Player Ratings as Hungover Scots Stumble to Nations League Defeat



Steve Clarke’s team were underwhelming in their Euro coronation | Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Who’s job was it to remind Scotland they had other international games to play after Serbia? Because they failed.

Steve Clarke’s team booked their place at Euro 2020 on Thursday evening, but a much-changed side weren’t quite at the races for their return to Nations League action on Sunday afternoon. Jan Gregus found himself under no pressure whatsoever when he stroked in the early opener, as a sluggish Scotland failed to keep their unbeaten run going.

Does anyone care? Not really. Are we going to rate the players anyway? You’d better believe it.

National hero Andy Considine made his return to the starting lineupNational hero Andy Considine made his return to the starting lineup | ANDY BUCHANAN/Getty Images

Craig Gordon (GK) – 7/10 – 37 years old these days, though you couldn’t tell it from his baby-face. Steady and assured as ever on his return to the Scotland team after a two-year absence from the starting lineup.

Liam Palmer (RWB) – 6/10 – Looks to be losing the battle to Stephen O’Donnell for the starting right-back berth but didn’t do himself much harm here with an energetic performance. The Sheffield Wednesday man was unlucky not to score with a fizzer in the first half.

Andy Considine (CB) – 6/10 – If you’ve heard the song Yes Sir I Can Boogie at any point since Thursday, it’s Considine’s fault. The rendition he filmed in drag for his stag-do has turned it into a Scotland anthem, contributing to his rapidly growing cult hero status among the Tartan Army. Also: he played quite well.

Scott McKenna (CB) – 6/10 – Has to start imposing himself on games more to become an automatic starter, but probably is the second best pick to play at the heart of the back five.

Liam Cooper (CB) – 6/10 – Should have been out quicker to stop the opener but otherwise OK. Claims that he should be an automatic starter for Scotland just because he plays for Leeds are wide of the mark, however – can’t even lace the boots of Big Declan Gallagher.

Kieran Tierney (LWB) – 7/10 – Has looked at home on the left of the back three recently but was moved outside as a result of Andy Robertson’s niggly hamstring. Relished the attacking freedom that came with the more advanced role and caused a few problems down the wing.

John McGinn retained his placeJohn McGinn retained his place | Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

John McGinn (CM) – 7/10 – The captain for the night didn’t look quite himself in a deeper role than he’s used to playing for Scotland. Looked the most likely of the midfielders to take charge, however, and made himself known whenever Slovakia had the ball.

Kenny McLean (CM) – 6/10 – Might earn himself a spot in the Euro squad just for his penalty-taking prowess. Didn’t get the chance to show that here but forced a wonderful save out of Marek Rodak with a powerful header in the second half.

Stuart Armstrong (CAM) – 5/10 – Had to wait patiently for his Scotland chances under Clarke but didn’t really take this one when it came along. Grew into the game but was largely anonymous and got himself suspended for the forthcoming Israel game with a needless booking.

McBurnie replaced the suspended Lyndon DykesMcBurnie replaced the suspended Lyndon Dykes | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Ryan Christie (CF) – 6/10 – Clarke was once ridiculed for his insistence on deploying Christie as a second striker but in a free role off the shoulder of Lyndon Dykes or Oli McBurnie, he looks a constant menace. He’s a new Scotland hero after his goal and heart-string-pulling interview on Thursday and this was another lively display.

Oli McBurnie (CF) – 4/10 – Is he ever going to score for Scotland? Had two great chances in the first half but couldn’t stick either away. Really needs to step it up to stand any chance of competing with Lyndon Dykes for the Euros.

Leigh Griffiths – 5/10

Lawrence Shankland – N/A



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