Opinion: Why calls for Steve Clarke to go after Scotland 'failure' are out or order

It's the morning after the night before - and I can't believe there are calls for Steve Clarke to go.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 11:51 am
Scotland's players applauds the fans following to Croatia. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

OK, Scotland s loss to Croatia has once again left us short of the knockout stages in a major competition. But is that really enough to justify firing the manager?

Clarke took us to within 90 minutes of getting out of the group stages. That's as far as any Scotland manager has taken us. Ever.

Remember, it's not that long ago we were watching a Scotland team getting thumped 3-0 in Kazakhstan. And thanking our lucky stars it was 'only' 3-0.

Anyone suggesting after that horror show in Astana - just two years ago, remember - that we would be where we are today would have got some quizzical looks to say the least

Thanks to some very good friends at sponsors Heineken I was able to enjoy - if that's the word - Scotland trying to create their own piece of history. And I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Yes, we fell short. Again. But it shouldn't be overlooked that we were playing a team, albeit who have declined slightly since, that were good enough to make the last World Cup final.

Yes, we gave Luka Modric too much room. But world class players have that ability to create space for themselves and better teams and players than ours have tried, and failed, to stop him.

Yes, Steve Clarke might have made changes earlier. I'm not for a minute suggesting he is beyond reproach.

Nathan Patterson for O'Donnell when we went 2-1 down to bring more drive going forward would have been one option, introducing Ryan Christie to try and prise open the Croatian defence another.

It wasn't to be. But that, like it or not, is just who we are in international football terms.

Of course we should always have the ambition and drive to go further. But that also has to be tempered with a reality check.

As a nation we are fond of lambasting the 'in it to win it' outlook and unrealistic expectations prevalent south of the border whenever a major tournament comes around.

Maybe we should practice what preach.