Gary Caldwell will earn his 50th cap for Scotland in the realisation that he is running out of time to play in a major finals with his country.
And the 30-year-old says they will use the pain of Euro 2012 failure to inspire them during the World Cup campaign that begins against Serbia.
"We have been part of the campaigns that have failed, but that only drives you on to want it even more," he said.
"So we have to use the pain to make sure it doesn't happen again."
The Scots' absence from the European Championship in Ukraine and Poland this summer means they are still looking for their first appearance at a major international tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.
Wigan Athletic defender Caldwell will captain the Scots as they entertain Serbia in their opening Group A qualifier ahead of Macdonia's visit on Tuesday.
"With every campaign that goes by, the next one becomes more important," he said.
"And, as a group of players, we have to live with that, it is down to us."
With several players missing through injury, Caldwell could be drafted again into the holding midfield role he undertook in last month's 3-1 friendly win over Australia.
"I still don't fancy it," he said. "But I am comfortable with it.
"I have played a lot of positions throughout my career and first and foremost I am a centre-half - that's my best position.
"But I have always said that if the manager wants me to do a job, whether it be midfield or wherever, then I will do my best to bring something to the team that helps us win the game."
Caldwell made his international debut 10 years ago in a 5-0 thrashing by France at the Stade de France in what was Berti Vogts' first game as Scotland manager.
"It has been a long time with a lot of highs and lows, but it is a great feeling to finally get to 50," he added.
"There is no better feeling in football, I think, than representing your country and playing in big games at Hampden.
"I have always been motivated to play for Scotland. It is going to be a great honour to be among some of the great names of Scottish football."