Scotland head coach Steve Clarke says there aren’t ‘too many positives’ after a 2-0 World Cup qualification defeat to Denmark – with the likes of Arsenal man Kieran Tierney a talking point.
The Arsenal left-back has been played at left-centre-back by Clarke in the last 12 months but was moved to left-wing-back while captain Andy Robertson shifted to right-back from left-back. A defensive reshuffle did not work as a calamitous first half saw two goals scored by Denmark in the first 15 minutes. It was enough to defeat Scotland.
Clarke’s side have five points from four opening Group F matches, with the road to the World Cup in Qatar next year becoming more complex. Denmark lead the group by five points and wins against Moldova and Austria over the next six days are a must if Scottish qualification is to be had. Scotland have won one competitive match in nine.
Clarke said (Sky): “They blew us away a little bit with the intensity of their start. Conceding two goals in quick succession made it a long night for us. We showed a bit of character in the second half and we got better in the game but it’s a disappointing night.
“We expected a high energy start. When you look at both goals we could’ve done better. We didn’t give ourselves a platform in the game and it took us until 30 minutes before we got a feel for it. By that time the game had gone beyond our reach.
“I don’t think that was the sole cause of our problems first half. We defended too deep. We weren’t brave enough in the backline. When you lose there aren’t too many positives. We have to go away, recover well and get three points at Hampden on Saturday.”
Fans meanwhile have debated the game, with the decision to swap Arsenal and Liverpool left-back’s Tierney and Robertson out of their respective roles raising eyebrows.
Bizarre decisions from Clarke tonight. To play both Tierney and Robertson out of position is a new solution to getting them both on the pitch…. Once reverted to the set up that he’d been deploying for the last year or so we looked much more solid… #DENSCO
— Alex McCallum (@Alex_pension) September 1, 2021
Sorry Steve Clarke, but you have to play Tierney and Robertson where they played in Euros. Its so obvious. Please don't mess around again.
— william macaulay (@williammacaula2) September 1, 2021
We may have lost to Denmark anyway, but that 1st half was down to Clarke. Tierney in no position ever Robertson right back and not a right back in the squad. Very very poor
— Eddie Gordon (@Bigted7) September 1, 2021
Only caught end of the game tonight but by all accounts once team lines were out, the obvious question was why Clarke thought it was a good idea to play Robertson and Tierney as wing backs. KT in back 3 has worked. Left three CBs that have never played alongside each other. ???
— Ryan Rowe (@_ryanrowe) September 1, 2021
Much better second half but the game was pretty much done off the back of that awful first half. We didn’t need to mess about with Robertson & Tierney as we did and we needed Dykes as a focal point. Once those changes were made we were much more effective #ScottishFitbaw https://t.co/H636xZRwNS
— Graeme Taylor (@graha1874) September 1, 2021
miles better 2nd half tbf.. team had a much better balance about it with Tierney back into defence Robertson in his natural position and Fraser at rwb. Clarke got the team selection all wrong at the start and we paid for it big time 1st half.
— SPFL Banter *** (@splbanter) September 1, 2021
Clarke needs to keep Tierney at LCB imo
— Mar 🏴 (@DunnoMarley) September 1, 2021
Billy Gilmour again proving that he, Tierney, and Robertson should be first names on the team sheet.
The gulf in class between the two teams is frightening. Definitely looking the team ranked 40- something in the world playing a top 20 team.
— Cameron (@C_Forbes4192) September 1, 2021
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.