Billy Williamson reports from Yokohama:

Ennui (noun): boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, lassitude, languor, weariness, enervation; malaise, dissatisfaction, melancholy, depression, world-weariness, Weltschmerz.

Sums it up, eh?

Lovely stadium.  Not much to look at from the outside, but on the inside, an intimate wee spot for 72,377 to watch a game of football.

Wee Japanese lassies walking up and down the aisles selling beer.  Polite security staff who didn’t worry too much about you sitting in the wrong seat, or even standing on it (or even walking down to the trackside to hoist a large Japanese flag and run back and forth in front of the other supporters with it).

Best of all they had TVs all over the place listing the team with the squad numbers, which is just as well because most of us had no idea who was who.

I met up with a couple of friends from London – hard-core TA boys who go to virtually every game.  They’d been to Japan before, for the Kirin Cup in 2006; one of them had just been made redundant but still made the trip.  They were in a party of six, all regulars for many years.

OK, it was a meaningless game but there was still a strange feeling of going-through-the-motions about the whole affair among all of them, and to be honest I felt the same way myself.  Never mind the call-offs, which had to be expected once we knew we were out; it’s still Scotland, FFS.  We still *care*, right?  But there was no real sense of anticipation before the game; no real passion in the songs; and even the customary song-when-we’re-losing “We’ll support you evermore” didn’t have the same throaty “GIRFUY” verve, (see video below).

Nobody could even be bothered to get properly pished.

Why is this?  Why do people who devote most of their hard-earned holidays and cash to following Scotland feel worn out by it all?

I don’t know.  But maybe it’s because of the hopelessness of the situation, and the fact that it’s so hard to get wound up about it.

One of these lads wrote a letter to Andy Roxburgh back in, ooh, 1989?  Criticising his team selections and his tactics and, basically, everything else about his management of Scotland.  He got back a reply telling him more or less to stick it up his arse.  Today, he wants Burley out; but like most of us he realises that there maybe aren’t any better options out there just now – and you might as well live with it, because the alternative could be worse.  He hasn’t written a letter, he didn’t run to the front row to rant, and he can’t really see the point of getting wound up about it.  And I see the point of his point.

We’re in this curious position where we know the team are underperforming; where we know the manager could and should be doing better; but we also know that no-one with any serious credibility or heft would take the job, at least not at the going rate the SFA would pay.  So what is there to get angry about?  You can’t take it out on the players – not the ones who actually bothered to turn up to Japan anyway.  Going after Burley, well, everyone including him probably knows we’d rather have someone else; and the George Peats of the world are impregnable so “Sack the Board” is a waste of time.  So what can you do?  You settle for it.

But we’re tired, tired of this.  We’re gradually sinking into real mediocrity; we’re like Oasis, every few years we get just a wee bit worse.  Compare us now to 1998, at least we qualified; to 1986, when we had Dalglish and Strachan and Souness; to 1974 when we were but a Bremner bawhair away from beating Brazil.  Where will we be in 2020?  Like Hungary or Wales, hoping to maybe come third or fourth in the group, sneaking an away draw in Helsinki and only losing at home to Germany by a couple?

We’ll support you evermore?  Probably, yes; but I’d prefer it to be on better terms.

Somebody, somewhere, please make it happen.