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McGREGOR’S GOAL IS SCOTS’ SOLITARY SUCCESS IN ANOTHER SETBACK

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CALLUM McGREGOR scored his first international goal at Hampden this evening, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Scotland slumping to a 3-1 loss to Croatia.

The chance to make history and reach the knock-out stages of a major tournament were torpedoed by Luka Modric who ran the show and scored a magnificent goal just to emphasise the gif in class between the sides.

The Croats had 70 per cent of possession against a struggling Scots outfit who have the Celtic midfielder to thank for their only goal in the competition after losing 2-0 to Czech Republic and drawing 0-0 with England at Wembley in the two previous ties.

NO CHANCE…Callum McGregor’s low drive flashes past Croatia keeper Dominik Luvakavic for Scotland’s moment of joy.

McGregor struck three minutes before half-time to cancel out Nikola Vlašić’s 17th-minute opener, but a blistering strike from mastermind Modric just after the hour mark had them wobbling before Ivan Perisic applied the knock-out blow with a header from a left-wing corner-kick from his captain that brought the third 13 minutes from the end.

Steve Clarke’s attention now turns to a tough World Cup qualification triple-header in the first week of September with a home match against Moldova sandwiched between trips to Denmark and Austria.

McGregor, speaking to STV, said: “The lads are shattered. They put so much energy into it.

“The fans were amazing again, so we just want to thank them for their input. We just lost to too much quality in the end. The second goal, Modric puts it in with the outside of his foot in the top corner. That’s what you’re up against at this level, so it’s a tough lesson.

NO CHANCE…David Marshall dives in vain as Luka Modric makes it 2-1 for Croatia.

“It’s always nice to score and to get my first goal for my country is a proud moment, but, ultimately, we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the result we wanted.

“It’s been an amazing experience. Every single one of us has learned so much. It was such a tough learning experience against some really top players, but it just gives you the hunger to get back here. We’ve got the World Cup and we want to make sure we’re on that stage again.

“It just makes us so hungry.”

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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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