Marshall says Scotland were in a 'lose-lose' situation against weakened Czechs
Goalkeeper Marshall was Scotland’s hero in Olomouc, producing a string of fine saves to defy a Czech team mainly composed of previously uncapped players after their original squad were placed in Covid-19 quarantine at the weekend.
After Jakub Pesek put the Czechs ahead in the 11th minute, a first international goal for Lyndon Dykes brought Scotland level before Ryan Christie’s penalty seven minutes into the second half proved to be the winner.
But Clarke’s side, again looking unconvincing defensively with the same back three system used in Friday’s 1-1 draw against Israel at Hampden, rode their luck and had Marshall to thank for holding onto all three points.
“There wasn’t going to be any praise for us, regardless of the result,” said the 35-year-old. “Even if we’d won four or five-nil, it would have been something people expected to happen.
“So it was a bit of a lose-lose situation for us. But at the same time, four points from two games puts us in a situation where we can be positive about the group and put us in a good frame of mind going into the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel next month.
“It’s always good to be on the back of a few unbeaten games. We were disappointed we didn’t manage to win at home against Israel on Friday but it gave us an opportunity to have a look at them.
“We are unbeaten in five games now and have played a different system in the last couple of games. It’s always been in the back of the mind that the big game is next month.
“Given the Covid situation and what happened after the game on Friday night, it was a one-off against the Czechs. It was very strange, the lead up to the game and information we had on who we were going to play.
“In the game, you were finding out on your feet how they play. It was a bizarre situation. We probably didn’t start as well as we would have liked but the most important thing was winning the game.
“The boys are not daft. We knew what the reaction would have been like if we didn’t win the game.
“So the only thing we could do was go and win the game. It’s never easy coming away from home in international football and we were stepping completely into the unknown.
“We didn’t get off to a good start but the character to come back and win the game is one of the big pluses we can take.
“There was a bit of frustration with the way the situation unfolded after Friday but, all in all, I think we have handled it pretty well.
“It’s been a new system over the past week and we have worked as hard as we possibly can in training on it.
“Tonight’s game is difficult to gauge because we did our preparation to play against a completely different team.
“It’s a system we are trying to get used to. I’d have to look back at the game to see how it went. But judging anything on tonight’s game is difficult.
“In the first half against Israel at Hampden, I felt really comfortable playing behind the back three. I’m sure it’s something we will work on when we come back next month for the play-off game.”
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