Scotland humiliated in opening Euro 2020 qualifier

Date published: Thursday 21st March 2019 4:53 - Matthew Briggs

Scotland TEAMtalk

Scotland were humiliated in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier as they were hammered 3-0 by Kazakhstan at the Astana Arena on Thursday afternoon.

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Kazakhstan, ranked 77 places below Scotland in the FIFA World Rankings, were well worth their victory as they piled the misery on Alex McLeish’s men, scoring half the number of goals they managed in their entire 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Liam Palmer made his Scotland debut while Graeme Shinnie was handed his first competitive start as Alex McLeish’s side began their road to Euro 2020.

Aberdeen captain Shinnie filled the left-back spot left vacant by Andy Robertson’s dental surgery and Kieran Tierney’s injury, with Palmer on the other side of a back four that also featured Shinnie’s club-mate Scott McKenna and Hamburg’s David Bates.

Celtic’s Callum McGregor captained the side in Robertson’s absence and was joined in midfield by Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong and in-form Aston Villa man John McGinn, with James Forrest and Oliver Burke supporting striker Oli McBurnie.

Snow still surrounded the Astana Arena, though the stadium’s roof meant the pitch itself was clear for the Group I opener.

Scotland had all the early possession on the slick artificial surface until they were caught out with a simple ball over the top in the sixth minute.

Yuriy Pertsukh beat the offside trap before lashing the ball into the roof of the net to give Kazakhstan the lead.

And worse was to follow four minutes later as captain Islambek Kuat threaded the ball through and Yan Vorogovskiy stabbed home the second.

Scotland failed to register a shot on target as they went in at half-time two goals down.

Alex McLeish TEAMtalk

The visitors dominated possession in the latter stages of the half but Kazakhstan came closer to netting a third goal when keeper Scott Bain touched over a dipping strike from Kuat.

Then a deep cross from Gafurzhan Suyumbayev had Scott McKenna in trouble as he is out-jumped by Baktiyar Zainutdinov, who steered a clever header, angled header back into the opposite corner.

“I’m shocked, you’re shocked, the players are shocked out on the pitch. They’re really struggling to come to terms with the occasion,” said former Scotland striker Billy Dodds on Sportsound.

Scotland face San Marino next up in Group I on Sunday.

 

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