Criticising Scotland players misses the point, Steve Clarke’s tactics were terrible

As we all know, Scotland lost 5-1 in Munich last night in the Euro 2024 opener.

Andrew Robertson of Scotland applauds the fans after defeat to Germany during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Germany and Scotland at Munich Football Arena on June 14, 2024. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Two Celtic players started, and both Callum McGregor and Anthony Ralston have come in for criticism with the former being the subject of a contemptuous dig from the former Rangers FC’s former manager Graeme Souness in the ITV broadcast.

Looking through that Scotland team you would struggle to give pass marks to any player and it’s fair to say that Scotland will have to improve dramatically if they have any chance of getting out of Group A and progressing to the knock-out rounds for the first time ever.

A tactical own goal from Steve Clarke

The problem last night wasn’t really down to the players under-performing. It was more to do with the tactics employed by Steve Clarke and his staff that were so easily dismantled by what is a top quality German side. Indeed last night the hosts set down a marker that they are going to have a big say in this tournament to become one of a handful of host nationals to with the European Championships.

Steve Clarke seemed to have a back five with two wing-backs – Ralston and the Scotland captain Andy Robertson pushing forward. That in itself left huge gaps and both players had a dazed and confused look about them, especially in that embarrassing first half. Then there was a midfield four and each and everyone of them had a shocker. Three at the back and one up top providing zero threat to the German goal (Scotland only got a consolation late on via a freakish own goal).

 Craig Levein’s infamous tactics in Prague 

Remember when Craig Levein in his time as Scotland manager player with a front zero and was heavily criticised, after losing in Prague?  Surely, in a similar manner,  Steve Clarke should be questioned for last night’s shambles?  If the German side goes on and hammers both Hungary and Switzerland then we can perhaps put our hands up and say the hosts are just too good and that’s all there is about it.

However if it turns out that Scotland had merely given the Germans a tactical advantage through our own foolishness then that won’t reflect well on the Scotland manager and his staff.

Put simply the Germans could not believe their luck last night as the Scottish players looked baffled by what they were being asked to do ad the formation that they were asked to play.

That’s not how you park the bus!

As Celtic supporters we are used to playing against low block teams, the likes of Kilmarnock under Derek McInnes is a good example. The damage limitation, holding onto what you’ve got etc that we’ve seen so many times in league matches at Celtic Park, didn’t look like it was the plan last night andif it was it was the worst ever attempt at parking the bus!

The one thing everyone expected – including the Germans – was for Scotland to be hard to beat.  The opposite turned out to be the case.

Scotland were the authors of their own misfortune in Munich and the blame must lie with the manager.

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