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‘FOOTBALL FROM THE PAST,’ SOUNESS BLASTS SCOTS’ TACTICS

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GRAEME SOUNESS was clearly unimpressed with Scotland in their 3-1 Euro 2020 Finals exit against Croatia – and insisted Steve Clarke’s team were playing “football from the past” at Hampden last night.

Goals from Nikola Vlasic, Man-of-the-Match Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic saw the visitors ease through while Callum McGregor’s excellent first-half equaliser was the Tartan Army’s only consolation, as Scotzine reported.

The Scots were on the brink of a historic breakthrough of making it out of the group stage for the first time until they were outplayed, outclassed and outgunned in an exasperating performance.

LONG AND SHORT OF IT…Luka Modric shows a clean pair of heels to Lyndon Dykes and Stuart Armstrong.

Former international skipper Souness didn’t pull any punches as he gave his verdict on the disappointing display.

The former Rangers and Liverpool manager said: “It was a bit of a lesson for us.

“I don’t want to be down on the nation, but I came here thinking it was going to be more of the same as we played against England.

“We went too long at times. We tried to hit Lyndon Dykes too often. It made us look a little bit like football from the past, like a team from the past. It was football from another era.

“I don’t think you’ll see another team at the Euros that goes as long as we did. It was route one stuff.

PROBLEM BOY…Stephen O’Donnell did not impress Graeme Souness.

“I’m sorry if that hurts and I get criticism, but that’s how I feel about it. If you want to do well at this level you have to get it down and play football.

“Kieran Tierney, Grant Hanley, Scott McTominay and Scott McKenna – none of them were prepared to go and get the ball and play passes.

“They were quite happy for the goalkeeper to launch it long. I’m leaving here disappointed.

“We’re a country mile away from where they need to be to do well at this level.”

Souness, speaking to ITV4, added: “I would have liked to have changed things in the second-half. The plan in the first-half clearly wasn’t working. It was 68 per cent possession to Croatia.

WALKING ON AIR…Luka Modric celebrates his superb strike for the second goal.

SINKING FEELING…David Marshall looks back as Ivan Perisic’s header sweeps past him for the third goal.

“I would have taken a striker off, try to build a bit more possession in midfield and build from there.

“I get it. The manager has a group of players, but it’s up to him to come up with a way of playing that can get the best out of those players.

“I’d have liked the manager to have changed things in the second-half. He brought young Nathan Patterson on after 78 minutes – that’s not going to affect the game.

“Down the right hand side with Stephen O’Donnell, we had problems all night. He certainly could have done better for the first goal and the third goal.

“I’m disappointed, but it’s not totally unexpected. This Croatia team, when they got on the front foot, were a really good team. And they showed that.

“But we can have no complaints. We were out-footballed by a really good football team; Brozovic, Kovacic, Modric.

“That three in there ran the show. We didn’t have the same energy levels to get about them as we did against England on Friday.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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