Scotland survived an early scare against a makeshift Czech Republic side as Steve Clarke will have been left unimpressed with some of his fringe players in the narrow 2-1 win.
Clarke made five changes from the draw with Israel at Hampden on Friday night as John Fleck, Liam Cooper, Stuart Armstrong, Kenny McLean and Liam Palmer came into the side with Ryan Jack, Kieran Tierney, James Forrest, John McGinn and Callum McGregor making way.
After conceding a shock opener after 11 minutes, Lyndon Dykes pulled Scotland level with 28 minutes played, exposing some very clear weaknesses in the Czech defence to fire home Liam Palmer’s cross.
Clarke’s side took the lead five minutes after the break when Andy Robertson was felled in the area allowing Ryan Christie to step up and score from the spot for the second time in two games.
Scotland were far from convincing though and there will need to be vast improvements ahead of next month’s games if there is to be any hope of reaching Euro 2020 through the playoffs.
Despite that, Scotland sit top of League B Group 2 after Israel’s draw but it is f
Here’s how Clarke’s side performed in Olomouc:
David Marshall – 7
Left exposed at the opener and forced to pull off an impressive stop just a few minutes later. Was kept busy as the Czechs peppered his goal with long-range strikes and had to remain alert as the hosts seemed content to try their luck from anywhere.
Liam Palmer – 6
Sheffield Wednesday star slotted in at right-wingback and it was his cross that set up Lyndon Dykes for the equaliser after 28 minutes. Impressed going forward and may well have played himself into contention for a start in next month’s fixtures.
Scott McKenna – 6
McKenna was one of five outfield players to retain his place from Friday night and played well enough in a sometimes shaky Scotland back three. Never played particularly poorly but the teething problems with the new system never helped.
Liam Cooper – 6
Third cap for the Leeds United skipper and he did his chances of a regular place no harm without ever excelling.
Andy Robertson – 6
Won a slightly controversial penalty in the second half but a decent performance from the captain. Tried to get forward and exploit the spaces in behind the Czech defence but never always had options for a pass.
Scott McTominay – 5
The Manchester United star came in for criticism following Friday’s draw with Israel and tonight will only have those who were upset on Friday feeling vindicated. Two games in and two games it just hasn’t worked in defence for the Manchester United man.
Kenny McLean – 4
Surprise start for the Norwich City midfielder and his slack pass gifted the ball to the hosts for the opener. His night never got much better after that and he struggled to know where to position himself both in and out of possession.
Ryan Christie – 7
Christie has been Scotland’s talisman in recent games but struggled to really influence the game for long spells. Had one good chance in the opening 45 but the keeper came careening out to head it clear, before scoring from the penalty spot after 50 minutes. Christie has now scored three goals and supplied five assists in his last eight starts for the national side.
John Fleck – 6
The Sheffield United star made his first international start and was one of the few players who kept trying to make things happen. Lots of hard work without much end product though. Replaced by McGinn after 70 minutes.
Stuart Armstrong – 7
Booked shortly after the restart and was a constant threat for the hosts. Lacked that killer ball but probably Scotland’s biggest threat. Replaced by Callum McGregor 10 minutes from the end.
Lyndon Dykes – 8
QPR man made a good impression on his debut against Israel on Friday night and followed that up with his first international goal. Another good performance before injury ended his night.
Substitutes: Callum Paterson (5) Replaced Dykes after the QPR striker went down injured. John McGinn (5) On for Fleck with 20 minutes left. Callum McGregor (5) Replaced Armstrong 10 minutes from the end.