A Steve Clarke rant after the Czech Republic defeat shows why Scotland’s Nathan Patterson won’t play for his home nation in the Euros.
The Scots’ chances of progressing to the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time has been made harder it would seem.
Following the performance last week, Steve Clarke seemingly saw a lot of positives in his side’s display, and spoke highly of a number of players despite the defeat against a team who are the easier to beat within the group.
As fans and pundits criticised squad members on social media, Clarke launched a strong backing and defence of Lyndon Dykes, who passed up two scoring opportunities, David Marshall, the goalkeeper who was beaten by a 50 yard wonder strike, and Stephen O’Donnell, the right wing-back who has been subjected to condemnation.
He added that the back three of Liam Cooper, Grant Hanley and Jack Hendry had functioned well and was pleased with the chances his men created, if not by the quality of the finishing. He is adamant there is much to build on.
“Obviously, we were disappointed that we didn’t manage to send the fans home happy,” he said. “But my job is to look at the performance. If you don’t just look at the result, if you are honest and you look at the game, as we do, there is a lot to take out of the game.
“We weren’t clinical enough for sure, but we created enough. They were clinical with what they created. They had 10 shots on goal and got seven on target. They looked a little bit more dangerous in and around the box. We were hoping to score, they are expecting to score. That was probably the difference.
“I still thought we defended quite well. Even in the second-half, I thought Grant Hanley was outstanding. I know he gets a little bit of stick off certain members of the Tartan Army or whatever. But I thought he was excellent for us. It was great to see. We defended reasonably well.
“Yes, Marsh had to make a couple of saves, which you expect when you open the game up. But we did miss some decent chances to at least get the 2-1, which at least puts them under pressure. Then you never know what’s going to happen after that.”
Asked what Scotland need to do to record a famous win over England in London, he said: “We need to defend a little bit better, not concede any goals and score one of the chances that we make. It’s that simple, eh? Listen, everyone wants to analyse things and go over and over and over what happened. But that’s what we have to do.”
The manager could make changes to his starting line-up with Che Adams likey to start though there are doubts on Rangers’ Nathan Patterson as Clarke states he has no regrets about any of his choices or concerns about the mindset of any of his players going into the England game.
“All I say to Lyndon is ‘just keep getting into those positions big man because eventually the goals will start coming’” he said. “Is it confidence? I don’t know, I don’t know.
“With strikers it’s about getting into the positions. They’ll all go through a run of games where they’re scoring quite regularly. Like Lyndon did at the end of last season. Then they go through little patches when the ball doesn’t quite fall for them and hit the back of the net. But Lyndon has a good mentality so he’ll keep getting in there.”
Clarke continued: “Every decision you make is a big decision. You make decisions with the best intentions and that’s what we did.
“I don’t think Che would have made too much difference in the first-half because we didn’t get quality ball into the strikers. When we lost the goal just before half-time I had a fair idea the game would open up. That allowed Che to show his talents.”
Asked about how Marshall was feeling Clarke said: “David’s fine. He’s an experienced player, knows the game and has probably faced that type of shot about 50 times in his career. That’s the only time it’s gone in. It happens.
“I can’t understand the criticism of David. It was a shot from Jack Hendry on the edge of their box and three seconds later it’s in the back of our net. A blocked shot can go anywhere. It fell perfectly for him to run onto it and hit. It’s one of those things.”
Clarke felt that singling out O’Donnell for blame was unfair. “Analyse the game and tell me what Stephen did wrong?” he said. “How many chances came off that side? Jakub Jankto, one of their most dangerous players, had a quiet game. Their left-back, a really good attacking left-back, Jan Boril, didn’t create a chance in the game.
“So analyse the game before we start killing players, just because who they are and where they play. Analyse his games when he plays for us. Look at his performances objectively. Just look at the games. Stephen’s first job is to be a defender. So analyse the games. That’s all I’ll say on that one.”
He added: “You have to be professional. Our job as professionals is to deal with the highs and deal with the lows. This is just the way it is. It’s always difficult to explain to people who are not in football. Things don’t always go for you. Even when they do there is always something that brings you back down.
“The lads know it. They are at the top of their profession. I would like to think I am pretty near the top of my profession. So we learn how to deal with it. You have to cope. Monday was a low but we look forward to the next high.”
