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Scotland 2 Finland 2: Five talking points from final warm-up match



Shankland fails to press claim

This probably wasn’t too far away from the starting line-up that Steve Clarke will send out in Munich but question marks remain next to one or two positions. This, then, served as a dress rehearsal for a few to improve (or weaken) their prospects. There was a start for Lawrence Shankland at the apex of the attack and he looked eager — too eager at times — to make an impression. It is hard to see Clarke looking beyond Che Adams as his starting centre forward and Shankland probably didn’t do enough here to change his mind despite a fine goal.

Robertson still the fans’ favourite

There’s a statistic for just about everything these days but the announcement that Andy Robertson was captaining his country for the 49th time — a national team record — was greeted warmly by the Hampden crowd. International players tend to dip in and out of favour but the Liverpool defender has always been popular with the fans for his endeavour. He looked particularly eager here to deliver a positive sign-off, making his way repeatedly into the Finland box, and provided assists for Scotland’s two goals.

From feelgood factor to frustration

Scotland couldn’t deliver the feelgood farewell that the country had been desperately hoping for as they let a two-goal lead slip from their grasp to slump to a disappointing draw. Watching the national team has been a bit of a slog for much of this year, with the disappointment of the friendly loss to Northern Ireland compounded by the sluggish performance earlier in the week against Gibraltar. This, though, was the one they had to get right, the final outing in front of the Tartan Army before they head to Germany and that much-anticipated clash with the hosts on the European Championship opening night.

For long spells, however, it was all rather tame. With little of note to get the fans going during an uneventful first half, the Hampden Roar was replaced by more of a discontented murmur. When Billy Gilmour then elected to pass rather than shoot late in the opening period, there were audible groans of frustration. This was like turning up for a party only to discover they’d ran out of booze, the food was stale and the music system was broken.

The result was inconsequential but vitally important both at the same time. The players looked slightly sheepish as they took a rather subdued lap of honour at full-time, although it wasn’t long before the supporters returned to song as Que Sera, Sera boomed out all around the stadium. It wasn’t the ending they wanted as the farewell fell flat but all roads now lead to Germany where it will really count.

Robertson salutes the fans after playing a part in Scotland’s opener


Mixed night for veteran Gordon

Ever the pragmatist, Clarke elected not to confirm his final squad prior to kick-off. Those sorts of decisions rarely stay secret for long, however, with news leaking out that Craig Gordon, right, and John Souttar were the two expected to be cut.

The Hearts goalkeeper was named among the substitutes, sparking a suggestion that the 41-year-old would be afforded one final Hampden outing before heading into international retirement. After 68 minutes it happened, Gordon making that languid stroll on to the pitch.

With the fans chanting his name, it wasn’t long before he was showing he hasn’t lost it, diverting a shot onto a post, but he later conceded a penalty and was booked.

No new injury worries for Clarke

High on Clarke’s wish list for things he wanted from this final warm-up was “no injuries”. Goodness knows, he’s had his fill of them in the build-up, losing Nathan Patterson and Lewis Ferguson, among others.

That the medical team weren’t required to attend to a stricken player has to go down as one of the positives on the night, although there was panic twice in the second half when Anthony Ralston landed with a bump as he attempted to fasten on to a cross and then took a nasty kick to the leg.
Mercifully the Celtic defender was fine to continue both times.

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