Thursday evening saw Scottish football write yet another chapter in its long and illustrious footballing history as they kicked off their Euro 2020 Qualification Campaign away in Kazakhstan.
Despite having a squad decimated by as many as three injuries, the Scots named a (relatively) strong team for the Euro 2020 qualifier and, according to boss Alex McLeish, “started brightly”. It’s hard to argue with that contention when the match stats clearly show the away team held their hosts at a creditable 0-0 for almost six entire minutes.
Then, however, an unforeseeable blow was struck. “Scotland had started perfectly” said sports reporter Ian McNapton, “Putting no pressure on the ball, wandering around like a team of confused llamas in an enclosure. I believe it’s known as ‘keeping your shape’. Just a shame the shape seems to have been somewhere between a yule log and a sponge pudding”.
As the clock ticked over to the sixth minute, the Scots went behind. By ten minutes, it was 2-0. Then, a miracle. “For forty minutes we kept them at two. That’s no mean feat against a side who, in qualifying for 2016, managed a 1-0 win against Latvia to finish second bottom in their group. In Scottish football terms, that’s like Real Madrid.”
Though the game ended a respectable 3-0 to Kazakhstan, boss Alex McLeish was upbeat. “We have San Marino at the weekend, I think if we keep it tight there we could definitely put ourselves in line for a point, at least that is if we play anything like we did tonight.”