As you're all aware the European Championships take place in major stadiums across Europe next year.
The last time Scotland qualified for a major tournament was in 1998 and the re-occuring theme surrounding the national team is in fact they have under-achieved since then.
The main memory I have of Scotland which of course ended up in heartbreak like it usually does was when we got beat 2-1 by Italy in Euro 2008 qualifying in controversial circumstances.
However, for all of us optimists we're hopeful that this time around can be different. We got promoted to C1 in the UEFA Nations League (it took me a while to understand how it works) which means it improves our seedings for Euro 2020 which means our chances of exceling should increase. But of course it's never that straightforward, as the Scotland way is to do it the hard way.
It's not just down to that circumstance either, we have quite a balanced team in terms of youth integrating with experience. We have young players such as Scott McKenna, Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay, Calum McGregor, Ryan Christie and Calum Paterson who have the potential.
Experience is a fascinating point I think. I've heard people talk about experience in what exactly? Not exceeding expectations? It's a fair point but our experienced players in the team are Stuart Armstrong, Leigh Griffiths, Ryan Fraser and James Forrest. These are relatively young players in general and can make things happen but are still the seniors of the squad who can support the younger generation and I'm certain they'll want to change the perception of what experience can really mean in this campaign.
In addition to all this Alex McLeish needs to install confidence and belief into those players. Yes, we did top the UEFA League C Group 1 but I wasn't convinced by the performances. We should be beating teams like Israel and Albania convincely in my opinion.
He still has a point to prove too, he left Scotland in 2008 for Birmingham City because he thought the grass was greener atnd Scotland fans won't ever forget it. With the right tactics and positive attitude the ball is in his court.
As brilliant as Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney are, dont play systems to fit the best players, play players to fit the best system.
As the end of the season is approaching it means that some people will be moving on but for others it'll be business as usual. Here are my predictions.
I think Celtic will hand the Irishman a longer term contract at the end of the season. All he needs to do is win the league and the Scottish Cup. They've already won the Betfred Cup and are eight points ahead of second placed Rangers so far and will be wanting to prove that they can cope without Brendan Rodgers. Lets not forget this squad have already won the double treble and will want more success. If achieved, which I think it will, it's not purely down to that either. Neil Lennon was of course a Celtic player and manager previously. He knows the club inside out.
The common perception of the Celtic squad is that there needs to be improvement in certain areas like defence and midfield. Lustig and Brown are on the wrong side of thirty, players like Weah and Burke are on loan and will all need replaced. Neil Lennon performed well with Hibs who were on a very limited budget, so with the funds available, I'm certain Mr Lennon is the right man for this over haul.
Graeme Shinnie is an Aberdeen fan's dream. He's the captain, he covers every blade of grass on that pitch and is a passionate man. But he still hasn't signed that new contract. I heard that this contract was the highest paid in Aberdeen FC's history, but no matter how much the likes of Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and other teams can offer a player, the likes of Salford City in the Conference League can still offer more. I genuinely think Mr Shinnie would love to stay at Aberdeen if circumstances were different. But at the age of 27 and with a young family to think about I'm not surprised he wants to leave.
There's been rumours of Bristol City, Hull City and Rangers FC wanting to sign him. He will be away for sure, but the question is where. If that club is Rangers, it certainly wouldn't go well with the Aberdeen faithful.
The Kilmarnock boss in an interesting one. He has publicly outed referees and was clearly upset after Kilmarnock's 5-1 defeat to Rangers in the last round of the Scottish Cup. Refereeing decisions were questionable which has been a common theme this season. He also talked about the sectarian abuse he was subjected to after being called a f****n b******d by a Rangers fan. He's not happy with the culture of where Scottish football is right now. He's a brilliant manager, as it wasn't long ago at all that Kilmarnock were occuping 2nd place and weren't that far behind Celtic. The man has fantastic management skills and has a talent of bringing the best ouf of a team on a very limited budget.
