Belfast Telegraph

Wales 3 Scotland 0

Darren Fletcher insists Scotland's inability to stage any sort of fightback against Wales was down to shattered confidence and not a lack of desire to play for manager George Burley.

The Scots found themselves trailing by three goals from David Edwards, Simon Church and Aaron Ramsey in the opening 35 minutes as they slumped to a demoralising 3-0 defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The furious Tartan Army made their views on Burley known when they spent the second half calling for his dismissal, as well as targeting the Scottish Football Association.

However, when it was put to Fletcher that the players looked as though they simply did not want to play for the manager, he retorted: “It was nothing to do with the fact that they don't want to play for the manager - it was low confidence from losing three goals.

“It's not anything to do with the manager. The players wanted to play but were just very low on confidence and we didn't lift ourselves after conceding goals. We let those goals affect us.

“Sometimes you can't afford to let your head drop as much as we did. It took until half-time to try to pick people up and the second half was just a nothing game really. It's disappointing.

“It was a terrible afternoon. Having started the game quite positively for the first 20 minutes, we just capitulated. There were bad defensive errors, not tracking runners. It was a calamity of errors from the whole team.”

Scotland's last visit to the Welsh capital, back in 2004, also proved to be a disastrous occasion, with Robert Earnshaw claiming a hat-trick - the first of those goals with less than a minute gone - before Gareth Taylor completed the rout.

“It was similar to the last time,” Fletcher admitted.

“Three quick goals. I thought we had the two best chances early on and then, because of defensive errors, we've lost three goals. The lads' heads went down and Wales got a lot of confidence from their goals.

“Goals change games and that's what changed this game. The attitude was to try to get an early goal and make a fist of the second half but that didn't happen. They dealt with everything and looked dangerous on the counter-attack, as you would expect.”

Scotland now have to wait until March, when they host the Czech Republic, for the opportunity to try to make amends for this latest disappointment.

Fletcher said: “We've got to do better and show more passion. Friendly games are difficult, there are no points at stake. Still, you don't like to go down 3-0 in any game.

“You are representing your country and that's not good enough. We can only hope that we can improve in these friendly games and try to get some sort of form and confidence back for the start of the Euros.”

Belfast Telegraph


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