’s Park side of Hampden.

Just passed a restaurant that was hosting a party for “Fanny Chan.”. Honestly you get some cracking names in Hong Kong – Mrs Williamson deals with someone named ‘Creamy’, I kid you not.
More ominously, my iPhone just shuffled over to “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” by Oasis RIP.

Wan Chai is surprisingly hopping for 2am on a schoolnight, but then it’s a different dimension of reality. Drunk couple copping off outside the hotel as I enter and prepare to descend into the Canny Man.

Eight minutes to kickoff. One of my colleagues thinks we’re going to win. I think we’re fucked.

Everyone remembers Faddy’s goal against the Dutch; I remember clinging on for most of the game under a barrage of pressure.  They hit the post and peppered our goal.

Naismith just got booked for kicking the ball away. I think he might have been trying to trap it.  Has the referee never seen Scotland play before?

Overall good start from Scotland even with the Kuyt post. Brown… could have sent Scotland mental. So close.

23 minutes
Commentator: “van Persie’s not getting much sympathy from the Tartan Army.”
Voice from back of pub: “Because he’s a cunt.”

33 minutes
I went for the pie. OK but not stellar.

Well that was a Billy Bremner/Steve Nicol moment from Kenny Miller. I can make excuses but he should have buried it and we should be going in 1-0 up like our performance deserves.

To be fair he almost put us ahead with that cracking strike against the bar… but at this level you have to take your chances.

Overall: much, much better than I expected in my wildest dreams. Something clicked at half-time against Macedonia, it would seem. My only fear is we run out of steam, and the Dutch will remain dangerous on the counter-attack.  On the bench we have Fletcher and O’Connor but not much else so I hope our midfield and defence holds up.

Oh and whatever clicked on Saturday: I hope it stays clicked. This is good football from Scotland and I’d fear no-one in the playoffs if we keep this up.

Teams running out for second half: C’mon Scotland!!!

66 minutes
I’d leave Hartley on he’s had a great game. Last half-hour will be ding-dong as the cloggies are bang up for it too.

75 minutes
Round of Doe a Deer in the bar here has just woken up the woman that’s been asleep for the whole game. I wasn’t sure if she was pished or tired or both, but the first thing she did was reach for her husband’s vodka so I guess it’s the former.

Maloney’s wee legs couldn’t reach the ball. Come on Scotland!  Give us one!

80 minutes
Commentator, at a shot: “van der Vaart!”
Voice from front of pub: “van der Shite!”

81 minutes


Scotland 0 – 1 Netherlands (Eljero Elia 81”)

That’s a sad way to go out.  We played wonderfully for 80 minutes against a top-class team but finishing let us down at key moments – and that’s what separates the top teams from the rest and that’s why we won’t be in Africa.

Also a shame that Davie Weir made the mistake for the goal – he didn’t put a foot wrong in these two games.

And Burley; well, as the guy next to me said: “When this draw was made you thought it was an easy group – and it is.” The team never got going until the last 1 1/2 games – does Burley deserve another two years off the back of that?  After Norway I said no, but there’s been a major turnaround in form. So maybe he’s figured something out, and so I will sleep on it.  (Not that I’m making the decision.)

Speaking of sleep, it’s 4.30am, I’m tired, and walking home through the detritus of Hong Kong’s always-open party district. Glasvegas is the music of choice tonight, it fits the mood. Flowers and Fitba Tops; it could be worse.

See you in Yokohama.