Aberdeen’s Andy Considine made his second Scotland appearance in tonight’s UEFA Nations League win over the Czech Republic at Hampden.
At 33, the defender only made his debut three days ago in the 1-0 win over Slovakia, but, having earned praise for the ease at which he seemed to slip into his new surroundings on Sunday, he once again staked a serious claim to be a part of Steve Clarke’s plans when next month’s Euro play-off final in Serbia rolls around – whether the likes of former Reds team-mate Scott McKenna are fit or not.
The back three of Considine, Declan Gallagher and Scott McTominay have two clean sheets in a row and there is certainly a strong case for leaving things as they are for Belgrade – a fixture where the Scots could end 23 years of major tournament exile.
It was another performance of total competence and simplicity when simplicity was needed from Considine, whose reliability has never been in doubt to Aberdeen fans.
There was also no hesitation or nerves to be brave, step forward and cut out ambitious Czech passes or counter-attacks when necessary, nor to play ambitious passes of his own when needed.
Again, you were left wondering why it’s taken so long for Considine to feature for his country.
Even in moments where Scotland wobbled and players momentarily lost their bearings, like Matej Vydra’s gilt-edged chance at the back post in the first half, the experienced Considine, with more than 500 Aberdeen games under his belt, never appeared to be out of position or flapping.
Vydra especially must be leaving Hampden scratching his head at the job Considine done on him. The Premier League attacker was the focus of the Dons veteran’s attentions all night, with the centre-half cutting out a barrel-load of passes intended for the striker.
Here’s the minute-by-minute of Considine’s performance:
2: Considine’s first action of the game was a composed cushioned volley out to Greg Taylor under a high ball.
4: In a huge early moment, right-back Stephen O’Donnell’s slack cross-field ball had Scotland on the back-foot as the Czechs broke. Considine, however, had the awareness to slow the visitors’ progress and then the experience to cut out a pass into the Dark Blues’ area from Burnley’s Vydra.
9: The next low-key but necessary involvement from Considine saw him not shy away and give the surrounded Callum McGregor an option before safely getting the ball back to keeper David Marshall to clear.
10: Considine’s long ball up the left-flank to Lyndon Dykes almost came off, but was just cut out by the last defender. The Dons defender has shown he isn’t frightened to try something just because he’s in dark blue instead of red.
18: The Aberdeen veteran stepped out to put pressure on Jan Boril on halfway, forcing the visiting player backward after a ropey touch and then a poor pass, which went straight to McGregor.
23: Tomas Soucek’s ball into the right channel was cut out and launched clear by Considine.
31: The Czechs demanded a penalty when Considine collided with Soucek at a corner trying to follow his man. At second viewing, it was clear there’d been little contact and Soucek had thrown himself down.
35: Unperturbed by the spot-kick claims, Considine cut out a dangerous-looking ball to Vydra. Soon after, he was adjudged to have fouled Lukas Masopust under a Tomas Vaclik goal-kick when they collided just over halfway.
38: Considine again made a vital interception, stopping a ball destined to find Vydra at the front post with a perfectly-timed sliding challenge.
47: Scotland were under pressure from kick-off in the second half, but – having finally got hold of the ball – Considine made no mistake in leathering it up the the park to put Czech defender Vladimir Coufal under pressure and force him to concede a throw-in.
61: After a steady period of Czech probing, Considine found himself near the corner flag closing down Vydra. The attacker’s attempt to beat the defender with a backheel was blocked – summing up Vydra’s evening up against the Banchory stopper.
64: Considine once again frustrated Vydra by getting in front of him to head away a near-post cross.
67: He then stepped out to intercept another pass destined for Vydra.
77: Another long clearance from Considine was sent down the left side as Scotland closed ranks to protect their one-goal lead.
85: Considine’s final significant involvement in the game was crucial, in a half where Scotland rode their luck at times. Second favourite to reach a cross heading straight for substitute Tomas Poznar at the back post, Considine found a way to get above the Czech player and nod the ball behind, removing the danger.