Scotland the brave?

On Saturday night I sat down and watched the Scotland v Lithuania game on TV. Once again I put myself through the kind of torture that can only mirror what it’s like to follow a lower league club.

That hopeless desire that one day you might just experience something wonderful with that inevitability that you never will. In that respect, Scotland are a lower league international side. 

International football, of course, is a different beast to club football altogether. The analogy is pretty close though.

The qualifying campaigns are long, drawn out affairs and in Scotland’s case unfulfilling. Having failed to reach a finals since 1998, the national side remain way off the pace.

After Saturday’s lucky draw at Hampden there appears to be no sign of that changing. Scotland always seem to come up short when they need exactly the opposite.

Gordon Strachan was a good appointment for the national side. He’s a good coach and was an iconic player so he fits the bill in terms of an international leader in my view.

The trouble is, Scotland were lack some exciting players on Saturday night. They have a good variety of talent playing at a decent level in England but there weren’t many on the park that I would have considered as star players.

Robert Snodgrass was probably the only guy I’d put in that category that started the match at Hampden. There might be a few who have moved with rather large price tags or command larte salaries but nobody got my heart racing against the Lithuanians. 

Lithuania are ranked around 70 places below Scotland, but Strachan’s players struggled to create chances let alone score goals. There is the basis of a good Scotland squad,but you need players out there providing a bit of inspiriation.

There are plenty of guys out there who haven’t even been capped and could do a very good job. When their time will come remains to he seen.

I might be slightly biased in my analysis,but not one Celtic player started. Leigh Griffiths, James Forrest and Kieran Tierney were all on the bench.

Are we really saying none of these guys were good enough to start against Lithuania at Hampden? And what about the other Celtic players yet to get a sniff at a Scotland squad such as Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor?

Of the Celtic outfield trio, one, two or all three should have started given their form this season. Coming off the bench is all well and good but I think Gordon set up wrong for this match.

Scotland should have hammered out a solid home win at Hampden. With a more attack minded team, Scotland could have ended this game early.

Intead they were chasing an equaliser. Had they gone on the front foot sooner, Strachan could have switched things and rested players for the next game.

Away points will be hard to come by in England, Slovenia and in Slovakia on Tuesday. We can add Lithuania to that list if Saturday’s match is anything to go by.

Winning home games is essential. Scotland won’t win the group, but they should be doing everything to ensure they amass the highest amount of points possible to see them into a play off position.

Realistcally, that is Scotland’s best hope. Just managing a draw against Lithuania was lucky, but it was also damaging to our campaign.

You don’t get much of a chance to recover in qualification. There are few games in which to make your mark and Scotland always seem to be dragging their heels.

The qualification process is far from decided. At this stage though, it was a blip that Gordon Strachan could have done without.

There will be more dramas ahead. As a Scotland fan of many years, I know that all too well.

Stevie Mac

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3 thoughts on “Scotland the brave?

  1. Scotland are a lower league club side because they keep fielding lower league players.
    Gordon strachan is entirely responsible for the mess he’s in, because his team selections are ridiculous.
    Only one Homebased player started. He’s fallen into the trap of believing English based players are better than anyone based in Scotland. If the English championship is so damn good, how come its player of the year has struggled to even touch the ball in Scotland, and forests player of the year has been so bad?
    Fact is, the English championship is t what they pretend it is, and the lower level of the premiership, isn’t that good either.
    Chris Martin ahead of Leigh Griffiths?
    Russell Martin ahead of my dead gran?
    Grant Hanley ahead of my dead grampa?
    Barry bannan ahead of anyone?
    Darren fletcher as captain?
    There’s a reason why we were lucky to get an undeserved draw on Saturday….

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  2. 7 of the 14 on Saturday have never played a first team game in Scotland. Many have never played in Scotland, and a few aren’t even Scottish.

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  3. While I like Strachan, I think he has lost the plot here. From the outset the attitude was “this is not a must win game”, oh yes it was! At home and we must look to win all these games who ever comes. It should have been clear that “Mighty” Lithuania were there to be beaten and gone at them from the off. Instead we start slow, give them pocession, loose initiative, loose the crowd and then nearly loose the match. Brendan showed us how to tackle it, start at 100 mph and continue from there and substitute the ones who get tired. I’m afraid its taxi for Strachan, but his successor MUST be choosen carefully.

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