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Looking At Scotland’s Positive Dutch Performance

Date: 3rd June 2021

Euro 2020 is getting so close now you can almost touch it. 

I took a walk down to Hampden the other day and was delighted to see it with all the Euro 2020 signage. It was looking splendid in the sun! 

My heart swelled even more last night as Scotland equipped themselves well against The Netherlands in our first build up game in Portugal. 

There were plenty of positives for The Tartan Army and big moments that will encourage Scotland boss Steve Clarke.

We played as a unit and a well oiled one at that. Sometimes Scotland sides play as if they’ve just walked off the bus and met their teammates for the first time. Last night, we often looked comfortable in our positions and the lads looked as if they knew what their role within the team entailed. 

Personally I’m loving this new over-lapping centre-back strategy we seem to have stumbled across. Our first chance at goal came from Kieran Tierney pushing forward and getting a decent shot away. Then our goal was founded on hard work and pressing in deep positions. This allowed centre-back Jack Hendry to aggressively come away with the ball and drill in a right footed shot from distance. 

Against some of the bigger nations you sometimes see Scotland shrink and play the badge rather than the actual team that’s in front of them. In Faro that didn’t happen. We went about our own game plan and didn’t show the Dutch any added respect. 

I thought David Turnbull had a pretty accomplished international debut. The midfielder is probably more used to being in the attacking third but was asked to help out more in a Scotland jersey. He certainly didn’t seem to be overawed by the situation. Now he did switch off and allow Memphis Depay to run off of him for the Dutch opener but that might actually be a good thing as it will reinforce the message that we can’t switch off in big international encounters. 

Now a reason for Turnbull’s added workload was due to the squad being slightly lighter. John Fleck tested positive for Covid and he missed the friendly fixture alongside six others who didn’t travel to Portugal as a precaution. One of those being another midfielder, John McGinn. So it was very pleasing to see our side play so well without seven members of the squad available and not use the news as a distraction. 

It was also fantastic to see another debutant in Billy Gilmour. The nineteen year old has just won the Champions League with Chelsea and came off the bench to play for his nation for the first time. 

Talking of firsts, Hibs striker Kevin Nisbet managed to grab his first international strike! It was a lovely goal too. We’ve all been asking to see our captain Andy Robertson roam more down the left flank and produce great crosses into the box, much like he does for Liverpool. Well that’s exactly what we got with our second goal as the left-back flashed past Ryan Christie, he then received the ball and launched a lovely low cross into the back post and Nisbet was on hand to steer the ball home. 

We never seemed to rest on our laurels either and tried to create as many chances as we could. Lyndon Dykes worked tirelessly up-top and I think he’ll prove to be a real handful in our group games. 

In the end we couldn’t hang on as the referee awarded the Dutch a soft freekick, which Depay duly slotted away with aplomb. 

But all in all, I think Scotland supporters can be very pleased with that outing and be optimistic with what lies ahead of us. We look as though we’ve already established a real camaraderie within the group. We somehow look to have more strength in depth in every area of the team and have once again gained a strong work ethic that will make us all proud to support Scotland at this summer’s championships. 

Everything seems to be falling into place as Glasgow is set to enter tier two this week, which will not just see Tartan Army fans in at Hampden but also a fanzone set up in Glasgow Green. 

Here’s hoping it really is a summer to remember! 

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