Scotland came into this game with more pressure than you’d usually expect for a friendly, with their poor performance against Israel still looming large. Alas, aside from a few sparks here and there, this didn’t do much to calm the nerves behind the scenes with Portugal running out 3-1 winners at Hampden Park.
Alex McLeish hasn’t exactly done wonders for the national team since returning to the job, although you could certainly argue that they performed better in this one than they have done in a while.
The change of formation certainly helped matters for them as they showed more of an attacking prowess going forward in the first half, with the Euro 2016 champions being slow to get off the mark. Still, they weren’t able to take advantage, and the home crowd were left feeling pretty deflated heading into half time with Wolves forward Helder Costa scoring on his debut just two minutes before the break.
Breaking them down
Eder and Bruma both scored to make it three in the second half, and from that point on the friendly really did struggle to regain any momentum. Steven Naismith managed to score a consolation goal to give the Scots a reason to be happy, but it wasn’t really enough to heighten the spirits altogether.
It’s going to be interesting to see how McLeish approaches the next set of fixtures that come his way, because there’s every chance that he could continue to change things up with new players being brought into the squad. At this stage there aren’t all too many players that are standing out, and there always needs to be a period of reflection when you’re on these poor runs.
For Portugal it’s fairly reassuring for them to know that their younger, new stars are capable of getting the job done without Cristiano Ronaldo, because in a few years time he may well hang up his international boots for good.
Scotland: Gordon (6), O’Donnell (6.5), Hendry (6), McKenna (6.5), Robertson (6), Forrest (5.5), McGinn (6), Armstrong (6), McGregor (5), Naismith (6.5), McBurnie (6)
Portugal: Beto (6.5), Cedric Soares (6), Ruben Dias (6.5), Novo Neto (7), Rodrigues (6.5), Relvas de Oliveira (6), Danilo (6.5), Bruno Fernandes (6.5), Helder Costa (7), Macedo Lopes (6.5), Tué Na Bangna (6)
Referee: Ruddy Buquet
Goals: Naismith :: Helder Costa, Eder, Bruma
Yellow Cards: Relvas de Oliveira
Red Cards: N/A
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