Ryan Porteous backs Scotland to learn from England defeat - 'we didn't play our game'
Scotland went into the 150th anniversary showdown at Hampden on a high following the 3-0 win over Cyprus in Larnaca that has put the nation on the brink of qualification for Euro 2024. Steve Clarke's side have enjoyed a record-breaking start to the qualification campaign with five wins from five placing them top of Group A with a place in Germany next summer almost secured.
But the manner of Tuesday's 3-1 defeat as Scotland were largely outclassed by the side ranked fourth in the world served as a timely reminder of the challenges faced in competing against top tier nations – and proving that the 2-0 win over Spain in June was no flash in the pan.
Porteous felt Scotland failed to produce their best on the night, but believes they will be better placed to do so in upcoming matches having garnered experience from facing Gareth Southgate's star-studded line-up.
"I think first half was poor," was his honest assessment. "It's hard to say we showed them too much respect because they are a good side but we didn't play our game. They punished us in the first half for a bit of sloppiness.
"We came out in the second half and we got that goal back – and we could have had another one as well – but it wasn't our night.
"This camp was about getting three points in Cyprus and then testing ourselves against top opposition. We've done that and we've got to take from it what we can. The second half was positive but we need to have a good look at the first half and see what went wrong.
"For us we'll learn more from playing pot one teams than playing the so-called lesser teams. We don't want to learn by losing. Sometimes the best way to learn in a football game is by winning but we take what we can and move onto the next one.
"You're always going to grow when you’re playing against top opposition. It always helps when your playing with top team-mates as well. It's a good experience but it's one you need to learn from."
It took until his seventh cap for the Watford defender to experience his first defeat in a Scotland jersey, which came just a few days after scoring his first international goal in Cyprus.
Porteous has crammed a lot into his short international career to date with major wins over Spain and Norway following his debut in Ukraine which secured Nations League promotion. A match against the Auld Enemy is another box ticked, although the former Hibs centre-back would have preferred a different outcome.
"It was a special night for myself and it would have been nice to cap it off with a good result," he said. "It's a special moment to play in these games but it's bittersweet right now.
"We all know we're capable of more than that. I think this squad has shown over the past couple of years, even the Spain game, we can compete for 90 minutes. But it's about doing that on a regular basis in every game. It just wasn't our night."
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