Scotland goalkeeper debate: Why 54-yard lob should not rule David Marshall out of England clash

Getting beaten by a shot from 54 yards out is not, on the face of it, a very persuasive way of staking a claim to be the last line of defence for Scotland at Wembley this Friday night.

David Marshall untangles himself from the net after being beaten by Patrick Schick's long-range lob. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
David Marshall untangles himself from the net after being beaten by Patrick Schick's long-range lob. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Steve Clarke however, has bigger issues than who to play at goalkeeper against England as his side attempt to put their Euro 2020 campaign back on track.

Marshall will expect his place to be debated. After all, the 36-year-old knows it wasn’t a good look getting tangled up in the back of his own net after Patrik Schick’s wonder goal put Czech Republic 2-0 up at Hampden yesterday. The concession of this goal has retrained the spotlight on the goalkeeper position.

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The 38-year-old Craig Gordon is on standby for the crucial clash with England, when whoever is chosen to play can expect a busy night.

There was already some discussion about Marshall’s position as No 1. Many felt Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon should have been given the gloves and are using Marshall’s misfortune, footage of which will be repeated again and again, as evidence that the Derby County goalkeeper should not be first choice.

These critics are also pointing to Schick’s comment afterwards that he clocked Marshall straying off his line in the first half, which gave him the idea to look for the chance to lob him. The striker took the opportunity in the 52nd minute with a once-in-a-lifetime strike from just inside the Scotland half.

In a strange way, however, Marshall could be said to have strengthened his position in the side. Aside from being beaten by a freak, if brilliant goal, he did very little wrong. In fact, he did a lot right and prevented Scotland failing to a heavier defeat with a string of fine stops.

He was also badly served by Jack Hendry’s unwise decision to shoot: Marshall was backing up ready to sweep behind the defence when the ball broke to Schick after the defender’s shot was blocked.

As manager Steve Clarke later remarked, if Marshall had been on his line he would have caught it but no ‘keeper would have been waiting on his line in those circumstances. Marshall was immense otherwise and should start at Wembley.

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