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.

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"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."

"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."

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Manager Steve Clarke said he was overjoyed to give the Scottish people something to cheer about during "a difficult time for the nation" amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It’s a very difficult time for Scotland because of the coronavirus pandemic and we spoke before the game about the chance to put a smile on their faces," Clarke told a news conference.

"We know what we have achieved and what we had set out to achieve. Unbelievable, the character the players have shown. It would have been easy to crumble after conceding in the last minute of regular time from set play, but we dug in.

"We've been building towards this moment and tonight the players and the nation can be proud of themselves."

Both sides wasted chances in extra time before Scotland keeper David Marshall saved Serbia's final penalty in the shootout from Aleksandar Mitrovic to send his side through.

Marshall revealed the officials had told him to put his celebrations on hold as there was a VAR check for encroachment when Mitrovic took the penalty.

"Immediately after the save the referee said 'don't celebrate yet because there is a VAR check'," he said.

"All you can do is pray because the lads were already celebrating. We deserved the win and we are delighted for all the fans and our families who couldn't be here."

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