Souness: Scotland ‘like a team from the past’ in Croatia defeat

Graeme Souness was disappointed that Clarke never made changes after a dominant first half from Croatia.

Graeme Souness has hit out at Scotland’s tactics in their Euro 2020 defeat to Croatia and said it “made us look like a team from the past”.

The 54-times capped former international was left disappointed that Steve Clarke never changed things for the second half as they crashed out of the tournament with a 3-1 defeat at Hampden.

Former Liverpool, Rangers and Sampdoria star Souness, who won three European Cups and played at three World Cups during a trophy-laden career on both sides of the border, claimed Scotland played it long to striker Lyndon Dykes too often, and blamed this for Croatia’s dominant spells of possession.

Speaking after Tuesday night’s defeat, the 68-year-old said: “It was a little bit of a lesson for us. I would have liked us to have changed things for the second half, the plan in the first half clearly wasn’t working.

“It was something like 68% possession in the first half to Croatia, I’d have taken a striker off, tried to get a bit more possession in midfield and build from there.

“I think we went too long at times, I think we tried to hit Lyndon Dykes too often and it looked like football from the past and made us look a little bit like a team from the past.”

Callum McGregor brought Scotland level just before half-time despite Clarke’s men being under pressure from an impressive Croatia display, with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric the star performer.

And it was Modric who put the visitors ahead in the second half before Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic scored the third and put the game beyond Scotland’s reach.

Souness conceded that Clarke doesn’t have that type of quality at his disposal, but would have liked to have seen him use his squad more when it became clear things weren’t going as planned.

He continued: “I get that the manager has a group of players and it is up to the manager to come up with the idea and a way of playing that he thinks will get the best out of them, but I would have liked to have seen him change certain things in the second half.

“We got young Paterson on with seven or eight minutes to go when it’s not going to affect the game.

“I think down the right hand side, with O’Donnell, we had problems all night. When we analyse it later you’ll see he could have certainly done better for the first goal and the third goal.

“So disappointed but not totally unexpected, because we knew this Croatia team, if they got on the front foot, were a really good team.”

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