Misfiring Scots can take solace from top spot
System: Steve Clarke (pic: SNS Group)
Czech Republic 1 Scotland 2
It wasn’t pretty, it was barely effective but Scotland got the job done in Olomouc.
Steve Clarke’s side was on a hiding to nothing against a makeshift Czech side thrown together at the last minute with the team – and coaching staff – that defeated Slovakia on Friday now in quarantine.
The Scots were favourites going into the match, a tag which sat uneasily on their shoulders as they struggled to overcome their sprightly hosts, the visitors having to hang on at the end against a team which had trained together just once before kick-off.
Apart from the comeback victory which sees them sit top of League B Group 2, there were precious few positives for Clarke to take from a game which saw Lyndon Dykes net his first international goal, and Ryan Christie slot home a penalty for the second match in succession.
A month away from the Nations League semi-final against Israel, and Clarke seems no nearer to finding his preferred starting XI.
“Everyone told us before the start of the game that we had to win the game so we win the game. We take the three points and go home,” said the Scotland manager.
“We’ll probably get a little bit of criticism for the performance but we can work on the performance.”
Captain Any Robertson said: “It was far from ideal for them but it wasn’t ideal for us. Three points, we’re top of the group and we can’t complain.
“We were probably on a hiding to nothing. Falling behind, we knew they were going to be full of character. They’re obviously proud to represent their country.
“It’s a new system under this manager. Some people expect it just to click overnight but it doesn’t happen like that.”
In the group’s other match, Israel netted a late equaliser at home to Slovakia.
Goals: Czech Republic – Pesek (12); Scotland – Dykes (27), Christie (52, pen).