'We're going to get stick but it could have been worse' – McLeish points to red card & heat

Dor Peretz

Alex McLeish conceded Scotland “are going to get a bit of stick” for their abject Nations League defeat in Israel but warned it could have been worse.

McLeish, who criticised the decision to send off John Souttar at 1-1, said his team “have to suffer a bit” after their 2-1 humiliation in Haifa.

The defeat came against a side with just two home wins in four years.

“It’s doom and gloom, we lost, we know the consequence of losing, you have to suffer a wee bit for it,” McLeish said.

“We’re obviously going to get a bit of stick about this and it’s up to us to bounce back. That’s what normally I would expect from Scottish people.”

Fooled, roasted & devastated

Charlie Mulgrew’s penalty had the Scots ahead at half-time, before Israel’s onslaught was ramped up.

Dor Peretz pulled the hosts level seven minutes after the restart, with Souttar receiving a second yellow on the hour for a clumsy tug on Munas Dabbur.

Kieran Tierney’s own goal 15 minutes from time – slicing an attempted clearance into his own net – gave the Israelis the win they deserved.

However, the Scotland manager said the main turning point in the “roasting” heat of Haifa was Souttar’s dismissal.

“He fooled the referee,” said McLeish of Dubbar. “I thought it was very soft. The referee was about 60 yards away and not up with play. Maybe he had something in his ear.

“It’s never easy playing with 10 against 11. Israel had one or two players in really good form and they deserved it on the night although we are disappointing with the goals we lost.

“John was devastated but young players are allowed to make mistakes. At the same time, in international football it can be devastating.”

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‘We didn’t think Israel were a right bad team’

Despite the alarming manner of the defeat and the fact Scotland have lost five out of seven games under McLeish, they remain top of their Nations League group after two games on goal difference.

McLeish, who bristled at the suggestion this was a reality check against a side 55 places below them in the world rankings, remains defiant that this side can put things right.

Scotland travel to face Albania on 17 November, before hosting the Israelis three days later.

“None of the coaches watching Israel’s recent games thought that was a right bad team,” said the Scotland boss of a side who have won just once in their last 10.

“It was difficult in the second half. The goals we lost were harder to go in than one or two chances they had close range when we were under the cosh.

“We will look at the game again, analyse it and see where we can put things right.”

‘It’s as bad as a performance as you’ll see’ – reaction

Former Scotland international Willie Miller on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound:

You can’t hide how bad that performance was. It’s as bad as you’re liable to see from a Scotland team.

I don’t like apologies but you have to address the fact the team were poor and kind of cleanse yourself and try to build it back up again. You can’t just ignore it and talk about the red card and make excuses.

Alex can’t let it get any worse. He’s got the chance to rectify it in the next two games and we can still top the group.

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