Scotland’s return to major tournament action fell flat as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic at Hampden.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five things we learned from their Euro 2020 Group D opener:
Scotland’s knock-out dream in tatters
FULL TIME | Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic.— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) June 14, 2021
If Steve Clarke’s team were to become the first Scotland side to make it past the group stage at a major tournament then they realistically had to get off to a winning start against the Czechs. Instead, Patrick Schick’s brilliant double has left their hopes of progressing hanging by a thread. The Scots now head to Wembley to face England on Friday needing an almighty response.
Marshall dents his reputation
Goalkeeper David Marshall became a national hero with his penalty save in Serbia, but he was left red faced at Hampden after being caught out 40 yards off his line as Schick’s lob from just inside the Scotland half put the Czechs 2-0 up. The keeper had made a number of key saves already, but there was no way back for the hosts from that 53rd-minute hammer blow.
Clamour for young guns set to increase
There was a collective groan around the Tartan Army when the team was announced an hour before kick-off as Clarke opted against involving his talented teenagers Nathan Patterson and Billy Gilmour. The Scotland boss went with his tried-and-trusted servants like Stephen O’Donnell and Ryan Christie, but neither impressed as Scotland stumbled out the blocks. The manager is now likely to come under growing pressure in the days ahead to throw caution to the wind and start Chelsea youngster Gilmour and Rangers rising star Patterson.
Crash landing for Lyndon Dykes
Clarke was hoping to use his big frontman as a battering ram to open up the Czech defence, but instead the QPR striker found himself chasing a string of aimless long balls. The 14 aerial duels he contested in the first half alone was more than any player in the tournament so far. He could have given Scotland hope at two down but fired his finish straight at Tomas Vaclik.
Tartan Army keeping fingers crossed for Kieran Tierney return
The loss of the Arsenal man to a training ground knock this week was a huge blow to Clarke’s plans, but if there is one small hope to be taken from this damaging defeat is that the defender should be back in time to face England in London.
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