Scotland with ‘work to do’ regardless of Armenia enhance

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Even probably the most convincing win towards Armenia would by no means have made up for Scotland lacking out on the World Cup, or the dismal efficiency in Dublin.

However a victory was essential for the nation’s Nations League ambitions, and a 4-1 win in Yerevan meant Scotland did end the worldwide window with a flourish, albeit taking part in towards 10 males for simply over half of the match.

Whereas head coach Steve Clarke was eager to emphasize the positives, he was additionally clear about his views on the final fortnight.

“Two wins towards Armenia aren’t going to make this worldwide camp camp – as a result of it wasn’t,” he admitted.

“We failed in our major goal which was to get to a World Cup. And we had a extremely dangerous efficiency in Dublin which put us on the again foot. It was good to bounce again tonight – however work to do.”

Increase for forwards

Probably the most constructive facet of the efficiency was the truth that – after 5 video games in 2022 with out a ahead scoring – all three of Scotland’s most superior gamers discovered the online.

Che Adams scored his first purpose for membership or nation since February and John McGinn additionally netted after a tricky week. However the standout performer, with two objectives and an help, was Stuart Armstrong.

“Our ahead gamers can rating objectives,” Clarke quipped in his post-match press convention after some latest criticism.

Armstrong grabbed the equaliser and, nearly instantly after Armenia have been lowered to 10 males, arrowed in a nice second to offer Scotland an important lead earlier than the break.

The Southampton midfielder had extra touches (9) within the opposition field than any of his team-mates, had probably the most pictures, accomplished 94% of his passes, and 90% of his passes within the last third.

“I believe Stuart Armstrong can really feel aggrieved he isn’t had as a lot sport time or as many caps as his play deserves,” former Scotland striker Kenny Miller mentioned on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound.

“I used to be actually glad to see him within the workforce as a result of he does convey a purpose menace, a inventive edge, vitality, and he is an clever footballer. He may need performed himself into that second 10 place now, competing with guys like Ryan Christie and David Turnbull as properly.”

Defensive issues linger

Whereas Clarke dismissed a query about Scotland’s defensive show as “fairly unfavorable”, the Scotland boss will certainly be anxious concerning the probabilities his workforce conceded in Yerevan.

Whereas the outcome was a constructive, the identical frailties uncovered towards Ukraine and Eire have been on present within the first half, and even at occasions when the hosts have been all the way down to 10 males.

In line with Opta, Armenia completed with an anticipated objectives (xG) score of 1.44 to Scotland’s 1.11, which implies the house aspect created the upper high quality probabilities however didn’t take them whereas Scotland have been medical.

Lengthy balls specifically brought on havoc. For Armenia’s purpose, Jack Hendry was caught up the pitch and Grant Hanley didn’t cowl adequately. A later scare noticed Hendry play his man onside after failing to step into the road, earlier than managing to scramble again and block.

Scott McTominay and Nathan Patterson have been caught napping by the run of Khoren Bayramyan solely to be saved by the offside flag after the midfielder transformed. It was the identical flaw that led to Troy Parrot’s second purpose for Republic of Eire on Saturday.

Having saved seven clear sheets in eight matches within the second half of 2021, Scotland have conceded 10 objectives in 5 video games in 2022, with only one shutout – at house to Armenia.

Centre-backs Liam Cooper, Scott McKenna and John Souttar have been all unavailable, as have been Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney, and accidents and rotation imply it has been a unique again three in every of Scotland’s final 10 matches.

Clarke harassed the influence of fatigue after a protracted season, however former Scotland defender Willie Miller believes the top coach wants to seek out some consistency in choice to be able to restore the workforce’s stubbornness.

“The supervisor has to take a look at why we did not defend correctly and rectify it, as a result of that was a powerful a part of the workforce that has fallen aside within the final three video games,” Miller mentioned on Sportsound.

“I wish to see it settling down in a bit bit so it’s a acquainted three. Scott McTominay is a wonderful participant however for me while you’ve obtained the selection I do not suppose he ought to be within the again three – he ought to be in midfield.

“The nice factor is he [Clarke] has selections, however he must choose who his again three is when everybody’s match. They’ve confirmed prior to now they’ll get run of shutouts, so let’s hope it may be mounted.”

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