Calum McGregor celebrates scoring Scotland’s goal in the Euro match against Croatia at Hampden. John McGinn and Kieran Tierney are on their way to congratulate him.
By Rory Murphy
Scotland’s dream died at Hampden Park last night. After grinding out a highly praised draw against England last Friday night Steve Clarke’s side went into the match against Croatia with a chance to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time in the country’s history.
However, it was not to be as Luka Modric’s strike sent a dagger to the heart of their hopes in what was an accomplished performance by the 2018 World Cup finalists.
The outcome was predictable, but not for Scottish newspapers and other media.
Their over the top Eurofest coverage exaggerated Scotland’s chances of going forward in the Euros to an extent even greater than former Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay’s predictions that nationalising the construction of two Calmac ferries would solve the government’s problems in that regard.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, of course, joined in the madness by having a home movie made of herself leaping up and down like a dervish while watching the match.
We really need to grow up.
I felt really sorry for Stevie Clarke and the promising young Scottish players who were the target of igorant, uninformed criticism in the press.
Down in Wembley England managed to do enough to get the better of Czech Republic with Raheem Sterling netting the only goal of the game but Gareth Southgate’s side know they need to step it up a gear if they’re to be ready for a likely meeting with France, Germany or Portugal in the last-16.
Tonight the group of death will be decided with France well aware that they can land a knockout blow on the defending champions Portugal while Germany take on Hungary at the Allianz Arena in a game which has been dominated by talk of whether the stadium can be lit up in LGBTQ+ colours – a request that was denied by Uefa.
However, expecting Europe’s football governing body to stand up for morality is pretty much akin to believing Narnia exists behind a wardrobe door.
Moving on to rugby, the Lions will need this weekend’s meeting with Japan in Edinburgh to brush off some of the cobwebs while plenty of players will also get the chance to impress coach Warren Gatland.
“As Gatland said on Tuesday, ‘Someone is going to come through that a lot of people may not expect.’ In that context, it looks like a huge opportunity for Bundee Aki, Iain Henderson, Beirne and Conan et al to stake their claims