Monday, May 27, 2024

Scotland 0-1 Northern Ireland: Conor Bradley goal adds to Scots woes as Andy Robertson suffers another injury

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Scotland’s winless run continued as they fell to defeat against Northern Ireland as captain Andy Robertson was forced off injured.

Boyd hopeful for Scotland despite latest lossSteve Clarke was looking for a reaction from his players after a “sore” 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands and they started brightly at Hampden Park.

Ryan Christie fired wide and Lyndon Dykes came close but a mistake from Nathan Patterson gifted Northern Ireland a surprise opener.

The defender passed the ball to Conor Bradley to fire in his first international goal before Robertson was forced off with an ankle injury, sparking fears for both Clarke and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Scotland are now without a win in seven for the first time since 2005, while the victory was Northern Ireland’s first at Hampden Park for 50 years.

Robertson fears as Scotland struggles continue

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Sky Sports’ Mark Benstead analyses Scotland’s 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland.

Scotland had the best of the opening stages at Hampden Park as they looked to end their long winless run.

Christie fired wide and Dykes came close after Bailey Peacock-Farrell spilled the ball, but Northern Ireland’s defence saved the goalkeeper by clearing the ball.

The visitors rarely threatened but took a surprise lead in the 32nd minute after an error from Patterson.

Conor Bradley fires Northern Ireland ahead against Scotland
Conor Bradley fires Northern Ireland ahead against Scotland

The Scotland defender tried to nutmeg Bradley but passed straight to him in the box and his deflected strike landed in the back of the net.

Clarke’s side were then dealt another blow with Robertson forced off with an ankle injury after a challenge from Trai Hume, the captain leaving the pitch with his head tucked into his shirt to hide his pain.

As the boos rang around Hampden Park, Northern Ireland should have then doubled their lead before the break. The ball fell to Shea Charles inside the box but the Southampton midfielder fired wide.

Team news

  • Steve Clarke made two changes from Scotland’s 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands with Lyndon Dykes and Liam Cooper replacing Lawrence Shankland and Rayn Porteous.
  • Northern Ireland made three changes. Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Daniel Ballard and Ali McCann all started at Hampden Park..

Scotland struggled to show the form that had secured automatic qualification for Euro 2024 and Billy Gilmour showed his frustration as he picked up a deserved booking for a late challenged on Brodie Spencer.

The hosts then did look like they may find a way back into the match, but their final ball was poor as John McGinn and Jack Hendry spurned chances.

With the final whistle approaching, Peacock-Farrell tipped Lewis Ferguson’s ball over before fellow substitute Lawrence Shankland somehow missed the target with his header.

‘I’m not counting’

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Scotland manager Steve Clarke admitted he was unclear on Andrew Robertson’s injury in their 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland as he insisted he was not concerned abut their seven game winless run.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke insisted he is not too concerned about Scotland’s winless run:

“The performance was ok, the result was obviously disappointing because we wanted to win the game.

“Credit to Northern Ireland, I thought they were excellent and played well and defended for their life.

“The got the goal with the deflected and defended well, we didn’t find enough to get the goal to equalise or go on and win the game.

“I’m not counting, we’re going to be ready in June and that will be the most important thing.”

On Andy Robertson’s injury Clarke said: “He’s just come off the pitch, let the injury take its course.

“He’ll go back to his club and they’ll assess it and hopefully it’s not too serious.”

O’Neill hails Northern Ireland performance

Northern Ireland's Conor Bradley shakes hands with head coach Michael O'Neill
Northern Ireland’s Conor Bradley shakes hands with head coach Michael O’Neill

Michael O’Neill was delighted with the victory and Conor Bradley’s first international goal:

“We played him a little higher up and it was a bit more difficult for him but he gave us energy and his goal was a brilliant finish.

“The energy and distance the team covered was fantastic. Defensively we were excellent, we weathered a storm and threatened on the counter-attack. It was a brilliant goal from Conor and we contained Scotland well.

“The team is still maturing but it was a brilliant performance from the lads.”

Boyd hopeful for Scotland despite latest loss

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Kris Boyd was not too disheartened to see Scotland lose to Northern Ireland as Steve Clarke’s Euro 2024 preparations suffered a blow.

Former Scotland striker Kris Boyd on Sky Sports News:

“The Scotland fans may have been a bit spoiled with recent results, but to boo this group of players off the pitch was really disappointing.

“They don’t deserve it because they’ve taken us to back-to-back Euros.

“Yes it’s been a bad camp and they couldn’t break down a stubborn Northern Ireland side, but they don’t deserve to be booed off the pitch.

“Scotland have failed to break down a Northern Ireland team that are very solid, I don’t think that will be the case against Germany, Hungary and Switzerland.

“They’ll come and have a go at Scotland and it might just suit them with the players Scotland have got.”

What’s next for Scotland and Northern Ireland?

Scotland play two more international friendlies against Gibraltar on June 3 and Finland on June 7 before Clarke’s final 23-player squad for Euro 2024 has to be confirmed on Sunday June 8.

The tournament starts on Friday June 14 with Scotland facing hosts Germany; kick-off 8pm.

Northern Ireland‘s next scheduled fixtures are in September. They face a Nations League double header against Luxembourg (September 5) and Bulgaria (September 8).

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