Living in Scotland is excellent - we have stunningly beautiful landscapes all around us, lovely historical landmarks and we are lucky enough to live in relative safety.

The downside to living in Scotland can be summed up in one word - sport!

We have a history of punching above our weight when faced with a better opponent, yet being beaten by those deemed lesser challenges and some would say it’s happened again last night when Scotland were beaten by Georgia - but it was never going to be an easy task.

In recent years we have been pretty good at certain sports.  After Steve Davis’s total domination of snooker in the 1980s, along came Stephen Hendry and he took over the mantle as the best in the business, even exceeding Davis’s incredible records.  Hendry’s success encouraged others to take up the sport and he has been followed by another two Scottish world champions, John Higgins and Graeme Dott plus numerous other top Scottish players.

Colin Montgomerie has done a lot in golf, although he hasn’t managed to bag any of the major tournaments - although he has come close on a few occasions, more heartbreak for the Scottish sports fan!

In motor racing, we had the late great Colin McRae to cheer on in rallying - he was world champion in 1995, but with a bit more luck (and a few less crashes!) he could have been a multiple world champion easily.  David Coulthard has been our only representative in the pinnacle series of motorsport, Formula 1, in recent years and again he has been good but not quite good (or lucky) enough to claim the top prize.  We have had world champions in the past though, in Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart but they are a bit of a distant memory.

Until very recently, I can’t think of any Scottish tennis players of note at all - there probably have been some, but the earliest British players I can remember following at Wimbledon were Jeremy Bates and then Tim Henman (and the Canadian, Greg Rusedski…).  Now though, the new British hope is also a Scottish hope in the shape of Andy Murray - and the good thing with Andy is that we have got his brother Jamie in there as well.  A bit like a “buy one, get one free” offer if you like.

Where Andy is unbelievably good in the singles game, Jamie concentrates on the doubles side of things, and has already claimed the Wimbledon mixed doubles crown - so that’s one victory for Scotland at least!

Onto team sports, and our rugby side seems to forever blow hot and cold.  In the annual Six Nations tournament, we seem to be good one year and bad the next - lacking consistency, or so it appears from the outside.

And that brings us back to football.  When I was growing up, we seemed an ever-present at major tournaments - always qualifying but then being on the first flight home as we never progressed beyond the initial stages.  But at least we got there, unlike recent events.

The last time we qualified for the finals of a major tournament was the 1998 World Cup in France, when we were actually drawn to play the reigning champions, Brazil, in the first game.  There was huge anticipation ahead of the game - some were fearful that the Brazilians would steamroller us and ruin the championships for us even before they started, but in the end we were incredibly unlucky to lose the match and could actually have won it.  As so often seems to be the story!

Ten years is a long time, and if we are honest when the draw for the Euro 2008 qualifiers was made, we thought that we would be waiting for a while yet.  Drawn in the same group as Ukraine (World Cup 2006 quarter finalists), France (World Cup 2006 runners up) and Italy (World Cup 2006 winners) amongst others was always going to make qualifying a very difficult task as only the top two teams go through.

As Scotland had preformed so badly in recent years, we were struggling in FIFA’s ranking list of the International sides which meant we were always going to be drawn against the better teams.  The realistic goal of this qualifying campaign was to play better, and to finish third in the group if possible so that when it came to the draw for the World Cup in 2010 we were seeded higher - thereby hopefully avoiding some of the bigger names, and increasing our chances of making it through the group.

It has worked out much better than we could ever have imagined.  We got off to a terrific start and have put in some great performances - so much so that after the weekend’s games we actually topped the group ahead of Italy and France, something nobody could have expected a year or so ago.

Qualification was in our own hands, a win against Georgia last night and at least a draw against Italy in our final game would see us go through irrespective of results elsewhere.

Until last night we have always believed our bubble would burst, that our good run of form and luck couldn’t last - but it did, we always seemed to be getting the results we needed to keep our hopes alive.

Going into the game in Georgia last night though, there seemed to be a bit of a change in mood - as if we thought that things were going to be okay, that qualification really was possible.  Last night’s result has certainly put a bit of a dampener on that though!

Although in another way, they are just the same as before - if we beat Italy we are through no matter what else happens.  If we had beaten Georgia then a draw would have been good enough, so it is slightly worse but it’s not all doom and gloom - although we do still face an uphill battle to beat the world champions, again.

It’s perhaps better that we know exactly what we need - and what we need is a win.  If you need a draw then it can be tempting to sit back and hope to hang on for a 0-0, which invariably means the opponents attack you for 90 minutes and manage to snatch a goal or two so having to win maybe isn’t such a bad thing.

One thing which hasn’t worked out at all well for the SFA, is the decision to play in a new strip last night.  Apparently it’s the only time we will wear the maroon shirts and had we won, then I’m sure the SFA’s shop would have sold out in no time - but if we fail to qualify then the fans will no doubt point the finger of blame at the Georgia game and the shirts will be left to rot in a warehouse somewhere.  The media have already started campaign to “Bin the Shirts.”

Good luck to the SFA in trying to shift them, hopefully they didn’t order too many!