12 Oct Scotland annoyed McTominay golazo ruled out
Midfielder John McGinn was left annoyed by the decision to rule out Scott McTominay’s goal as Scotland lost 2-0 to Spain on Thursday and missed their first chance to clinch a place at Euro 2024 next summer.
McTominay’s brilliant free kick beat Spain goalkeeper Unai Simón in the 61st-minute in Seville with the game still goalless. However, Dutch referee Serdar Gözübüyük disallowed the strike after VAR advised him to check the pitch-side monitor.
The big screen in the stadium initially said the goal had been cancelled for a foul on Simón by Jack Hendry. UEFA later clarified it was because Hendry was in an offside position and interfering with play.
“You need to be very careful what you say,” Aston Villa’s McGinn told Viaplay. “I think everyone watching that game tonight from a Scotland point of view, wherever you were, it just felt like we weren’t getting any 50/50 decision — it made it very difficult against a world class team.
“He [the referee] changed it [his reasoning on the VAR check] in the game, which is the annoying thing. It means it’s not clear and obvious.
“Is he going to save it? No chance. No goalkeeper in the world is going to save that. However, at one point he’s said it’s a foul, realises it isn’t a foul, so changes it to offside.”
Spain went on to win the game 2-0, with Alvaro Morata opening the scoring with his 34th goal for his country and debutant Oihan Sancet adding the second late on after a defensive mistake.
Scotland coach Steve Clarke did not want to dwell on the disallowed goal, but felt his side were unlucky to lose their first game in the group.
“”It was a brilliant performance, Spain know they were in a game,” Clarke said. “The game turned on a small margin. If it was offside or a foul, I don’t know what he gave it for to be honest.
“I think because he’s offside and then he steps towards the goalkeeper, maybe because he makes contact with the goalkeeper, they give it as offside. But small margins. We think it’s a goal.
“You can show the goal as many times as you like, we’re not getting it. We have to move on, we did that. But I thought the second goal was unfortunate and it puts an unfair shine on the game because I don’t think we deserved to lose 2-0. I don’t think we deserved to lose to be fair.”
Scotland still top Group A with 15 points from their six games, three clear of Spain, who have a game in hand. Clarke’s side need just one point from their final two games to book their place at next summer’s finals in Germany — and could even qualify on Sunday if Spain beat Norway.
“It is disappointing tonight, but we are still in a good position,” Clarke added. “This team is improving and improving and tonight is another step forward. It hurt, but we get ready for November against Georgia and Norway.”
Scotland’s task in Seville was made more difficult when they lost Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson to injury early in the game.
“He has hurt his shoulder, we will have a look, obviously he will go back to his club,” Clarke explained ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against France. “We will see how it is and how it settles down. Hopefully he is good for his club as quickly as possible and he is ready to help us in November.”
The win served as revenge for Spain, who were beaten 2-0 at Hampden Park in March in the reverse fixture.
That defeat prompted Manchester City midfielder Rodri to label Scotland’s style of play as a “bit rubbish,” comments which he apologised for after Thursday’s game.
“I want to explain what I said about Scotland because I feel [my comments] were misinterpreted,” Rodri told Spanish television. “I always respect the way opponents play. There is a reason they are top of the group.
“I simply said that those type of actions — wasting time and provoking the opposition — go against the spirit of football. It’s not to do with them, sometimes these type of things are used [in football]. It was not a comment against how they play.
“I have 100% respect for them. I compete against many of them in the Premier League and I know the level of the team. They are a tough opponent, for how hard they work, how tight they keep their lines and they are well-drilled.”
Spain will qualify for Euro 2024 if they beat Norway on Sunday. They will be without Athletic Bilbao’s Nico Williams and Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde for that game, though, after both returned to their respective clubs with knocks.