11 October 2019 05:49
Analysis after Steve Clarke's men suffered another heavy defeat in their European Championships campaign, going down 4-0 to Russia in Moscow. John Fleck was decent John Fleck battles for possession during Scotland's match with Russia. Let's start with the positive - because it's the only one. John Fleck made his international debut at the base of midfield and he is one of few Scotland players who can look himself in the mirror and be happy with his performance. The Sheffield United man was composed in possession, regularly found teammates, got stuck in on the defensive side and generally looked like he believed that he belonged to be on that stage, which is something you cannot say for many others in dark blue.
It's tempting to make a joke that, but of course, we've uncovered another good centre-midfielder when our squad is bursting with them. Michael Devlin getting called up to the Scotland squad wasn't particularly surprising or alarming this time last season. The former Hamilton Accies defender had started the campaign in superb form for Aberdeen and was outperforming Scott McKenna, who had already made himself something of an automatic selection under previous boss Alex McLeish. But a year is a long time in football. Devlin's once-promising 2018/19 campaign was wrecked by injury and he's not started this season well at all.
With 57 minutes on the clock in Moscow they were in a decent position. Thirteen minutes later they were well on the road to another embarrassment in a group campaign chock full of them. Robert Snodgrass' inclusion was probably based around the fact he's just about the only player with a gallus attitude. It's just a shame he's coming to the end of his career because this squad is sorely lacking in big characters to help the collective come through tough situations. A lack of consistency in selection is surely an issue In the four games since his first match against Cyprus, Steve Clarke has made 21 changes to his starting XI. This is a marked contrast from what we learned to expect from the manager when he was in charge of Kilmarnock, when you knew exactly who would be lining up for the Rugby Park side. It worked to their advantage as they quickly became a well-oiled machine. There has been nothing like that with Scotland thus far. While injuries have played a significant part, it is the sign of a manager who has little to no idea yet what his strongest starting XI is. However, it could easily work the other way. Without consistency in selection it may become increasingly difficult to find that elusive formula. With only three games remaining in the group he's running out of time to find his best line-up and to get those players comfortable performing with each other. John McGinn, Ryan Fraser and Andrew Robertson. Our brightest starts continue to marvel their club supporters, who worship the ground they walk on. Once they pull on the dark blue kit, though, they look as if they'd struggle to get a game at Tynecastle. The match in Moscow was another example of our best players failing to come anywhere close to living up to their reputation as club players. There are issues with the squad, which we've already touched upon, but surely it's not so much of a house-of-cards scenario that the deficiencies up front and at centre-back make our right winger play well below his typical standard. It would appear there is a cloud of negativity hanging over the entire set-up, something which wasn't immediately shifted when Clarke replaced Alex McLeish as manager. The good news is that, in San Marino, Cyprus and Kazakhstan, even a Scotland side as bereft of confidence as this one has an opportunity to finish the group with three consecutive victories and take some momentum into the Nations League matches next year. Virgil van Dijk conceded nerves crept in when Netherlands were trailing Northern Ireland with 10 minutes to go, yet the Oranje captain felt his team's 3-1 victory was entirely deserved. Netherlands moved top of Group C with their 17th successive victory at De Kuip, though their visitors looked like pulling off a heist in Rotterdam when substitute Josh Magennis climbed above Matthijs de Ligt to head home with 15 minutes remaining. Yet Memphis Depay levelled five minutes later before Luuk de Jong poked Netherlands ahead in stoppage time and Depay added a late third to move Ronald Koeman's side top of Group C. Netherlands, Germany and Northern Ireland are all on 12 points in the Euro 2020 qualifying group - yet the former two nations have a game in hand and are on course to secure the top two spots. "We continued to search patiently," Van Dijk told NOS. Netherlands had just one shot on target in the first half and barely threatened Bailey Peacock-Farrell's goal before Magennis' opener, at which point Van Dijk became slightly concerned. "You come back 1-0 [down] and the nerves creep into it, but we have responded well," Van Dijk added. Of course it wasn't our best game." With a home game against Netherlands and a trip to Germany to come for Northern Ireland in November, their chances of reaching Euro 2020 via the group appear slim. "We just said after the game that we shouldn't get the heads down," Magennis told Sky Sports. Story continues "We put in incredible work rate off the ball. We knew how difficult it was going to be. "We knew they would get chances, and unfortunately for us they took three of them tonight. Live Scores Netherlands v Northern Ireland - 10/10/19 ⇔ Finished Matches Results ⇔ Standings Subscribe Our lovely newsletter with match spoilers, facts, memes, headlines, into your inbox every Friday Netherlands vs Northern Ireland. The players showed the next statistics to minute: total amount of freekicks - 4, total amount of target shots - 1, total amount of target misses - 1, total amount of offsides - 0. We see the next statistics during the 1st period of this football game: total amount of freekicks - 10, total amount of target shots - 2, total amount of target misses - 2, total amount of offsides - 0. Peacock-Farrell, Bailey(Northern Ireland) has fouled on the opponent. The main referee demonstrates the y.card to Peacock-Farrell, Bailey. Peacock-Farrell, Bailey (Northern Ireland) has fouled. We see a dirty action and the yellow for Evans, Jonny(Northern Ireland). Babel, Ryan substitutes Malen, Donyell at the 66 minute. The substitution of the players of Netherlands at the 66 minute: Babel, Ryan on Malen, Donyell. Netherlands is doing a substitution. De Roon, Marten substitutes van de Beek, Donny at the 66 minute. The substitution of the players of Netherlands at the 66 minute: De Roon, Marten on van de Beek, Donny. Northern Ireland decided to do a substitution. Lafferty, Kyle substitutes Magennis, Josh at the 67 minute. The substitution of the players of Northern Ireland at the 67 minute: Lafferty, Kyle on Magennis, Josh. The 67 minute. We see a foul and the yellow card for Smith, Michael(Northern Ireland). The ball is in the net! Magennis, Josh has scored pretty memorable goal! Netherlands decided to do a substitution. Dumfries, Denzel replaces De Jong, Luuk at the 78 minute. The substitution of the players of Netherlands at the 78 minute: Dumfries, Denzel on De Jong, Luuk. Depay, Memphis (Netherlands) has scored a goal! Saville, George replaces Thompson, Jordan at the 83 minute. The substitution of the players of Northern Ireland at the 83 minute: Saville, George on Thompson, Jordan. Northern Ireland swaps the player. Evans, Corry swaps Flanagan, Tom at the 87 minute. The 87 minute and the substitution of the players(Northern Ireland): Evans, Corry on Flanagan, Tom. The substitution of the players of Northern Ireland at the 87 minute: Evans, Corry on Flanagan, Tom. The main ref is whistling! Netherlands scores! Netherlands scored a goal!