BBC Sportsound host Richard Gordon proclaimed: “Not since 12 September 2007 have Scotland pulled off a result which will have the whole of Europe sitting up and taking notice.”
The Nielsen’s Gracenote data agency suggests that, given the gap in the world rankings, “we have the play-off win against the Netherlands in 2003 and the 2006 win against France as the only better home results for Scotland in qualifying for World Cup or Euros”.
Although former Scotland striker Kenny Miller had thought before Tuesday’s 2-0 Euro 2024 qualifying win over Spain that this Scotland team were capable of a “potentially positive result”, they “absolutely surpassed my expectations”.
However, former Scotland manager Craig Levein was less surprised, saying he predicted that “the trajectory of Spain led me to believe that it was eminently winnable”.
Ex-international team-mate Pat Nevin was of a similar mindset, pointing out: “If you’ve watched Spain, you’re thinking – they are not the team they were. But we are not the team we were either – we’re getting better.”
So how does the victory that puts Steve Clarke’s side three points clear at the top of Group A compare with five of the best?
Scotland 1-0 Netherlands, 2003
Amid the troubled reign of Berti Vogts, Scotland finished second in their Euro 2004 qualifying group behind the manager’s home country of Germany, but had a second chance via the play-offs.
They faced a Netherlands side who had finished behind the Czech Republic in theirs, having failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals.
However, the Dutch side were still filled with household names like Frank de Boer, Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
James McFadden’s first-leg winner had Hampden rocking and the Tartan Army dreaming of a summer in Portugal, only for a 6-0 thrashing in Amsterdam in the return to bring the Scots back down to earth.
France 0-1 Scotland, 2007
Scotland travelled to Paris having already produced one of their most famous victories by defeating France, then ranked the second-best team in the world, a year earlier at Hampden thanks to Gary Caldwell’s close-range finish.
Alex McLeish’s side further improved their chances of qualifying for the 2008 Euro finals after surpassing that with another James McFadden stunner against a side who had reached the World Cup final a year earlier.
Of course, in typically Scottish style, a defeat in Georgia and a last-minute Italy winner at Hampden ended their hopes as they eventually finished third in their group.
England 1-5 Scotland, 1928
Scotland dominated fixtures against the Auld Enemy during the 1920s and the hosts would eventually finish bottom of the British Home Championships.
England had won at Hampden a year earlier, but the thumping victory remains Scotland’s biggest ever at Wembley as the team went down in history as the “Wembley Wizards”, with Huddersfield Town winger Alex Jackson grabbing a famous hat-trick.
England 2-3 Scotland, 1967
Again, not a tournament qualifier, but a famous 3-2 Wembley victory meant Scotland finished top of the 1967 British Home Championships and could proclaim themselves unofficial world champions.
A year after England had beaten West Germany 4-2 to lift the World Cup and the same team, bar Jimmy Greaves up front instead of Roger Hunt the only change, were given the run around by Scots determined to make a statement of their own.
Denis Law, Bobby Lennox and Jim McCalliog scored the visitors’ goals, but it was Jim Baxter’s ball juggling to taunt the hosts that would be the most enduring image.
Netherlands 2-3 Scotland, 1978
Ally McLeod led the Tartan Army to Argentina, suggesting his Scotland side would take the World Cup finals by storm.
However, a 3-1 defeat by Peru and a 1-1 draw by Iran meant McLeod’s side had to beat their talented Dutch opponents by three clear goals to progress from the group stage.
Despite Rob Rensenbrink’s penalty putting the Dutch ahead, a Kenny Dalglish equaliser and Archie Gemmill spot-kick had the Scots in the lead – and, when the latter weaved his way through to add his second with one of Scotland’s greatest ever goals, the great escape looked on.
Johnny Rep’s thundering long-ranger was to end Scotland’s dream, but this would still go down as one of their greatest wins as the Dutch would prove their quality by reaching the final.
Scotland 2-0 Spain, 2023
Scotland are currently ranked 42nd in the world, 32 places below Spain.
However, Steve Clarke’s side went into Tuesday’s Euro 2024 qualifier having only lost one of their previous seven fixtures while Spain arrived as a team in transition under new head coach Luis de la Fuente.
Both sides had scored two late goals in Saturday’s opening qualifiers to somewhat mask their earlier struggles, but it was the Scots whose grit, determination, organisation and clinical finishing that held sway at Hampden.
While Spain are, indeed, not the force they once were, this will still be remembered as one of Scotland’s best-ever wins.