JAMES FORREST was left on the substitutes’ bench as Scotland flopped to a fourth successive embarrassing Euro 2020 qualifying defeat when Russia ran amok to win 4-0 in Moscow last night.
Ryan Christie started beside his Celtic team-mate on the sidelines although he was introduced for Ryan Fraser in the 68th minute with the Scots already 2-0 behind and heading for another humiliating loss.
International boss Steve Clarke omitted the Hoops double-act from his starting line-up in favour of Sheffield United’s John Fleck, making his Scots debut at the age of 28, and West Ham’s Robert Snodgrass.
But the former Kilmarnock gaffer insisted his team selection did NOT impact on the final result.
Clarke, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I don’t think we went out of the game for the personnel or the team shape or the way we set up the tactics.
“We went out the game because we switched off from a corner and the fragile in confidence let the game run away from us.”
It was scoreless for 57 minutes before the roof fell in and the home nation thumped in three goals in a disastrous 13 minutes before adding a fourth to pile on the misery at the end.
SCOTLAND THE GRAVE…sub Ryan Christie was involved in the latest international setback.
A double from from Artem Dzyuba and sublime finishes from Magomed Ozdoyev and Aleksandr Golovin fired the home side to three points and left the Scots reeling yet again after conceding 13 goals in four losses on the bounce.
Clarke added: “We conceded a soft goal from a corner and to a man we need to be better. From there, we quickly found our way out the game and quickly let it run away from us.
“I have to put it down to fragile confidence, the players seem to lose heart very quickly which is unfortunate because we had done okay up until that point.
“That’s something I’ll have to look at, we can’t keep conceding goals. You have to nod your head to the quality of the opposition we’ve been playing. Russia and Belgium two very good sides that I’m sure will be involved in the latter stages of Euro 2020.
“But, for us, we need to make sure this is the lowest and we build from here and in March to be very competitive to get through the play-offs to give yourself a chance to be in the Championships.
“I think in all the games we’ve played there have been moments where you can see what we are trying to do and where we are trying to get to.
“Obviously, the results are dreadful, I’m not getting away from that or trying to hide behind it. We have to do better, work harder and we have to keep improving as a group and make sure this is the lowest of the low.
“It feels difficult off the back of two 4-0 defeats, but I was brought up the hard way ,so I’m in for the fight and so are the players.”