Scotland’s Euro 2020 hopes hanging by a thread

Scotland's hopes of ending their lengthy exile from major international tournaments were dashed following a thrashing by Belgium on Monday evening

Scotland suffered yet another humiliating defeat on Monday evening when they went down 4-0 to an impressive Belgium side at Hampden Park. This emphatic thumping was hardly a surprise given the level of opposition which the Scots were up against but it only served to further underline the fact that Steve Clarke’s men are far removed from the best sides in Europe. Indeed it’s fair to say that Scotland are now a third-level footballing nation on the international circuit and this fact is further emphasised by their lengthy exile from international competition. The last time that the Scots were involved in a major competition was the 1998 World Cup (with the exception of the UEFA Nations League which included all countries) and this lengthy absence from the circuit looks set to be extended even further following this week’s defeat to the Red Devils.

Scotland sit nine points adrift of the top two berths in Euro 2020 Qualifying Group I with just four matches left to play. The defeat to Belgium was their third loss on the bounce with nine goals conceded and just one scored during this time. They sit behind the likes of Kazakhstan and Cyprus in their group and the bookies certainly aren’t confident that they can claw their way back into contention.

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In fairness, Scotland have been hopelessly out of their depth in this qualifying campaign with only tiny San Marino sitting below them in the group table. The bookies go 2500/1 that they somehow manage to qualify and win the competition but let’s face it, that’s not going to happen.

What is the way forward for Scotland? Steve Clarke is hardly likely to be sacked anytime soon, especially so given the scarcity of candidates who would be willing to fill his shoes in the Hampden Park dugout. The quality of the squad is questionable to say the least and the likelihood is that Scotland’s absence from the international circuit is likely to last for many years to come.