Shorter title: Steve Clarke clashes with assistant coach and press during Scotland’s Euro 2024 defeat

Shorter title: Steve Clarke clashes with assistant coach and press during Scotland’s Euro 2024 defeat

Steve Clarke has brushed away speculation of a backroom fracas after he was seen angrily exchanging views with assistant coach Austin MacPhee during Scotland’s woeful 5-1 defeat to Germany. 

The Tartan Army were unable to start their travails in Germany off on the right foot when Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz broke the deadlock after just 10 minutes played in Munich on Friday evening. 

Jamal Musiala doubled the host nation’s scoreline less than 10 minutes later, before Scottish fortunes took a turn for the worst with Ryan Porteous’ red card following a crunching tackle on Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan. 

Kai Havertz buried the ensuing penalty, before Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can – both off the bench – added to Julian Nagelsman’s side’s haul in their Euro 2024 opening clash. 

Although Scotland were able to pull cold consolation back from an Antonio Rudiger own goal to see the match end 5-1, tempers likely flared on the touchline, and Clarke and his assistant were caught on camera apparently mid-dispute. 

Steve Clarke (foreground) was caught seeming to castigate assistant coach Austin MacPhee

The Scotland manager offered a slightly prickly response when questioned about the incident

The Scotland manager offered a slightly prickly response when questioned about the incident

While the spark of the disagreement wasn’t shown to viewers on ITV, commentator Sam Matterface claimed that: ‘it all came from a disappointing Scotland free-kick and there was a bit of an argument going on in the Scotland technical area between Steve Clarke and Austin MacPhee. Clarke wanted them to utilise that set piece better.’

His co-commentator Ally McCoist added: ‘You’d have thought so. It’s an opportunity to put the ball in the opposition box and give yourself a chance.

‘If you are going to get any foothold in the game, or give yourself any kind of chance you need to get the ball in the box. And the way the game is down to ten men, your best opportunity to do that is from a set play.’ 

But Clarke was quick to snuff out concern of a split between him and his staff member when queried about the incident after the final whistle. 

‘Is that a serious question?’ The Scotland manager said after a brief hesitation during his post-match press conference. 

‘Yeah we’re fine. I don’t even remember it. We’re fine.’ 

MacPhee (far left) also works at Aston Villa as a set piece coach when not on international duty

MacPhee (far left) also works at Aston Villa as a set piece coach when not on international duty

After a disappointing first result, Scotland have five days to pick themselves and prepare for their next outing against Hungary. 

Jack Hendry urged his side not to get too down-in-the-mouth against arguably their toughest group-stage test, stressing that it was important to keep spirits high with two games left to play. 

‘Obviously, it’s an extremely disappointing result and probably the manner that it came about,’ the defender said at full-time. ‘Now we’ve got to focus on the games coming up. 

‘Anything is possible, you can’t get too downbeat. Germany are a very good team. We have got to dust ourselves down and move forward.

‘We’ll analyse what went wrong when we get back to base camp and try and make sure that doesn’t happen in the next two games. I don’t think we can be too critical on ourselves given that we’ve got two games remaining.

Scotland have until Wednesday to dust themselves off and prepare for the second Group A tie

Scotland have until Wednesday to dust themselves off and prepare for the second Group A tie

‘As footballers, you always analyse games so for us now it’s extremely important we get to the bottom of how that result came about. We’ll learn from it and hopefully give a better account of ourselves in the next game. Games come quickly, this one will be swept under the carpet quite quickly.

‘When you go down to 10 men against a top team like Germany it’s never going to be great. We have come this far because we’re a strong nation. We stick together and we can’t let a result like this get us down.’

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *