08 Oct We got what we deserved. Nothing.
Scotland 2-2 Poland
We are out and got what we deserved. Nothing.
Georgia remains on all of our minds after a night of agony at Hampden park with a 2-2 draw against Poland and the news from Dublin that Ireland had defeated the world champions Germany.
There’s no point in talking about heroic failure. We failed.
The first half of this match was dire. Most of us were just settling in and going through all the permutations of what we needed to qualify when Robert Lewandowski popped up with the opener after three minutes.
We kept him out for three minutes! Talk about backing up the hype.
Milik played him in and despite the merest hint of offside, he dispatched it past Marshall at his near post.
We looked shell shocked and for the remainder of the first half we struggled to stick three or four passes together.
There was no threat from Scotland and then boom!
Right on the stroke of half-time Matt Ritchie comes up with a rocket to fire us back into the game and re-ignite our belief that France 2016 was a possibility.
We almost blew it inside the first minute of the second half when Milik’s shot had to be tipped past the post by Marshall.
Cometh the hour, or just passed it, Hampden erupted as Steven Fletcher produced a moment of sheer class to shut up the critics and fire Scotland into a remarkable 2-1 lead.
Now it was all about tuning into to see when the World champions Germany were going to score against Ireland. I say when, not if, at this point.
However, the Republic hadn’t read the script, Shane Long scored in 70 minutes to shock the Germans and flatten Hampden park.
Now, we are all thinking, either Germany equalise or we have to hope Ireland can go to Poland and win to keep us alive.
Not going to happen.
We needn’t have worried about any faint hopes of still being able to make it. Right on cue, in the 90th minute, we couldn’t defend the last kick of the ball. Kamil Grosicki’s tame free kick comes off Grant Hanley, deflects onto the post and who is there on the line to score Poland’s equaliser? Yes, that man Lewandowski.
The Republic of Ireland deserve at least a play-off because they took destiny into their own hands and came up with the performances to merit their position.
We, on the other hand, couldn’t muster a shot in Georgia and the 2-0 defeat effectively killed us there and then.
There are many reasons as to why we are simply not good enough to make it to a major championship, but that analysis is for another column.
This one is simply to say, we are out and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.