Scotland: Are Steve Clarke's side now on the brink of Euro 2024 place?

Don't rub your eyes. Don't pinch your arm. You're not dreaming.

Scotland have started their Euro 2024 campaign with a record-breaking four wins from four. Scotland have picked up 12 points from 12 on offer. Scotland are eight points clear at the top of Group A.

Yes, we're only at the halfway stage. Yes, there are still four games to go. But it's getting more and more difficult to question any members of the Tartan Army who are looking to act fast and save a few quid by booking a cheap flight to Germany.

However, we all know fine well from previous experience that our bubble of optimism can pop at any point. After all, it's the way we are conditioned.

So just how close are Clarke's men to reaching a second successive European Championship? Going into Friday's match in Cyprus, BBC Scotland has a look...

'I can't see us throwing it away'

Not even the chaos of the late comeback against Norway, or the daftness that came with the 90-minute rain delay win over Georgia, can overshadow the magnitude of the six points Scotland have just collected this camp.

Predictably, Clarke aimed to restore calm. "We're not going to qualify with 12 points," he said. Right enough, Steve. Fifteen is usually enough in a five-team group though.

A victory away to bottom seeds Cyprus in Scotland's next qualifier would nudge them up to that figure. In Euro 2020 qualifying, 15 was enough for the Czech Republic. Fourteen was enough for Wales.

Hypothetically speaking, it's probably fair to assume that Norway - Group A's third-seeded nation - are still Scotland's biggest threat for a top-two finish. That's assuming Spain also progress.

Group A table
Group A table

The Norwegians got back to winning ways by collecting three points against Cyprus last time out - their first victory of this qualifying campaign - but Stale Solbakken's men can only reach a maximum of 16 points.

Scotland are just two wins away from surpassing that tally. In fact, just five points from their final four qualifiers - Cyprus (A), Spain (A), Georgia (A) and Norway (H) - would guarantee Clarke's side finish above Norway.

You have to think that would surely be enough to finish in the top two, which would book a place at next summer's finals. In short, Scotland are in an unbelievable position, one that would take an almighty collapse to mess up - even by Scottish standards.

"The Tartan Army can go home anticipating the Euros," former Scotland centre-back Willie Miller said on BBC Sportsound. "I can't see us throwing away the position that we're in now.

"It would have to be an incredible sequence of results for us not to qualify. Not that you're going to get Clarke confirming that, but that's my opinion."

Glass half-empty time

As the games go by, it's getting harder to sprinkle pessimism on this. But we've been following football long enough to know we can all come crashing back down to earth very quickly.

With the talent Norway - who have to come to Glasgow in their final group game - have in their squad, you would expect their win over Cyprus to click them into gear. They will certainly look to mount some pressure on Scotland.

Despite the comfortable victory at Hampden over Georgia, it would also be daft for anyone of a Scotland persuasion to underestimate a journey there.

Defeats in Tbilisi in both 2007 and 2015 proved fatal to Scotland's efforts to qualify for the 2008 and 2016 Euros. Like you needed any reminding. We remember them all too well.

Factor in that three of Scotland's final four qualifiers are away from home - including a very tough trip to Spain - and the job is far from done.

However, it wouldn't be smug to say things feel different under this head coach and group of players. They have set new standards. They are spoiling generations of Scotland fans who have suffered for too long.

You would be daft to bet against them making more dreams a reality.