Thursday, 9 September 2010

Disaster Averted… But…

European Championships, Qualifying Group I, Hampden; Scotland 2 Liechtenstein 1

McManus Scores against Liechtenstein
During the victory which heralded Scottish Football’s anus mirabilis, Dennis Law and Jim Baxter were supposedly engaged in some sort of debate about how exactly to beat England.  Law, having played during the 9-3 drubbing in 1961, wanted to exact revenge by piling on the goals.  Baxter just wanted to extract the urine.  It seems at times as if the need to extract the urine has overtaken the need for results in Scottish football, and this was the case on Tuesday night when, no matter what the management and the players say, eleven players trooped on to the pitch at Hampden expecting to roll over a side 100 places below them in FIFA’s rankings system.

Scotland, were awful and at times bordered on the unprofessional.  They could not string passes together and gave the ball away far too many times.  Better sides than Liechtenstein would have taken Scotland on that performance, but then again Scotland would not have dropped their performance levels so alarmingly against better sides.  For such a poor side, Liechtenstein produced 2 of the best moves of the whole game either side of half time.

Weisser shot straight at McGregor before half time, but Mario Frick scored with a fantastic drive just after half time, topping off a good move which exploited Scottish players being out of position.  Frick’s goal woke Scotland up, as they belatedly began to go through the gears, with the equaliser coming about 15 minutes later through a Kenny Miller strike.

Scotland’s winner came deep in injury time, and evoked memories of their famous win in Limmasol during the qualification process for Italia 90. But still, we cannot escape the fact that Scotland were seconds away from drawing with Liechtenstein, and the can must be carried by the poor fortitude displayed by the players.  It is a mantra of mine, but it is one which bears repeating.  It’s not about how good you are, but how good you are upstairs.  Unfortunately the players did not display the correct mental attitude on Tuesday, which is a shame as they did so many things right on Friday in Lithuania.  We hope they can gather themselves together, as the Spain game is now approaching quickly.

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