Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall claimed averting a winless 2014 World Cup campaign was not important after a 2-0 defeat in Serbia officially ended their hopes of going to Brazil.
The Cardiff goalkeeper appeared to suggest that finding a settled team for the future was the key concern for Scotland after their fourth consecutive qualifying defeat kept them bottom of Group A with just two points. Marshall, below, also admitted he was determined to silence critics such as former Wales international Mickey Thomas, who last week claimed this Scotland team was the worst in the nation’s history.
Scotland next face Croatia in Zagreb on June 7 before ending their campaign in the autumn with home games against the Croatians and Belgium, who have both amassed 16 points from six games, and a game against Macedonia in Skopje, where Scotland lost on their last visit.
Asked whether Scotland could contemplate going through the whole campaign without a victory, Marshall said: “I don’t think it matters, you either want to qualify or you don’t qualify.
“It doesn’t matter if you are getting beaten every game or if you finish third, you are still not qualifying. I think the main thing for us, it’s a new manager so things are going to take time to gel. It’s earlier on in the campaign that we have been disappointed with. I think in the next few games when the gaffer gets a settled side, it will definitely pick up.”
When asked whether Thomas had had a point, Marshall said: “We don’t really care to be honest. I live in Cardiff and Wales lost six (against Serbia) just a few months ago and they were saying the same about Wales down there.
“It’s swings and roundabouts. We just have to turn draws and defeats into wins, end of story, and shut people up.
“If Mickey Thomas wants to say it’s the worst team in history, I think it’s just a cheap slur.
“We will just get on with it and the only thing we can do to shut people up like that is to win games.”
Marshall was a surprise choice ahead of Allan McGregor and failed to turn around his miserable international record, which now reads six caps, six defeats and 17 goals conceded.
But there was little the former Celtic goalkeeper could do about the two goals by Filip Duricic, which came in quick succession after Jordan Rhodes had shot straight at the goalkeeper in Scotland’s best chance of the night, just before the hour mark.
Alan Hutton and Gary Caldwell were both culpable as Scotland lost cheap goals and the team looked devoid of confidence afterwards.
Marshall said: “It was a disappointing night eventually. I thought first half we did okay, we defended pretty well the first half hour and limited them.
“Even at the start of the second half we had a few chances. Jordan has had a chance just before they scored. It’s a difficult pitch, and it was a difficult chance.
“They have had a bit of luck with the deflections that led to their goals.
“It’s just disappointing that after a good first-half performance we have let in two goals in quick succession.
“We have not won a game in the group, we have disappointed ourselves and let down the fans as well. It is a low dressing room.
“We still believe that we can get victories but we just need to work hard to turn it around. There is nothing else that we can do apart from get on with it.”