Sensational Schick silences Scotland with moment of pure brilliance

Patrik Schick celebrating for Czech Republic v Scotland, Euro 2020, June 2021

Czech Republic hitman Patrik Schick scored one of the greatest goals in European Championship history to leave Scotland with a mountain to climb at Euro 2020.

Kieran Tierney was the surprise absentee from the Scotland line-up as Steve Clarke kicked-off the nation’s first game at a major tournament in 23 years with their Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic. Clarke is hopeful Tierney will be back to face England at Wembley on Friday after telling BBC Scotland: “Kieran picked up a little niggle in training through the week. He’s not ready for this one, hopefully ready for the next one.”

Roared on by the home crowd, Scotland made a lively start with John McGinn in particular posing a threat. The Villa midfielder twice got in behind the Czech backline who recovered quickly to snuff out the danger.

The visitors soon settled, and produced the game’s first shot in anger through Patrik Schick. Scotland’s appeals for a free kick were waved away after McGinn was felled in the build-up, but David Marshall was on hand to repel the resulting strike.

Captain Andy Robertson was hoping to produce the sort of attacking display that has made him a cult hero at Liverpool. The left-back got off to a fine start in the 17th minutes when marauding down the left before Lyndon Dykes prodded his teasing cross narrowly wide.

Robertson was controlling the entire left flank by himself and came within a whisker of opening the scoring after the half hour mark.

Ryan Christie fed the onrushing full-back after Czech Republic failed to deal with a Scotland throw. Robertson’s strike was firm and true but ultimately too central as Tomáš Vaclík tipped over the bar.

For all hosts’ effort and desire, it was the Czech Republic who broke the deadlock after keeping a corner alive. A pinpoint cross from the right picked out Schick who showed great determination to beat Grant Hanley to the ball before nodding home inside the far post.

Marshall twice prevented the lead from doubling after the break as Scotland were surprisingly caught cold. That proved to only be a momentary lapse, however, as Scotland soon raced up the other end and rattled the crossbar through Jack Hendry’s superb effort from distance.

Vaclík then averted what would’ve been a comical own goal when clawing an errant clearance to safety. If the first five minutes after the interval were anything to by, goals would not be in short supply.

In truly remarkable circumstances, the lead was doubled when Schick notched his second from barely beyond the half-way line.

A Hendry drive from range ricocheted straight into the path of Schick. The forward strode onto the ball and displayed tremendous vision and technique by lobbing Marshall who tried in vain to scramble back to his line.

Scotland heads did not dip, and but for another crucial intervention from Vaclík, would’ve pulled one back through Dykes.

A mesmeric run from substitute James Forrest brought the Hampden crowd to their feet. Two defenders were left in his wake but a third provided a crucial block in the nick of time to preserve their two-goal lead entering the final five minutes.

Scotland did not lack for effort in the dying embers, but continued to lack the quality required as their opening match at Euro 2020 ended in a 2-0 defeat.

With the two hardest group teams on paper left to play in England and Croatia, qualifying for the knockout stages will now require an extraordinary effort.