Why Scotland's performance was 'one of the worst' witnessed by Celtic star

When there is a game as big as Rangers against Celtic at Ibrox on the horizon you would imagine it would be an occasion that is difficult to put to the back of the mind, especially for those involved in the huge Premiership encounter.

For Stephen Welsh, who will likely be part of Ange Postecoglou’s squad, the fixture seemed like it couldn’t be further away on Friday night at Tynecastle Park as he discussed Scotland Under-21s 2-0 loss to Turkey in the European Championship qualifier.

The Celtic centre-back was left exasperated by the defeat, which all but ended the team’s slim chances of catching Denmark in second. They now go to Kazakhstan fourth in the group.

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He offered up a one-word answer as to why Scotland were so poor against a Turkey side who arguably deserved to win by more: “Application”.

Stephen Welsh cuts a dejected figure during Scotland Under-21s defeat to Turkey.  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Stephen Welsh cuts a dejected figure during Scotland Under-21s defeat to Turkey.  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Stephen Welsh cuts a dejected figure during Scotland Under-21s defeat to Turkey. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

"That first-half performance was one of, if not the worst I’ve seen from a Scotland team at any age group,” said Walsh, who included himself in his criticism, taking the blame for the second goal which he deflected past Cieran Slicker.

“From past experience going through the age groups 17s, 19s and now 21s, even if a side is better than you – you still work harder than them.

“I don’t think we worked 50 per cent to what Turkey did, although they were very good players.

“We weren’t aggressive enough, didn’t think we applied ourselves enough at all and on the ball I think we were very, very poor. We looked in shock when we got the ball, we were shaky and maybe a bit of nervousness but I think we need to move on from that now.

“We’ll analyse the game over the next couple of days but we’ve got a massive game against Kazakhstan coming up and we can’t lose that, we need to go out and win.”

He added: “Not working hard enough. Not giving 100 per cent in my opinion.

“As I said, we need to look back on that and see but then again they are very good on the ball, we didn’t get within three or four yards of them every time they got the ball.

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“The centre-halves were really comfortable, they didn’t have any pressure on them at all, midfielders I thought we made them look really good although the quality they have got is good.

“We weren’t getting tight enough, not aggressive enough and simply not good enough.”

Walsh still has “hope” of qualifying but says for Scotland to win their three remaining fixtures they “need players that want to come and want to give 100 per cent in the game”.

It's only after Tuesday’s match he will begin to allow himself to look ahead to the Ranger clash.

“It’s no secret that there is a big game coming round the corner but for me it’s about Kazakhstan and I can focus on Celtic after that," he said.

“My full focus is on Scotland right now as I’m sure all the boys – I don’t know how many of us are away on international duty – will be focussing on the international games now and then come Wednesday morning I’ll be thinking about the next game. Ready to go.”

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