Jump to content
  • entries
    125
  • comment
    1
  • views
    5,311

The Euro dream turns into a nightmare: Scotland 0 Czech Republic 2


 We waited twenty-three years for this, and what did we get? An endless barrage of mediocre nausea-related puns regarding the name of the Czech goalscorer.


What we didn't get was the epic, all-action, never-say-die, no-one-lives-forever performance from the home side that we were looking for and, frankly, expecting. Heck, no-one even got booked.


Don't forget that Scotland were the home side here. Opportunities to play at a major tournament are like hen's teeth for us; to do it on our own turf is a chance that had to be grasped with both hands, not least against our only group opponent that didn't reach a 2018 World Cup Semi-Final. If this had been a 2-0 defeat at home to the Czech Republic in qualifying, in this manner, the postmortem would have been pretty grim. There should be little sympathy or patience just because "at least we qualified".


Okay, it came down to fine margins and sure, Scotland were grossly short-changed on this front. We could probably afford to lose Kieran Tierney less than any other player in the squad. The Czech goalkeeper had a fine match. Jack Hendry hit the bar when the score was 1-0. One simply cannot allow for an extraordinary moment like Patrik Schick's second goal and perhaps it is unreasonable to expect such a strike to be anything other than a knockout blow.


But on a day that demanded a carpe diem spirit, Steve Clarke set Scotland up in such a way that this match was only ever going to come down to fine margins. The starting lineup looked quite adventurous with Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie and John McGinn all there to ostensibly provide support to Lyndon Dykes but the reality was anything but. Somehow we managed to lack an attacking threat because we played too many attack-minded players.


With Tierney injured and Scott McTominay back in midfield none of the Scottish back three were either comfortable enough in possession or confident enough to step out with the ball. Carpe diem? We couldn't even manage carpe pila. With no Ryan Jack, Kenny McLean, Callum McGregor or Billy Gilmour on the pitch and McTominay closed down whenever he came deep, the only out ball was a long punt forward.


This worked marginally better when Dykes was joined by Che Adams in the second half, but even then the play was depressingly archaic: either hit it at Dykes and hope he can flick it on, or get it wide and ping it in the box. That's 'get it wide left', obviously, because for the vast majority of the match only Andy Robertson looked capable of making anything happen...and the Czechs were well aware of this, which is why they offered us the chance to pass to Stephen O'Donnell as much as possible.


No-one can doubt the Motherwell defender's effort, his contribution to team camaraderie and his impeccable home baking but at this level he is a Standard Grade maths student being asked to give a calculus lecture at St. Andrews. In the second minute he took a pass on the right touchline, looked up and let the ball run under his foot with no-one near him. He ruined one promising attack by inexplicably getting in Christie's way after the Celtic player had managed to beat two defenders. His crosses never beat the first man, he gave away possession time and again and ultimately he was the one who was so, so slow to get out and close down the two-on-one the Czechs created to cross for the opener.


That said, Grant Hanley has one job. ONE JOB. TO WIN HEADERS.


Perhaps the most depressing aspect was how little influence John McGinn had on the match. Most of Scotland's finest play under Clarke has involved the talismanic midfielder doing damage in the final third. Here, whilst he seemed to be playing ahead of Armstrong, he was neutered. It says it all that his sole highlight moment, a 360 degree spin out of trouble that left an opponent dazed and confused on the turf, took place twenty-five yards from his own goal...and that when he then looked for a teammate to pass to, there were none.


As a close friend texted after the final whistle, "most disappointing of all, Clarke was crap". Scotland's cerebral, savvy, streetwise coach was supposed to be the great equalizer that compensated for the lack of quality in some areas of the team. When we look back on this game for years to come, people will think of that fifty-yard strike, but many will not forget that Scotland's team selection hamstrung them from the start.


So, what does Clarke do now? Unfortunately, the only answer I can think of is 'pray'. All the optimism has been sucked out of the Tartan Army now and replaced by an overwhelming feeling of dread in the pits of our stomachs; that's not Schickness at the Czech result, it's the very real fear that if we play like  that at Wembley on Friday we are going to be humiliated.



Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly.