The problem with being in that position is that if you're over achieving as a team, the bigger clubs come calling for your star players. For example, Rangers signed Jordan Jones on a pre-contract and Greg Stewart went to Aberdeen on-loan. I also want to mention that what makes it easier for bigger clubs to come calling is not only the abundant finances but these players view teams outside of Celtic and Rangers as platform clubs. They've either always wanted to play for Celtic and Rangers or they want to manouevre their way to where the money is, like the English leagues. It's almost completely unavoidable.
I think he'll be away this Summer or at some point next season.
Another contract rebel at Aberdeen FC. He was recently linked with New York City but that never materialised, but he'll be available for free this Summer by the looks of it. It's a similar situation to Graeme Shinnie, as he's 28 years old and has a young family. I can see him moving down South or to America.
Hearts FC as a club will be kicking themselves if they don't make it to the Scottish Cup Final this year as so far they've had a favourable draw and have been drawn against Inverness Caley Thistle in the Semi-Final if they beat Partick Thistle in the replay. No disprespect to the highlanders what so ever as they deserve to be there but the draw could've been a lot worse. I've spoken to my friends who are Hearts fans and they think that if Levein doesn't at least get to the final this year he should leave.
So because of that, it's made me think of the whole situation. I think Levein will leave Hearts in his own terms. He is Hearts through and through and has a strong connection with Karen Budge. They appear to be on the same wave-length, similar to Derek McInnes and Stuart Milne. Unless the Hearts Manager receives an offer he cannot refuse I can see him being at Hearts for the long haul. Therfore I can see him being here beyond this Summer.
A certain to be here beyond this season. For as long as he's in Scotland the microscope will always be on him. The questions at the start were how he'd cope with the pressure of being a Rangers Manager, especially considering this is his first role in management. He has had a mixture of highs and lows this season. Rangers were unlucky to not qualify for the knock out stages of the Europa League but also deservedly beat Celtic 1-0 at Ibrox in December. Their first victory of their arch rivals in 13 games.
They also got beat by their other rivals, Aberdeen FC in the semi-final of the Betfred Cup and will also face them in the Scottish Cup Quarter-Final Replay at Ibrox next Tuesday.
However they are also in second place which would be their highest finish in the league since their promotion from the Championship.
This will be viewed as inconsistent as Rangers are naturally just a club that expect themselves to be competing for everything, especially on a domestic level. They will be desperate to ruin Celtic's chances of a triple treble.
I can see the Liverpudlian staying here for another 2/3 years.
What are your predictions?
Last night Ajax sensationally defeated Real Madrid 4-1 (5-3 on aggregate) at the Bernabeu.
In recent times, Ajax who are historically a huge club have been defeated by the finances of modern football but yesterday they obliterated the 13-time European Champions who were previously kings of Europe for a staggering 1,012 days. In other words they were going for their 4th consecutive Champions League trophy this year.
What makes the result even more incredible is that the Ajax Director, Marc Overmars recently stated afterwards that their wage budget for the first, second and youth team is equivelent of Gareth Bale's approximate £650,000 per week.
It just goes to show you that money can only take you so far but if you have a club that invests in youth and promotes home-grown players with the right attitude, literally everybody wins.
Ajax have been exactly doing that and last night's performance will obviously attract attention from bigger clubs but this is a recipe for success in the long term. Frankie De Jong will be a huge miss as he ran that midfield against Modric and Casemiro but €75m from Barcelona is not a bad sum at all to re-invest in the club.
Every club in Scotland who are competing in Europe should take positives from this as I've heard every year that they don't have the financial funds to compete against the very elite in Europe. Like I said before money doesn't mean a full squad is happy. Just look at Real Madrid, they've been knocked out of the Champions League, Copa Del Rey and lost any chance of winning the La Liga. All in less than a week.
I'm still under no illusion that it's still a challenging prospect but even doing the basics right can make it slightly easier.
When Aberdeen FC defeated Real Madrid 2-1 in the 1983 European Cup Winner's Cup Final, Alfredo Di Stefano said "Aberdeen have what money can't buy; a soul, a team spirit built in a family tradition."