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Jack Hendry: Defeat to NI ‘disappointing’ but Scotland remain positive for Euros

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Mar 2024

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Scotland defender Jack Hendry will remain positive and make the most of their Euro 2024 opportunity after a seventh game without a win saw some fans turn against the team.

Boos rang out during and after the 1-0 Hampden defeat by Northern Ireland as Scotland failed to make the most of the vast majority of possession.

Conor Bradley’s first-half strike, which came courtesy of Nathan Patterson’s error, gave Michael O’Neill’s young side something to hold on to, and they did so successfully as Scotland struggled to hit the target or carve out a series of clear-cut chances.

Scotland had not gone seven matches without victory for 19 years – that sequence helped spell the end of Berti Vogts’ reign as manager.

But such runs can turn quickly in the other direction, just as Steve Clarke’s side followed up their flying start to their European qualifying campaign with this sticky spell.

The 2005 low point was followed by a run which saw Scotland lose just twice in 14 matches, under Walter Smith and Alex McLeish, and Hendry abruptly dismissed suggestions their form was a concern heading into their group campaign against hosts Germany, Switzerland and Hungary.

When asked about the Hampden reaction, the centre-back added: “It probably says a lot about how successful we have been that they are disappointed with that result.

“Look, we were extremely disappointed in that changing room as well but it shows how far we have come that they are disappointed with that type of performance against Northern Ireland.

“We know the fans’ frustration, we understand it, and we will try and make them extremely proud in the summer.

“We have done extremely well to get ourselves into the Euros and won’t let that slip by us.

“We will go into that camp in June extremely positive, with the motive to try and get out of that group.

“It’s about remaining positive, sticking together and believing we are heading in the right direction, because we are, we believe we are.

“It’s disappointing but we have a lot to look forward to in the summer, and so do the fans. So we have just got to stick together and stay positive.”

Scotland were generally slow in possession before becoming more direct as the second half progressed, as key attacking players struggled to reach their recent standards.

Hendry said: “Northern Ireland made it very difficult for us. We just didn’t seem to get into the game. It was probably important we scored first in the match and we didn’t do that.

“Northern Ireland obviously got a break and managed to hold on to the lead and we struggled to break them down.

“These games happen, we won’t dwell on it too long. We will look forward to meeting up in the summer.

“It was just one of those nights. We dominated the game, possession-wise, it was just unfortunate we couldn’t break them down.

“You have sometimes got to give plaudits to the opposition. Northern Ireland defended really well, we were unfortunate not to break them down.

“We just take it on the chin, we stick together, we remain positive. It’s a setback but we will bounce back from it pretty quickly. We will certainly learn from it but not dwell on it too much.”

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