Football

5 Important Things We Learned From Scotland’s Games v Belgium and Albania

5 Important Things We Learned From Scotland’s Games v Belgium and Albania

Scotland ended this international break on a positive note after beating Albania 2-0 last night.

They went into their Nations League opening game off the back of a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Belgium at Hampden on Friday night.

But they got over that result well with a deserved victory over the Albanians to kick off the new, additional, Euro 2020 qualifying format on a high.

Now it’s back to club football for the players, leaving Alex McLeish with plenty of time to think about what was good and what was bad this week.

Here are the five important things we learned from the games:

1 – Beating Albania is All That Matters

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Who cares about Belgium now? As has been said plenty of times, Roberto Martinez’s side are one of the best in the world so should we have expected anything else from the Tartan Army on Friday night? Albania was the competitive game and Scotland got the job done. And that’s particularly encouraging when you consider some of the European minnows who have visited Hampden in the past and left with points.

2 – McLeish Doesn’t Know His Best Team

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The starting XI for Belgium and the one that started against Albania last night was quite different – with McLeish making some changes for the better. The fact Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths were demoted to the bench suggests the Scotland manager isn’t entirely convinced they are first names on the team sheet. There were several stars on the bench too, while others didn’t even make the squad for one reason or another. It’s safe to say McLeish has no idea who makes up his best team yet.

3 – John Souttar is a Senior Player Now

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Based on his performances this week, Souttar now must be considered part of the senior set-up moving forward. He barely put a foot wrong against Belgium and was superb last night against Albania. Centre half has been a big problem for Scotland over the years, but Souttar’s emergence as a top player at Hearts is a big positive from these games.

4 – There’s a Goalkeeping Battle

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Craig Gordon started on Friday night, but was replaced by Allan McGregor last night – and the performances of both would suggest there’s a battle on for the number one jersey. Gordon has been the Scotland goalie for a while now, but McGregor is more in the focus now that he’s back at Rangers. Expect the debate around who is the best goalkeeper to rumble on.

5 – Something Needs to Change at Hampden

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The attendances and atmospheres inside Hampden over the last week should be a worry for the SFA. Ticket prices for both games were called into question by many supporters and that was reflected in the large number of empty seats in the national stadium for both matches. It’s too easy to say fans stayed away because of the team’s recent performances, results or the fact McLeish is manager. Ticket prices and the general lack of enthusiasm for playing at Hampden in its current state must raise serious questions – and we need answers as soon as possible.

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