Gavin Kelly of Vital Rangers wrote the following: In his pre-match build up to the England game on Friday it would seem that he has doubled down on picking Stephen O’Donnell, hailing his defensive performance, proving that he is absolutely blind to what everyone else can see, as reported by The Scotsman.
Vital Rangers has already highlighted his bizarre rant at the assembled media, urging them to “watch the games”, yes, Steve, we have watched them, he is nowhere near the level of an international defender.
Ok, I’ll play along, I’m not even being overly critical here but, you can be justified in saying O’Donnell was partially responsible for both of the goals Scotland conceded, it is fine margins at major tournaments and he simply wasn’t quick enough to react to the second phase for the Czech’s first goal after the initial corner was cleared.
For their second goal, on seeing Jack Hendry so far up field, he should have tucked in behind him to cover, but instead he ran a rare overlapping run, the space vacated is where the blocked shot ended up – and we all know what happened next.
There is also the small issue of him continually giving the ball away and offering absolutely nothing in attack, anybody who has ever watched a game of football will tell you that Nathan Patterson is a better player – anyone who disagrees, ask them who they would rather have in their team….I still wouldn’t be surprised if Clarke said “O’Donnell”.
Steve Clarke seeing Patterson warming up pic.twitter.com/6KstJo84U4
— Chairman Lmao ☭ (@BenTheTim) June 14, 2021
McCoist wants Clarke to bring in the changes, and reckons playing Patterson could be crucial to Scotland’s chances of getting a result.
“I would make changes to the Scotland team for England,” the former Rangers boss wrote in The Telegraph.
“Nathan Patterson could come in on the right side because he is another one who is young, fearless and athletic so can get up and down the park.
“With Andy Robertson on one side, I’d play Patterson on the other to combat pace.”
Fans reacted as the Steve Clarke rant shows why Scotland’s Nathan Patterson won’t play in the Euros…
@johnnybelcherx: Don’t agree with amount of hate O’Donnell is getting, 100% id rather Patterson playing but that falls on Steve Clarke not O’Donnell
@reece17305197: If Patterson doesn’t start at Wembley Steve Clarke’s thinking is questionable
@SadJuffery: Steve Clarke’s defence of Stephen O’Donnell being he’s getting criticised because of who he plays for smacks of “I’m not playing Nathan Patterson because of who he plays for”
@JonnyF110: Steve Clarke is absolutely clueless if he thinks O’Donnell is a starter for Friday. I’m all for Patterson but even Forrest would have been a better option at RWB than him, he’s out his depth
@OilerScots: Tierney being fit for tomorrow is massive for us , England are massive favourites but this gives us a better chance. I just hope that Clarke is brave and starts with Gilmour and Patterson but i don’t see it.
@thisisibrox: Sad part is with all the hoo-ha about O’Donell and Marshall there is zero chance Clarke will play McLaughlin or Patterson even if he was minded to as he needs to ‘make a statement’.
@Jack87517837: If Clarke doesn’t start Patterson tomorrow there’s gonna be riots
@Colin_George: If Patterson doesn’t start tomorrow then I genuinely don’t know what Clarke is watching 🤷♂️ Forrest is very good but has missed most of the season and O’ Donnell just isn’t good enough. The boy has to play.
@james248602: @ScotlandNT tell that pleb Clarke that if he starts O’Donnell tomorrow then I won’t be watching the game 😂😂 just kidding. But please do tell him to start with Patterson tomorrow!!!
Nathan Patterson and Billy Gilmour ready for their major international debuts in 2044. pic.twitter.com/FIwrosM8Y9
— H55🏆 (@ibroxhaz) June 14, 2021
Steve Clarke when Nathan Patterson asks for some game time pic.twitter.com/lXUCext3KN
— INVINCIBLE Ryan Jack 🏆 (@RampantRyanJack) June 17, 2021
Steve Clarke when he starts Stephen O’Donnell over Nathan Patterson at Wembley pic.twitter.com/bhSHxHwPgI
— Aaron Fraser 🏴 (@AaronFraser37) June 16, 2021
As the Steve Clarke rant shows why Scotland’s Nathan Patterson won’t play in the Euros, do you want to see him play instead of O’Donnell? Let us know via our socials!