BELGIUM 3 SCOTLAND 0
TWO goals from Romelu Lukaku condemned Steve Clarke to his first defeat as Scotland boss as Belgium powered to victory in the Euro 2020 qualifier in Brussels on Tuesday, June 11.
The Manchester United striker scored either side of the break and Kevin de Bruyne added a stoppage-time third.
The Scots are now fourth in Group I – three points adrift of Russia in the second automatic qualification place.
Clarke’s side now must steel themselves for Hampden dates with Russia and Belgium in September, knowing they will need to take points from those games to revive their hopes of automatic qualification.
However, Scotland have already secured a Nations League play-off semi-final should they fail to finish in the top two in the section.
There was a blow before kick-off when captain Andy Robertson had to withdraw with a hamstring problem.
There was another as the interval approached when Eden Hazard pivoted around Kenny McLean and fleetingly lost control of the ball before retrieving it from the touchline after Scott McTominay tried to let it run out. The attacker’s cross was perfect for Lukaku, who powered above Charlie Mulgrew and thumped a header into the net.
Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois clawed away a Ryan Fraser effort in fine style, but the home nation were in control which was demonstrated by Lukuaku’s second goal when he rammed home the rebound after David Marshall had pushed away a low drive from Du Bruyne, who claimed No.3 with a sweeping drive into the corner.
SCOTLAND: Marshall; O’Donnell, Mulgrew, McKenna, Taylor; Russell (sub: Forrest 67), McTominay, McLean, Armstrong (sub: Fraser 32), McGregor; Burke.