Scotland manager Alex McLeish says Kazakhstan defeat 'horrible'
Scotland lost 3-0 against Kazakhstan in their opening European Qualifier on Thursday
Last Updated: 22/03/19 8:15am
Alex McLeish has described Scotland's humiliating 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan in their opening European Qualifier as "horrible".
Scotland were hoping to get their qualification for Euro 2020 off to a good start against a team ranked 117th in the world, but two quick first-half goals and another in the second saw them defeated at the Astana Arena.
Manager McLeish tried to use Scotland's rugby team as inspiration after their 38-38 draw with England in last weekend's Six Nations finale, but unfortunately, it did not have the desired effect.
He told Sky Sports: "It was horrible. We started brightly and then they hit us with two blockbusters. It was then really difficult and it was disappointing not to see a great reaction.
"At half-time, we tried to change it a little bit to see if it could unsettle Kazakhstan, but they were first to the second balls, they looked very sharp on the night and unfortunately, after a good start, we didn't get up to speed.
"You can only impart your experience to the players and we actually brought the rugby team into it and their reaction last week at Twickenham and use that as an example. We said 'you've got to roll your sleeves up' and I believe if we could have got one goal, we then could have gone on and got another one. But unfortunately, Kazakhstan were a team on fire tonight.
"It's a sore one. We've had big defeats before but the facts are that we were beaten by a team who are lower than us so on paper, we should win but I think you've got to give a little bit of credit to Kazakhstan in the way they played and took advantage of us and our inability to get to the second balls, to play if forward quicker, taking too many touches and that was a big factor.
"It was an extremely important game and it's the first one, so we know there are a lot of other games but we know that tonight wasn't good enough."
Scotland captain Callum McGregor - who was filling in as skipper for defender Andy Robertson - says the team must take responsibility for the performance.
"Obviously, we're devastated. We were nowhere near good enough on the night and they totally deserve it. We have to hold our hands up and say we were nowhere near it tonight," he told Sky Sports.
"We never started the game well. We came here, it's an intimidating stadium, but you've got to start well and give yourself half a chance, but we lost two goals in quick successive and that throws us off and we never recovered from that.
"It's massive frustration. You come away, you want to start the campaign well, but you've got to play better than that if you want to gain points. We know it's a bad result and we've got to go again in the next couple of days, we've got another game to try and take steps to make it right.
"If we get a good result in that game, we can finish on that positive but we know we've got to be better than that."
Scotland will face San Marino - the lowest ranked side in world football - in their next European Qualifier on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.