In Depth

Scottish fans and media blast team after horror show in Kazakhstan

Alex McLeish’s future is questioned but the Scotland boss will battle on

Kazakhstan 3 Scotland 0 Euro 2020 qualifying group I

“Embarrassing”, “utter humiliation”, “horror show” - this is how the Scottish press described the national team’s performance in their opening match of Euro 2020 qualifying in Kazakhstan.

Alex McLeish’s men were humbled 3-0 on Thursday by a side ranked 117 in the world.

Scotland found themselves two goals down after just ten minutes and they never recovered. Kazakhstan then sealed the victory with a third early in the second half.

McLeish was only re-appointed as Scotland boss in February 2018 but already his future is in doubt after such a dreadful start to Euro 2020 qualifying.

The Daily Record’s Keith Jackson said that Scotland’s flops have let McLeish down but it’s still time for the boss to go. Jackson wrote: “Yes, the end will be painful. It always is. But Scotland’s suffering simply has to stop.”  

According to a poll published by the Daily Record 90% of fans voted for McLeish to be sacked. However, despite calls for his firing, the Scottish Sun reports that McLeish has dismissed questions about his future and will battle on.

McLeish said: “I will just continue to do my job. Suffice to say I’m not going to get drawn into that question.”

After such a poor show in their group I opener, Scotland and McLeish will hope to get their qualifying campaign back on track.

On Sunday they travel to San Marino, who are officially rated the worst international team on the Fifa world rankings. Even they might fancy their chances against Scotland said Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Here we look at what the Scottish football writers, pundits and fans had to say about the 3-0 defeat.

Press reactions to Scotland’s loss in Kazakhstan

Brian McLauchlin, BBC Scotland: “Hapless Scotland suffered one of the most abject defeats in their history. The Kazakhs had only won one of their past 20 qualifiers, but the feeble Scots were unable to trouble them.”

Alan Pattullo, The Scotsman: “This was Alex McLeish’s worst nightmare. A hellish echo created by the closed roof at the Astana Arena only increased his discomfort. So too would the knowledge he had sent out Scotland’s youngest side since the 1970s only to see them picked apart inside ten minutes.”

Liam Bryce, Daily Record: “They closed the roof for us. They even cranked up the thermostat to keep out the chill. And still it wasn’t enough to stop hapless Scotland being caught absolutely freezing cold in Kazakhstan.”

Keith Jackson, Daily Record: “McLeish’s side was not just beaten by Kazakhstan on Thursday, which would have been embarrassing enough. No, it was thrashed into a state of utter humiliation as these players slumped to the most toe-curling defeat in the history of our national team.”

Michael Stewart, former Scotland midfielder, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland: “It was extremely dispiriting. The players didn’t know where to look. There will be a lot of pressure on the manager after this. The players looked completely lost. It didn’t look as if there was a clear idea of what they were trying to do. We were out-fought in the middle of the park, over-run in the final third, and up top we looked toothless.”

Willie Miller, former Scotland defender, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland: “Kazakhstan have no history of winning games and it’s an embarrassing performance by Scotland. The players looked leggy and disinterested in the second half. The three goals we lost, you can’t give them away against any team. Alex McLeish will know that and can’t defend that performance.”

How fans reacted on Twitter

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