"The game against Wales can be a turning point," said Craig Brown, who led the nation to the World Cup in France in 1998 and who believes Craig Levein can end the finals drought that has dogged the country ever since.
Scotland lag in the race to qualify for Rio de Janeiro after drawing against both Serbia and Macedonia at Hampden and now face Wales in Cardiff on Friday and then Belgium in Brussels next week.
But Brown is bullish. "You have to look at the match and say we have better players than Wales and that we should prove that on the park,'' said the 72-year-old.
"The Welsh team are not flavour of the month, given the recent result against Serbia [who beat them 6-1].
"This could be the turning point for us. I do not think all is lost."
Brown revealed that, as Scotland manager, he preferred to start the campaign with ''tricky away ties''.
"It is important to come from behind in sport, as in golf or tennis, when momentum can count for so much," said the Aberdeen manager.
"I liked the idea of almost stealthily advancing to the top of the group. And I always liked a big match at home to finish.''
The biggest of those for Brown was in October, 1997, when his Scotland side defeated Latvia 2-0 in front of 47,613 fans at Parkhead to progress to the World Cup finals in France.
"It was a great atmosphere. We had to do two laps of honour," said Brown with a smile.
The former Dundee and Rangers player also led Scotland to the finals of the European Championships in 1996 and was on the national team staff at five major finals as an assistant to both Sir Alex Ferguson and Andy Roxburgh.
So what is the major reason for the failure by Scotland to qualify since 1998?
"There are two causes. The first is that we have been unlucky with injuries. For example, big Alex McLeish led us to a great victory over Ukraine but then we travelled to Georgia and he was forced to make five changes through injury," said Brown.
"There was also an inconsistency in selection under Berti Vogts and we took some time to recover from that as he blooded too many players."
But he believes the firm of Fletcher & Fletcher can put Scotland back on the road to Rio.
"We simply need our best players on the park and Steven Fletcher and Darren are two of the best we have," he said.
Of the controversy over the exclusion of the Sunderland striker, Brown said simply: "We want Fletcher playing, however that happens. I cannot talk because I never brought Richard Gough back.
"He [Craig Levein] has to be his own man. He can not be influenced by outside forces."