At the end of an unusually long night, Scotland was a nation transported back in time to 1974.
Relive the days of Joe Jordan, Billy Bremner and the novelty of automatic qualification for major tournaments.
Minutes after Scott McTominay’s fifth international goal in four games secured a coveted two-goal lead over Georgia, the Tartan Army found its voice.
That Sera, Sera, we’re going to Germany resounds from the stands of Scotland’s National Stadium.
Even the biblical downpour which suspended the game for an hour and 45 minutes failed to dampen the belief that Steve Clarke’s side now have a foothold in the Euro 2024 final.
The Biblical flood in Glasgow failed to dampen Scottish fans as they secured four straight wins
A victory in Cyprus next time could be enough to ensure automatic qualification for Euro 2024
Top of Group A with 12 points out of a possible 12, a win in Cyprus in September could be enough to secure one of two automatic spots in Germany.
Aiming to make history by winning their first four games in a qualifying group for the first time, Scotland were on course when Callum McGregor smashed the ball past Giorgi Mamardashvili after six minutes.
When it comes to Euro qualifiers against Georgia, a mistake is never unexpected. By the time McGregor’s strike rippled the net, a torrential pre-match downpour had turned Scotland’s National Stadium into an outdoor lido rival at Gourock.
Not for the first time this season, the weather in Glasgow has turned the Hampden pitch into a Chinese rice paddy.
In 2008 and 2016, Scotland’s quest to reach the final came unstuck in scorching temperatures in Tbilisi. There was no requirement this time for a water break. In Glasgow, there never is.
Each ball roll caused a puddle of rain to fall from a soggy playing surface, the ball bogged down badly in conditions better suited to Olympic water polo than a European qualifier.
When an early shot from Otar Kiteishvili curled dangerously towards the goal, the ball stopped dead in the surface water before reaching its target.
Georgia’s French coach Willy Sagnol signaled to the officials to stop the game. Desperate for the three points that would maintain their 100% record in Group A, Scotland carried on in the most literal sense of the word.
As the rain continued to fall from a slate gray sky, a corner kick brought an early breakthrough. John McGinn’s set-piece was turned into the path of Celtic midfielder McGregor by Lyndon Dykes.
Celtic captain Callum McGregor smashed his third Scottish goal before the rain delay
The Celtic captain netted his third international goal past Mamardashvili as the keeper’s hand failed to keep the soaked ball out of the net.
Hungarian referee Istvan Vad ran on the sidelines for what looked like a VAR check. A different scenario quickly emerged.
Amid growing concerns for player safety, the official consulted Danish UEFA delegate Christian Kofoed before calling on both captains Andrew Robertson and Guram Kashia.
Escorting the players off the pitch for a 20-minute suspension, the Hampden pitch staff got to work with brushes, sweeping the pitch like curlers guiding the winning stone of the Winter Olympics.
For supporters who had traveled from all over Scotland, there was natural frustration. In reality, the officials had no alternative.
As Travis’ Why Does It Always Rain On Me echoed around Hampden, news of another ten-minute delay did nothing to lift the cloud of doubt surrounding the game.
News of St Mirren’s Park being designated as a relief location tonight highlighted the very real threat of a postponement. At 8:35 p.m., the officials reappeared with a few balls to carry out an inspection of the field. The tartan army held its breath.
Since the heady days of France 98, the national team has found the process of qualifying for major tournaments a slippery process. The fourth day is when the heavens open and lightning strikes. The last 12 attempts to win the fourth match in a group have ended in failure. A record of one win, one draw and ten losses shows where the slide begins. Skids are rarely as dangerous, as unexpected as here.
Fans have been issued public transport warnings due to the late nature of qualifying
As the ground staff worked intensively in the goal area occupied by Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn, the players reappeared for a warm-up before the game was announced to resume at 9.15pm.
In scenes reminiscent of Estonia 1996, only one team returned to the pitch at the scheduled time.
Had Georgia refused to play, UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body would have awarded the points to Scotland. So that’s when an hour and 45 minutes after the match kicked off, the game restarted with the host nation one goal ahead.
Despite Georgia’s possession on the muddy surface, they rarely threatened in an offensive sense. Scotland, on the other hand, were aiming down the left flank at every opportunity, with Dykes close to applying the finish on a Robertson cross minutes before McGinn completely missed a glorious chance from the penalty spot. Conditions clearly played a role.
Scotland finished the half strong, with McTominay teasing a fingertip save from Mamardashvili as the ball crept towards the bottom corner of the net.
Adding four minutes to an already delayed first half gave fans more worry than victory. For many, finding their way home before daylight was now the biggest concern.
In McTominay, national coach Steve Clarke found a player developing a happy habit of scoring goals in dark blue.
The Manchester United midfielder scored twice in the opening 3-0 win over Cyprus. He repeated the feat three days later with another brace against Spain.
And McTominay lifted some of the tension enveloping Hampden once more with the second goal after 47 minutes. It was a strike reminiscent of the second against Spain.
A surging run down the left flank – this time by Robertson rather than Kieran Tierney – a perfectly timed late run, a touch to control and a second to slam the ball low into the net with his left boot.
What a chance Ryan Porteous missed to make it three.
Scotsman Ryan Porteous (R) missed a glorious chance to secure a third goal for the hosts
Steve Clarke’s side have one foot in Euro 2024 after another victory
A free header from six yards flew over the bar as the Watford defender should have opened his Scottish account.
When Georges Mikautadze slammed a free shot into the side netting, it was a pretty much deserved let go for Scotland.
The luck held when Aaron Hickey’s outstretched arm made contact with the ball midway through the extra four minutes and the penalty was awarded after a VAR check.
Hailed as the new Maradona, Napoli superstar Khvicha Kvaratskhelia launched a terrible effort high and wide as a huge splash of water spurted from the penalty spot. Turns out the Glasgow rain has its uses.