Scotland captain Andrew Robertson fumed in his team-mates after their loss to Russia abandoned their Euro 2020 hopes.
Despite taking a 10th-minute lead through John McGinn, Scotland were beaten by goals in each half by Artem Dzyuba along with a second-half own goal from Stephen O’Donnell, making them six points away from the second qualifying place in Group I – and with Belgium to visit Hampden Park on Monday night, live on Sky Sports.
Robertson took aim in his side reaction to their glowing start at Hampden Park, saying he’d”never seen anything like” the way he felt his nation froze after netting the opener.
“There is frustration, aggravation, everything which goes along with it,” he told Sky Sports. “You’ll feel it in the stands and we’ve only got ourselves to blame for that, they’ve got every right. It was not great enough.
“First 15 minutes I thought we had been good, got the goal and it was as if it scared us, I have never seen anything like this before. That should change, it ought to be a positive not a negative When we go into an outcome.
“I am annoyed with everything. Completed, all except David Marshall of us. To get 10 players from the start not actually showing up and putting in the performances we could is not going to win you a match of soccer.”
Goalscorer McGinn sacked Alex McLeish to this qualifying effort and laid the blame squarely at a lack of belief among the Scotland gamers, not having qualified for a tournament of any sort since 1998.
“This was a mixture of things, perhaps we lacked a little belief and that is not acceptable,” he explained. “We have to think we can proceed and make it 2-0 and 3-0 because if we do not do we aren’t likely to create any tournaments. We all know we are capable in there and that’s the thing that is annoying.
“All the boys have been gutted. We all know we have messed up and we understand what we have to improve on and, if it happens again, hopefully we will be in better position to fix it”
Manager Steve Clarke shared his captain’s pity, lamenting how Scotland”froze” later McGinn’s target, and stated it had made their showdown with world No 1 rated Belgium a must-win game should they still harbour hopes of qualifying for the next year’s finals.
He said:”We began the game so well, got ourselves ahead and then froze. We could not believe we had been in front. We took our foot off the gas and gave them the momentum. It is a disappointing result after such a bright start.
“If you’re going to be eligible you have to turn up at the games and the huge nights. It was a night we needed to turn upward, we did in the beginning and were in the match at the start but if it goes 2-1 the momentum swings, we risk a good deal, place some strain on although that the Russians were always a threat on the counter and we had to be skeptical of that.
“Now it’s about getting the lads up and positive for the match on Monday. It is nearly a must-win. That’s the situation, we have placed ourselves. We have got to get something, and when we have three points it would certainly give us half a chance of getting through.”