View the full article

0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Surprise Surprise   East End Park is the venue on Saturday as surprise Championship leaders Inverness visit the Kingdom of Fife to take on surprise packet Dunfermline Athletic. I say surprise packet, as that is exactly what The Pars have become under the guidance of former Alloa Athletic manager Peter Grant. I fully expected the Pars to be challenging at the opposite end of the table given their financial backing and the assumed quality of their squad. Unfortunately for them they find themselves languishing at the foot of the table and winless after four games with only a draw against Morton  to show for their troubles. They do have a Fife derby to come against Raith Rovers, but that won't be easy either. They have shipped three goals against Partick, Arbroath and Ayr United and their fans are now talking boycotts in an attempt to use fan power to force the board to act now before their season is completely ruined. Look out for the mass exodus on the hour. However, beware the scalded cat! In stark contrast, Inverness are on a winning run of five games on the bounce in the Championship, have the manager of the month in Billy Dodds, and sit top of the table having already beaten three of the favourites in Raith, Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle. What could possibly go wrong? PPV Stream @ ParsTV £12 OFFICIAL PREVIEW ROBBO BOOK VIDEO WATCH SUPPORTERS BUS Stat Attack First Competitive Meeting Aug 7th, 1999 League (A) 0 - 4 Most Recent Competitive Meeting Mar 20th, 2021 League (Championship) (A) 1 - 0 Last 10 Competitive Meetings 1 - 0 (A) 1 - 1 (H) 1 - 3 (A) 2 - 1 (A) 2 - 0 (H) 1 - 0 (A) 1 - 0 (H) 0 - 1 (A) 2 - 2 (H) 3 - 0 (A) Biggest Victories Jul 26th, 2016 League Cup (Group C) (A) 5 - 1 Heaviest Defeats <ouch> Aug 12th, 2017 League (A) 1 - 5 Aug 7th, 1999 League (A) 0 - 4 Highest Attendance Apr 10th, 2004 Scottish Cup (Semi-Final) (N) 13,255 Head 2 Head Venue Pld Won Drn Lst For Agst + / - Home 21 9 8 4 27 19 +8 Away 22 9 8 5 28 25 +3 Neutral 2 0 1 1 3 4 -1 Total 45 18 17 10 58 48 +10 Overall stats sway in our favour with the last ten meetings showing that Inverness have been more dominant in recent years. A far cry from the 4-0 thrashing dished out on our first venture into the Championship back in August 1999 when the Pars brushed aside the upstarts from the Highlands who dared to move up through the leagues to challenge the central belt dominance. In our defence we were reduced to ten men and conceded two late goals.       Pld W D L F A +/- Pts 1. Inverness CT 5 5 0 0 7 1 6 15 2. Kilmarnock 5 4 0 1 6 1 5 12 3. Arbroath 5 3 1 1 12 4 8 10 4. Partick Thistle 5 3 0 2 11 8 3 9 5. Queen of the South 5 2 0 3 7 8 -1 6 6. Raith Rovers 4 1 1 2 6 6 0 4 7. Ayr United 5 1 1 3 5 8 -3 4 8. Morton 5 1 1 3 5 9 -4 4 9. Hamilton Academical 5 1 1 3 6 12 -6 4 10. Dunfermline 4 0 1 3 3 11 -8 1 Other fixtures this weekend, all 3:00pm Saturday Hamilton v Ayr United Morton v Raith Rovers Partick v Kilmarnock Queens v Arbroath LATEST TEAM NEWS Michael Gardyne missed out last week having picked up a knock in training prior to the Buckie Thistle cup game. Looks like we are mostly free from injury with Billy Mckay and Lewis Jamieson champing at the bit as they remained on the bench last week. Look for a relatively unchanged squad this weekend. If it's not broke, don't fix it! We have also recruited someone to watch videos. Good work if you can get it. Dunfermline will have Owain Fon Williams, Nikolay Todorov and Kai Kennedy in their squad as they look to get off the bottom of the table.   Aaron Doran will make his 300th appearance this weekend. Let's see if he can add to his 50 goals he has scored for the Caley Jags   View full article
    • This is a trial by the Serimax company to ascertain whether sending their apprentices on training experience placements. It ties in with the company's aim to work within the local communities that they are situated in. It sounds that this can only be a positive. It would be interesting to see if it is still happening at Dungwall and what the gudgies thought of it. The only worry that I have is that the club bring in Balfour and Caley D to train them up. Or even worse - Charlie Bannerman.
    • I agree. I think this league race will be very closely run and every slight edge we can manage might just make the difference to getting over the line in first place.
    • HT: FT: 1st Scorer ICT: 1st Scorer Accies: Crowd: Result / Table expected to be updated by 2200 06 Oct
    • Mrs Gringo HT: 1-1 FT: 1-2 1st Scorer ICT: Sutherland 1st Scorer Pars: O'Hara Crowd: 2666 Gringo HT: 0-0 FT: 1-2 1st Scorer ICT: Duku 1st Scorer Pars: Todorov Crowd: 2333
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. : Terms of Use : Guidelines : Privacy Policy