BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
As a patriotic Scot, Davie Wilson was desperate to see Scotland clinch a place at the Euro 2016 finals.
But after that dream came to an agonising end on Thursday, the Gibraltar assistant manager now hopes the Group D minnows can add salt to their wounds in the final game of the qualifying campaign tonight.
The clash in Faro has become a dead-rubber after Scotland’s draw with Portugal, allied with Ireland’s shock win over Germany, ensured that the play-offs are now out of reach for Gordon Strachan’s side.
Gibraltar created history at Hampden back in March when they scored their first ever competitive goal in a 6-1 defeat.
Former Kilmarnock trainee Wilson, who works as a rehabilitation officer with the Royal Navy in the British Overseas Territory, is now hoping to see genuine signs of improvement from Gibraltar when they come up against the country of his birth this evening.
Wilson said: “As a Scotsman it is gutting for me because I had been looking forward to going into the game with something to play for.
“It would have been a great test for us to go and challenge ourselves against Scotland.
“If Scotland played great on the night and we played well, Scotland would always have been stronger than us and everyone would have been happy.
“But now we don’t really know what to expect from the Scotland team.
“Yes, I am disappointed that Scotland have not qualified but it could be great for my lads because we can maybe go and create more chances against what could be a lacklustre Scotland, or a hungover Scotland.
“It’s not great for the Scottish fans but it could be a boost for my lads to say, ‘lets go and really rub it into them’.
“That’s the football brain in me and that will be part of my chat with (manager) Jeff Wood and the lads before we go out – ‘they’re badly injured, lets go and make it worse’.”
Scotland cannot finish any higher than fourth in the group but Wilson, who also turned out for junior outfit Kilwinning Rangers, reckons they are a superior side to the Republic of Ireland despite what the table currently looks like.
He added: “On paper before the qualifying started, the way the group is just now is probably the way you would have written it down.
“But from playing against every team it’s not how I’ve seen it. I genuinely see Scotland being ahead of Ireland.
“Ireland gave us a hell of a game because they respected us and took it to us.
“In footballing terms, Scotland are a better footballing team.
“They have more fight and they have better footballers in their team.
“Germany and Poland are up there but from playing against them all I consider Scotland to be the third best team.”
Gibraltar lost their ninth game of the group in a 4-0 loss at Georgia on Thursday but Wilson, who was interim manager for the match against Scotland at Hampden, insists UEFA’s newest members are improving.
He added: “It’s been a steep learning curve. We have taken what would effectively be a small down in Scotland with 30,000 people, we’ve taken 30 to 40 players over two years and turned them into a force that even Gordon and (Ireland manager) Martin O’Neill have been very respectful of and said, ‘yeah, you can play football’.
“The performance overall against Georgia was really pleasing but again we lost silly goals.
“To have a lot of the game, especially in the second half when the home fans were booing, was brilliant for us.”