in

GIBRALTAR 0 SCOTLAND 2: Scots aim for victory as opening Euro 2024 clash with Germany looms


The last time Scotland played Gibraltar against the Algarve, Gordon Strachan ended a six-goal spree by hailing one of the most memorable nights of his career. If Steve Clarke remembers this game at all, it won’t be with any lingering fondness.

In the penultimate warm-up encounter before taking on Germany in Munich in their Euro 2024 opener, it was good news that Scotland’s winless run finally ended at the eighth asking.

The bad came at the sight of Leeds defender Liam Cooper limping off the tackle after 12 minutes of play, just days after key striker Lyndon Dykes succumbed to an ankle injury.

Playing in their pastel blue kit, the Scots spent long spells playing like a team that might struggle to hit a barn door with a beach ball. They managed just five on target from 24 attempts, a laborious and crushing victory against a world number 203 team that is unlikely to give Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann too many sleepless nights.

Captain Andrew Robertson collected chance after chance after his 70th cap and Ryan Christie finally converted one after 58 minutes with an emphatic finish.

Substitute Che Adams’ spectacular volley five minutes from time gave the score a more acceptable gloss and boosted the striker’s claim to start against Germany ahead of Lawrence Shankland. Barring Dykes, the options on the ground are slim.

It was a tough watch for Scotland boss Steve Clarke (left) as he settled for a place in the stands

Ross McCrorie and Billy Gilmour address Ryan Christie (right) after he broke the deadlock

Ross McCrorie and Billy Gilmour address Ryan Christie (right) after he broke the deadlock

Che Adams (right) takes the plaudits from Ryan Jack after doubling Scotland's lead

Che Adams (right) takes the plaudits from Ryan Jack after doubling Scotland’s lead

Recommended Article
Footy star Matt Burton's teammates can't hide their laughter as he explains why he believes one of the silliest conspiracy theories ever

Eight years ago, the Scots traveled to this venue for a dead rubber after failing to reach Euro 2016. After time, Strachan gathered his players and staff on the pitch to pose for selfies in front of 11,000 supporters, and the celebration of failure epitomized how far the national team had come dropped

Clarke’s team returned to the Estadio Algarve last night with participation in Euro 2024 already in the bag. Even so, there was rarely much to celebrate in the performance this time. If anything, it confirmed the old theory that Scotland don’t play friendlies.

Ross McCrorie, the only man who could view the loss of regular right-backs Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson as lucky, was given a first senior cap.

In the absence of the unfortunate Dykes, who was ruled out of training last week, Hearts captain Shankland was given the chance to stake his claim in attack, with James Forrest, Christie and John McGinn behind him. It must be said that with average results.

There should be no overreaction to the stunning performance. As far from the Allianz Arena as you can imagine, the whole exercise felt like a pre-season friendly from the start. It is sometimes difficult to fake competitive conditions and the lack of urgency and pace in the Scottish game contributes to a lackluster performance.

Germany will be a different proposition, and for that reason alone, Gibraltar has seemed a strange way for many to prepare to face Toni Kroos and Jamal Musiala.

The British base has been a member of UEFA since 2013 and last won a match in November 2022 against Andorra.

Scotland assistant manager John Carver speaks to defender Liam Cooper after he had to come off in the second half, although it is not thought to be serious.

Scotland assistant manager John Carver speaks to defender Liam Cooper after he had to come off in the second half, although it is not thought to be serious.

Recommended Article
England fans gleefully insist Gareth Southgate 'can't survive' as Three Lions boss on live TV as Jude Bellingham scores Euro 2024 savior against Slovakia

Gibraltar is a combination of gnarly old pros and young jets. Their top scorer was Lincoln Red Imps midfielder Liam Walker – with a total of five goals. At the other end of the scale was James Scanlon, the 17-year-old Manchester United striker.

After 12 straight defeats – including a 14-0 defeat to France – Europe’s second-placed side were never expected to give Scotland many games.

By missing chance after chance, Clarke’s team made the whole deal more difficult than it needed to be.

The Scotland manager was unusually absent from the touchline, taking a seat in the stands to watch the players relax for a few minutes. After making just ten appearances for his club all season, Norwich defender Grant Hanley has been exemplary. It was the centre-back’s first game for the national team since the impressive win over Spain in Glasgow that sparked the march to Germany, and he really should have marked it with a first-half hat-trick.

Robertson, one of the few players in yesterday’s starting XI who is certain to start against Germany, took chance after chance and until Christie finally broke the deadlock, his teammates struggled to pass them all. Hanley set the tone when he missed the post after 10 minutes and headed the ball into the ground and over the bar from a corner.

Before half-time, the centre-half had a superb header saved by debutant Gibraltar keeper Jaylan Hankins before smashing an easy chance wide of the post from three yards.

He wasn’t the only culprit. Forrest sliced ​​a feeble effort wide while Kenny McLean headed Robertson’s cross wide.

Ross McCrorie made his Scotland debut at right-back and at least kept a clean sheet

Ross McCrorie made his Scotland debut at right-back and at least kept a clean sheet

Recommended Article
New Zealand Super Rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop has died aged 25

The hunch that the second half couldn’t get much worse turned out to be optimistic. Even the winning goal was for naught, Bournemouth forward Christie firing high into the net through a pile of bodies after Robertson hooked another cross onto the back post.

Cooper was subjected to media scrutiny the day before the game and commented on the worrying number of injuries that have dampened expectations of becoming the first Scotland team to reach the second stage of a major tournament for the first time.

Insisting that no one can ease up or hold back, the half-time substitute for Hanley must have wished he had stayed on the bench when he collapsed on the deck in the 78th minute. The Leeds defender limped heavily from the melee and looked a dejected figure. It looked bad.

The second goal was much more similar. Adams laced over McGinn’s cross towards the back post to make the score a bit more respectable.

Around the time Adams scored the second goal, Tommy Conway was converting a header for the Under-21s against Turkey. On a night where the lack of cut and thrust in attack could not be overlooked, Clarke may yet be tempted to push Bristol City forward.



What do you think?

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

All news and live updates

Jesse Marsch almost takes coaching role for $1 million, winner takes all ‘The Soccer Tournament’ before taking job in Canada, former USMNT star reveals