Five things we learned from Slovakia 3 - 0 Scotland

Scotland went down 3-1 to Slovakia in Trnava last night. Picture: AFP/Getty
Scotland went down 3-1 to Slovakia in Trnava last night. Picture: AFP/Getty
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Scotland’s 2018 World Cup hopes were dealt another blow as they lost 3-0 to Slovakia on Tuesday night.

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Here, David Gunn takes a look at five things we learned from the Group F qualifying encounter in Trnava.

GORDON STRACHAN IS ON THE BRINK

The Scotland boss straight-batted questions about his future following the game, which left the Scots in fourth place and with five dropped points from their first three Group F fixtures. However, public opinion is turning against the former Celtic manager, if it is not already solidified, and even the Tartan Army seem to have lost faith. Wembley could be his swansong, if he doesn’t go before then.

IT SEEMS THERE IS NO END TO CAMPAIGN FAILURES

Scotland last qualified for the finals of a major tournament in 1998. There is a generation of fans who have never seen the dark blue on the big stage and it is highly unlikely that they will be going to Russia. Defeat at Wembley will all but confirm that and there will be almost two years before the beginning of the next qualification campaign.

LACK OF CUTTING EDGE

Scotland do not make a lot of chances and squander too many of those that they do make. Steven Fletcher, Robert Snodgrass and James McArthur all missed opportunities in Slovakia and although there is a clamour for Leigh Griffiths to start matches - understandably given he scored 40 goals for Celtic last season - even he failed to beat the Slovakia goalkeeper with a couple of chances when he came on as substitute.

CENTRE-BACK REMAINS A PROBLEM

Russell Martin and Grant Hanley try their best but when opposition teams score as easily as Slovakia did with their third goal - a corner to the unmarked Adam Nemec - then it is demoralising. The biggest problem Strachan or any future Scotland manager has, is that there are no obvious replacements either in the wings or coming through the youths.

MIXED MESSAGES FROM STRACHAN

Striker Chris Martin’s second-half display against Lithuania in the 1-1 draw at Hampden Park on Saturday was described by Strachan as “outstanding”. Yet he remained on the bench on Tuesday night while Oliver Burke, the £13 million signing of Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig from Nottingham Forest, was dropped and nowhere to be seen. Somewhat puzzling.

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