Football fans across Scotland saw their team lose 2-1 to Italy during a tension-filled key Euro 2008 qualifier match at Hampden stadium in Glasgow.
Scotland took on world champions Italy, and needed a win to guarantee qualification.
Pubs, clubs, supermarkets and bookmakers reaped a multi-million pound bonanza, even though the result went against the home side.
First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister Gordon Brown were at the game.
About 51,000 Scottish fans had crammed into Hampden to roar on their team.
A win would have secured entry into next year's championships in Austria and Switzerland.
A Barry Ferguson equaliser just after half-time gave the crowd a boost and the noise around the Glasgow stadium was deafening.
But, in the closing stages an Italian header ended Alex McLeish's Euro dream.
Tens of thousands people had earlier enjoying the build-up and the game at mass screenings across Glasgow, and in pubs, bars and clubs around the country.
About 6,700 people had bought tickets to a huge Tartan Party on the Green in Glasgow.
Before the 1700 GMT kick-off, manager McLeish said he was sure Scotland could handle the pressure of the occasion.
The national side have not been at a major championship since they reached the 1998 World Cup.
After the match, the prime minister said: "Alex McLeish and his team have done something remarkable in this campaign.
"They have restored Scotland's pride in the national team. Even today they were magnificent and brave in the way they came back from losing an early goal.
"Today may be disappointing, but I'm so proud of what Scotland have achieved playing in the hardest qualifying group we have ever had.
"Thanks to what Alex and the team have done, every Scotland fan must have optimism in their hearts as we look forward to the World Cup campaign.
Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown watched the game
"Scotland may be disappointed now, but we are also immensely proud."
Scotland's first minister said that despite the disappointing result, the team had restored national pride and had won international respect.
Mr Salmond added: "So much credit has to go to Walter Smith, who began the renaissance in 2005, and Alex McLeish, who took it even further.
"Scotland's future looks assured - with such a young team, many of the players could still be playing in a decade's time.
"They have proved they can live with the best, and finishing third in a group with the World Cup winners, finalists and quarter-finalists is a terrific achievement.
"I am convinced the magnificent Tartan Army won't have to wait long before they are supporting the players at a major tournament again."
Nicol Stephen, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland, said the squad had made the whole of the country proud.
He said: "With head held high, and spirits higher, they played with determination and skill."