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Scotland reacts ‘well to disappointing evening’ to boost Euro 2024 hopes

Steve Clarke claims the real Scotland showed up in the 1-1 draw against Switzerland, keeping their Euro 2024 hopes alive.

The Scots were beaten 5-1 by Germany in their opening Group A match in Munich on Friday, leaving the Scotland boss and the Tartan Army demanding a response, which they got.

Scott McTominay’s shot in the 13th minute was deflected by Swiss defender Fabian Schar before Xherdan Shaqiri took advantage of Anthony Ralston’s mistake in the 26th minute to level in Cologne.

Germany have qualified on six points, Switzerland are on four and Scotland on one, ahead of their final match against senseless Hungary in Stuttgart on Sunday.

“It was what we expected,” said Clarke, who confirmed defender Kieran Tierney will not play against Hungary after suffering an injury and being taken off on a stretcher.

“This is the way we have played as a team for the last three or four years. That’s why we’re here at a big tournament.

“I thought it was a good team performance against a good opponent.

“It was a good response to a disappointing evening and we are still alive in the tournament.

Steve Clarke shouts instructions from the touchline as Andy Robertson takes a throw-in
Steve Clarke gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group A match at Cologne Stadium in Cologne, Germany. Date photo: Wednesday June 19, 2024.

“Sometimes as a player or manager things don’t go the way you want and on Friday evening they certainly didn’t go the way we wanted.

“Tonight was about getting back to what we do best, working hard and making sure we’ve done the preparation well, and I think that’s the case.

“They will feel a lot better going into the next game thanks to that kind of performance.

“We showed that in addition to the aggression and the fight, we can also play the dirty side of the game.

John McGinn competes for the ball with the Swiss Fabian Schar
John McGinn competes for the ball with the Swiss Fabian Schar. Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA.

“When we get the ball down, we play, we created some chances, Switzerland created some chances.

“We did what we had to do and we are still in the competition.”

Clarke claimed only Shaqiri on the Swiss side could have engineered his stunning finish from distance.

He said: “If Tony made the mistake – a small mistake that could have been corrected – by another player from the Swiss team, that is not a goal. It tells you what I think of him.

Xherdan Shaqiri slides to his knees as he celebrates his equalizer for Switzerland
Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his equalizer. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA.

“You know it was destined for the top corner. He is a top player, and you don’t give top players such opportunities.”

Clarke said he was pleased to be asked about goalkeeper Angus Gunn, who made several mistakes after receiving criticism following his performance against Germany.

“You need your goalkeeper to make some good saves,” the Scotland boss added.

“He made two or three big saves and that’s what you need. I’m really happy for him.”

Switzerland boss Murat Yakin, whose side should qualify even if they lose to Germany, was not surprised by Scotland’s improvement.

Angus Gunn dives to the left to avoid Swiss Dan Ndoye
Angus Gunn saves from Swiss Dan Ndoye. Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA.

He said: “Scotland had to bounce back after the first game, their pride was hurt so we expected them to respond.

“We had to expect pressure and that they would close the space. We fell behind and had to put in more energy than expected to get the equalizer and that helped us. We really missed some good opportunities.

“It was a tough match and it will be a hard-fought match between Scotland and Hungary.

“It will be a different game against Germany. We don’t have to win, but it will be a difficult match.”

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