The expectations weren’t particularly high for Scotland coming into this game against Russia, given that the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts are coming off the back of a strong tournament in their homeland. The Scots, on the other hand, continue to fail when it comes to securing qualification for either the World Cup or the European Championships.
In the end, Russia took their moments as and when they came to them, coming from behind to pick up all three points at Hampden Park. The atmosphere was strong and the home fans were intent on trying to force a positive result for their team, and they got off to the perfect start when John McGinn gave Steve Clarke’s men the lead.
Artem Dzyuba was able to pounce on poor defensive work from Scotland to level things up before half time, and then 15 minutes into the second half, a Stephen O’Donnell own goal put them in the driving seat. Russia looked fairly comfortable from that point on, giving their hopes of making it to Euro 2020 a big boost in the process.
Scotland captain Andy Robertson had the following to say. “I don’t know why we dropped off. We went a lot deeper. It probably played in to their hands because they had the big man up front. They ran off him in to more dangerous areas. At the start, when we were all pushing up and getting after the ball we were keeping it. Every time we got the ball after the goal we looked a bag of nerves.”
Then came Steve Clarke, who was as honest as you can be in regards to what comes next.
“We have to get the lads back in a positive frame of mind for Monday, try and get something out of the game,” he tells Sky Sports. “We have to look at the Belgium game now as almost a must-win, that’s the scenario we’ve put ourselves in.
“We’ve put ourselves in a difficult position in the group and certainly we have to get something from the game on Monday. If we can get three points it would give us half a chance of getting out the group.”
Scotland now face a must win game against Belgium on Monday, whereas Russia’s next challenge comes against Kazakhstan.
Scotland: Marshall (6), O’Donnell (5.5), Mulgrew (6.5), Cooper (6), Robertson (6.5), McGinn (7), Christie (6), McGregor (6), McTominay (6), Phillips (N/A), Forrest (6.5), McLean (6), McBurnie (6), Fraser (6.5)
Russia: Marinato (6), Fernandes (6.5), Semenov (6), Dzhikiya (6.5), Kudryashov (6), Ozdoev (6), Zobnin (5.5), Barinov (6.5), Ionov (6), Erokhin (N/A), Golovin (6), Akhmetov (N/A), Zhirkov (6), Dzyuba (7.5)
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos
Goals: McGinn :: Dzyuba, O’Donnell OG
Yellow Cards: Cooper, McLean, Zobnin, Barinov, Akhmetov
Red Cards: N/A
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