SCOTLAND defender Grant Hanley was left wondering what might have been after missing a free header from 6 yards at Wembley last night that would have given Scotland a well deserved first half equaliser.
Sadly for Hanley and the Scots at Wembley it was a frustrating night of missed opportunities as a clinical English side scooped up three of the four chances they created in the match – all of them headers – to give the group leaders a flattering 3-0 victory against a Scottish side that huffed, puffed but ultimately could not lay a glove on a ropey English back four.
“‘It’s the chances we missed that have cost us the game. They took their chances and have won the game 3-0,” reflected the Newcastle defender after the match.
“We can say we’re unlucky but at the end of the day it comes down to the chances we missed.
“If my header goes in we would definitely be talking about a different story.
“I’ve got to score that. That’s the bottom line. Or at least hit the target.
“Although they had their goal, they were already rattled at that point. If that goes in it’s a different game.”
Sadly for Scotland it wasn’t even close. It was that kind of night and once again the famous Tartan Army, who streamed out of Wembley in the closing minutes with tails between legs, were left to reflect on the damage done in the previous two games at home to Lithuania and away to Slovakia.
Minutes earlier England had opened the scoring against the run of play and certainly Hanley’s view that England had benefited from the rub of the green seemed justified.
“Christophe and I have both gone to block the first shot. It hit me in the stomach and went to Kyle Walker but on another day it hits me and goes 20 yards in the other direction,” he said.
“That’s football. You’ve got to ride your luck at times and I think they did.”
Scotland in these last three matches have scored one goal, lost seven and have taken one point from nine.
Two of the opposing teams have been frankly poor and England are no great shakes. They are just better than us.
“Then big Lee Wallace cuts the ball back to Snoddy and you wouldn’t want anybody else on the end of it. The boy’s made a good block and they go up the other end and score. That kills you a bit.
“At any level if you don’t take your chances you’ll get punished for it but especially at this level.”
Overall and like most people watching the match Hanley reckoned that the score flattered the hosts.
“I just don’t think it was a 3-0 game. I can’t really remember them having that many chances,” he said.
“Obviously it’s a different story when they are 3-0 up. They were keeping the ball and looking confident.
“But it certainly wasn’t that kind of game. We felt like we put them under pressure. At stages in the first half and at the start of the second half they looked rattled.
“But they have world class players in their team playing in the Champions League. That’s the bottom line.”
A clearly frustrated Hanley reckons that his gutted teammates should be proud of their Wembley showing despite the scoreline.
“I think the boys can be proud of their efforts and proud of what they’ve shown,” he said.
“At the end of the day I’m gutted we’re coming away on the end of a 3-0 defeat. We felt we had a great chance in the game.
“We said at half-time ‘what a chance we have here, we can’t miss it.’
“We were more than holding our own and to come away with a 3-0 defeat is really disappointing.”
Ultimately Scotland were sent homewards to think again.