FORMER SFA president George Peat fears Scotland will never be able to qualify for the finals of a major tournament ever again if they come up short in their bid to reach Euro 2020 next summer.

The national team are currently bidding to make it through to their first competition since France ’98 – but an opening Group I defeat to Kazakhstan away last month has made their job difficult.

No fewer than 24 teams – an increase of eight countries on before - now progress to the finals via either the qualifying competition or the play-offs following a recommendation made by the SFA back in 2008.

And Peat believes there will be no hope for the country in future if they once again fail in their efforts in the coming months. “If we can’t qualify under the current system, and we get two attempts at it, we are in trouble,” he said.

“The fact that Scotland were the ones who proposed an increased number of countries in UEFA competitions is ironic. We wanted it increased from 16 to 24. We thought: ‘If we get it up to 24 then we’ll surely qualify’.

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“Then they introduced the Nations League. So as well as having more countries able to qualify they then made it easier for us to get in. If we can’t qualify this time then I can’t see us ever qualifying.”