Scotland swept aside by clinical Belgium as gulf in class shows

Syndicate Post image

Belgium showed their prowess as they cruised to a 4-0 win over Scotland in their friendly at Hampden Park.

Romelu Lukaku’s goal after 28 minutes gave the World Cup semi-finalists a deserved interval lead and Eden Hazard thundered in a second within a minute of the restart.

Half-time substitute Michy Batshuayi, on loan at Valencia from Chelsea, then scored twice in seven minutes to compound the misery of the Scots.

Belgium’s Michy Batshuayi celebrates with Youri Tielemans
Belgium’s Michy Batshuayi celebrates with Youri Tielemans (Ian Rutherford/PA)

The fixture acted as a warm-up for Scotland’s Nations League opener against Albania at the national stadium on Monday night and it will have done nothing for morale.

It was also boss Alex McLeish’s fifth friendly match in his second spell as Scotland boss and he has one win and four defeats to contemplate ahead of the real business which starts against the Albanians, with a view to making the 2020 European Championship.

McLeish had named Andy Robertson as captain and handed 21-year-old Hearts defender John Souttar his Scotland debut.

Souttar was alongside the experienced Charlie Mulgrew and Kieran Tierney in a back three playing in front of Craig Gordon, preferred to Allan McGregor in goal.

Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata was included in a strong Belgium side who started slowly in front of a crowd of just 20,196 before stretching away.

Scotland began the match full of optimism
Scotland began the match full of optimism (Ian Rutherford/PA)

Gordon was called into action in the sixth minute when he saved a 20-yard free-kick from Dries Mertens, after John McGinn had tripped Eden Hazard.

In the 17th minute Mertens whipped a shot over the bar from 25 yards, as did Youri Tielemans moments later.

Scotland could only blame themselves for the loss of the opener.

Gordon’s quick throw-out to McGinn outside the box did the Aston Villa midfielder no favours as he was dispossessed by Mousa Dembele.

The Tottenham midfielder laid the ball off to Thorgan Hazard whose quick pass to Lukaku allowed him to knock the ball into the net from close range with only Mulgrew guarding the goal.

In the 39th minute Vincent Kompany’s header from a Thorgan Hazard corner clipped the bar on the way over before Gordon made a double block at his near post, first from Hazard and then Lukaku, with the home side surviving the corner.

Hazard made it 2-0 before a minute of the second half had been played when he cracked a left-footed drive from 12 yards past Gordon at his near post.

It soon got worse for McLeish’s side. In the 52nd minute Batshuayi took a pass from Eden Hazard in a swift Belgium break and guided the ball low past Gordon from 14 yards.

The fourth came when Scotland substitute Ryan Jack was robbed by Tielemans, with Batshuayi taking the ball and lashing a drive from just outside the box past Gordon.

Scotland should have pulled a goal back minutes later when Callum McGregor crossed for Naismith, on for Griffiths, but his effort was blocked by Thibaut Courtois, who then clawed away a Ryan Fraser chip in the 83rd minute, depriving the Scots of even a consolation.

Cancel