5 things we learned from Scotland's defeat in Slovakia


Scotland's 2018 World Cup hopes were dealt another blow as they lost 3-0 to Slovakia on Tuesday night.

Here, we take a look at five things we learned from their galling Group F qualifying encounter in Trnava.

Gordon Strachan on the brink?

Gordon Strachan instructs from the sidelines against Slovakia - (Nick Potts/PA)

The Scotland boss straight-batted questions about his future following the game, which left the Scots in fourth place and with five dropped points from their first three Group F fixtures.

Public opinion is turning against the former Celtic manager, and even the Tartan Army seem to have lost faith. Wembley could be his swansong.

It seems there is no end to campaign failures.

Scotland's Kevin Gallacher at the 1998 World Cup in France - (Matthew Ashton/EMPICS Sport)

Scotland last qualified for the finals of a major tournament in 1998. There is a generation of fans who have never seen the dark blue on the big stage and it is highly unlikely that they will be going to Russia.

Defeat at Wembley will all but confirm that, with almost two years before the beginning of the next qualification campaign. That's over 20 years without a major tournament appearance.

Lack of cutting edge.

Darren Fletcher, Russell Martin and Steven Fletcher - (Nick Potts/PA)

Scotland do not create a lot of chances, and they squander too many of the ones they do make.

Steven Fletcher, Robert Snodgrass and James McArthur all missed opportunities in Slovakia, and although there is a clamour for Leigh Griffiths to start matches - understandably given he scored 40 goals for Celtic last season - even he failed to beat the Slovakia goalkeeper with a couple of chances, having come on as a substitute.

Centre-back remains a problem.

Scotland's Grant Hanley against Slovakia - (Nick Potts/PA)

Russell Martin and Grant Hanley try their best, but when opposition teams score as easily as Slovakia did with their third goal - a corner to the unmarked Adam Nemec - then questions have to be asked.

The biggest problem Strachan or any future Scotland manager has, is that there are no obvious replacements either in the wings or coming through the youth system.

Mixed messages from Strachan.

Scotland's Oliver Burke in training - (John Walton/PA)

Striker Chris Martin's second-half display against Lithuania in the 1-1 draw at Hampden Park on Saturday was described by Strachan as "outstanding".

In spite of that, Martin remained on the bench on Tuesday night while Oliver Burke, the £13 million RB Leipzig signing, was dropped and nowhere to be seen. Somewhat puzzling.