Scotland’s European Championship defeat to the Czech Republic was a missed opportunity – particularly given the chances created.
The national side lost 2-0 at Hampden in their Group D opener, with Patrik Schick grabbing a double for the visitors.
Scotland created plenty of opportunities, but didn’t convert them.
Steve Clarke said that it was never a 2-0 game and he was right.
With the chances both sides had, it could have finished 4-4 or 5-4 either way.
Defensively Scotland were found wanting at times, but a lot of those moments was when the score was 2-0 and they were chasing the game.
But the missed chances make the result tougher to take because I don’t think many people would have expected the Scots to create so many opportunities.
When you have that number of chances, you expect to take at least a couple of them.
Scotland have shown they can create, but haven’t converted, which is something that needs to change urgently.
Scots started well
Overall, I felt it was a decent performance from Scotland.
They started on the front foot and put the Czech Republic under pressure.
That was the case for the first quarter, but after that the Czechs began to get a foothold.
Goalscorer Schick looked a threat throughout the contest.
His first goal was a very good header and it came at a bad time just three minutes before half-time.
Before the first goal, the Scots were playing OK and creating some chances and they recovered well and continued to create openings after falling behind.
To be fair, the Czechs also carved out a number of decent opportunities and David Marshall made some important saves.
Second goal was a Hampden classic
Losing the second goal just seven minutes into the second half knocked the stuffing out of Scotland for a spell.
It came during a period where the Scots had the upper hand and the Czechs were penned in.
Schick’s finish from 50 yards to make it 2-0 was a thing beauty.
You can question Marshall’s positioning and he was maybe too far off his line, but the quality of the finish was exceptional.
It was a delightful finish from such long range and it probably goes down as one of the best goals to be scored in the Euros.
Certainly it’s one of the best goals scored at Hampden.
The only other on a similar level that comes to mind was Zinedine Zidane’s volley for Real Madrid in the 2002 Champions League final.
As disappointing as it was from a Scottish perspective it was a magnificent goal.
But again Scotland recovered well and Czech Republic’s goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik made a few good saves to deny the Dark Blues.
Overall I thought it was a decent performance, but it’s a hugely disappointing result because we felt the Czech Republic would be the weakest of our three Group D opponents.
I don’t think we should be totally downhearted, because there still a chance for the Scots to do something in this group.
Clarke will still believe that, however, it will take two brilliant performances to do it.
Scotland will need to record at least one win from the fixtures against England and Croatia and may need another point on top of that.
Did Clarke select the right team?
Questions have been asked about the team Clarke picked against the Czechs, which is always going to be the case after defeat.
When you consider the players that were left out, it shows the quality within the squad.
Clarke had a number of key decisions to make and the side he selected played quite well and created chances.
If they had taken some of those chances there wouldn’t be the same questions asked.
Had Kieran Tierney been fit, I think everyone would have had him in the side, but other than that I didn’t have many complaints.
There’s been a clamour for young players Nathan Patterson and Billy Gilmour to start.
I felt it was too big an occasion for them – Clarke went with experience and I don’t think you can blame him for that.
I don’t think there should be too much criticism, because the side did put in a decent performance.
It was the failure to convert chances that prevented Scotland getting a positive result.