Andrew Smith

Alex McLeish admits Scotland players were affected by nerves against minnows

Alex McLeish admitted his Scotland team were afflicted by nerves after the Tartan Army turned on the SFA during the uninspiring 2-0 win in San Marino. The beleaguered Scotland manager conceded the performance fell short of what was sought following the cataclysmic 3-0 defeat in their Euro 2020 opener three days earlier against Kazakhstan but urged the nation’s support to stick by his players.

David Bates challenges Albania's Rei Manaj at the Loro Borici stadium, in Shkoder

Alex McLeish can see something of himself in David Bates

Amid the legitimate cheers about the effervescence that Scotland displayed going forward in their trouncing of Albania on Saturday night, it was easy to overlook the huge encouragement offered by a presence at the other end of the pitch for Alex McLeish’s men.

Scotland's James Forrest scores his side's fourth goal of the game. Pic: Adam Davy/PA

Albania 0 - 4 Scotland: Dominant Scotland hammer hosts

As a keen proponent of sports science, on Friday night Alex McLeish would have visualised everything going right against Albania. Yet even then he would never have been so fanciful as to imagine that everything could come together as perfectly as it did tonight.


National stadium: Hobson’s choice facing SFA’s secret seven

It is not often sympathy might be extended to SFA bods but you have to feel sorry for the seven board members of the governing body that today will deliberate on the future of Hampden. For frankly, a Hobson’s choice faces president Alan McRae, vice-president Rod Petrie, chief executive Ian Maxwell, Neil Doncaster, Mike Mulraney, Thomas McKeown and Anna Stewart. There is simply no right answer to the question of whether the Mount Florida stadium or Murrayfield should host Scottish internationals and major cup occasions beyond 2020.


Kyle Lafferty hopes Rangers up bid but won’t force the issue

Kyle Lafferty yesterday confessed that he hoped his match-winning contribution in the 1-0 victory over Celtic might have a two-fold effect. The striker insisted that his appreciation of Hearts would ensure he would never stop giving his all for the club in the midst of Rangers’ pursuit of him.

Celtic's Scott Sinclair rues a missed chance. Picture: SNS

Celtic 0 - 0 Rangers: Both sides pass up gilt-edged chances

This was a rarity of a derby in that it was all about Rangers in a manner their followers could embrace and provided another moral victory at Parkhead for Graeme Murty. That the victory could well have been of the real variety is a testament to what the Ibrox manager was able to draw from his side.

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