Let’s be clear, while Croatia rightly outclassed Scotland last night and deservedly won, the missed opportunity here to actually qualify is absolutely scathing.
Make no mistake, both England and Croatia were absolutely terrible in this tournament up till the final group match, when both finally got their acts together a bit to record wins.
And while the Czechs qualified by right before the first half was even over, they were unequivocally the best team in this group on performance and results.
So Croatia and England were less there for the taking more vulnerable.
Steve Clarke had a chance to use this tournament to blood 3 outstanding youngsters, bringing in talent to the first team. He had the chance to put ‘if they’re good enough they’re old enough’ into real action by using these kids to learn on the job and achieve that dream of the last 16.
The quality of Gilmour, Patterson and Turnbull is undeniable.
And what did he do?
Dingied Turnbull totally, gave Patterson a token gesture cameo when all was lost, and overlooked Gilmour for the opening match.
Rightly, Steve Clarke was punished that disgraceful attitude by losing his best player for the final match.
We’re glad Gilmour wasn’t available, because it exposed the sham of Clarke’s regime. A fluke of entry to this tournament by the back door, then a disgustingly wasted opportunity to show Scotland’s future.
Clarke has the despicable temerity to praise the future of the country when he is in fact the one suffocating it.
Patterson, Turnbull and Gilmour should have been in from the start, but Scotland’s cowardly cronyism manager wasn’t having any of that, and picked garbage instead.
Seeing Stuart Armstrong prancing like a ninny for a good 5 seconds with the ball before passing it to a Croat summed it up.
If this NT is to go forward, it needs a progressive manager not afraid to lose in the name of giving quality young talent a chance. Patterson, Gilmour and Turnbull are among the lads capable of delivering for Scotland.
But none of this will happen under Clarke.