(Reuters) - Scotland midfielder Ryan Christie said qualifying for the team’s first European Championship finals since 1996 was a “monkey off the back” in an emotional interview after Thursday’s penalty shootout victory over Serbia in a playoff.
Christie’s opener was cancelled out by a late Luka Jovic goal before Scotland won 5-4 on penalties, as goalkeeper David Marshall saved Serbia’s final spot-kick taken by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
“I hope everyone back home is having a party tonight. We’ve been through it so many years. We know it, you know it, everyone knows it and it’s a monkey off the back now. We’re going to move on from here,” a teary-eyed Christie told Sky Sports.
“It’s just for everything. I’m gone... for the whole nation, it’s been a horrible year for everyone and we knew we could give a little something to this country.
“It’s an amazing night.”
Christie, who was substituted in the 87th minute, said the team showed great character to book a place in the 24-nation tournament where they will face England, Czech Republic and Croatia in Group D next year.
“... The way the game went tonight, conceding that late equaliser, we dug in and then penalties away from home and big Marsh comes up. Amazing, unbelievable,” he added.
“When you’re on the pitch and you feel you can impact it, but the moment you’re off you can’t watch it. It’s horrible, those penalties are probably the worst thing I’ve ever been through.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin
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