Hockey: Double pain for Scots in Euro warm-ups

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A CRAZY five minutes in the first half gifted Spain three goals as Scotland’s men went down 5-0 to the world’s sixth ranked side in Terrassa, the final warm-up fixture before the European Nations Championships in Vienna next week.

The Scots were competing comfortably above their weight in the opening exchanges, but failure to clear a penalty corner, losing possession on the halfway line and the inability to cut out a long ball, saw the Spanish three up and the contest effectively over. A couple of chances emerged before the interval but Wei Adams’ penalty corner strike was blocked by the Spanish goalkeeper as was Alan Forsyth’s strong flick.

Spain made it four with a penalty corner conversion in 55 minutes, but again the Scots came back. A Nicky Parkes effort again failed to beat the goalkeeper and a Kenny Bain shot flashed just wide of the target. The home side then made it five in the closing minutes.

“Despite the scoreline, playing one of the top sides in Europe was exactly what we needed before the Europeans,” said Eugene Connolly, Scotland’s manager. “The squad learned what it was like to play under presssure and in high temperatures against strong opposition, ideal preparation for Vienna.”

Scotland’s women were also in European build-up mode in Brussels but lost 3-1 and then 3-2 in a double header against Belgium, 13th in the world rankings and six places above the Scots.