Steve Clarke should stay as Scotland manager despite Euro 2024 elimination, says Kris Boyd

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football Monday 24 June 2024 08:18, UK

Steve Clarke should stay as Scotland manager despite Euro 2024 elimination, says Kris Boyd

Steve Clarke should remain as Scotland manager despite overseeing a group-stage exit at Euro 2024, according to Kris Boyd.

Scotland had hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time after an impressive qualifying campaign.

But after being thrashed by hosts Germany on the opening night and drawing with Switzerland in their second game, Scotland suffered a dramatic 100th-minute defeat to Hungary on Sunday, leaving them bottom of Group A.

Clarke has now led Scotland to back-to-back European Championships for the first time in nearly 30 years but they earned just two draws across six games in those tournaments, and missed out on the 2022 World Cup.

However, former Scotland striker Boyd told Sky Sports: "There's a lot to be positive about with this group. Yes, we're disappointed, but from where we have been, to get to back-to-back Euros, there's a lot of credit.

"The players have set the bar that they can get to. They've dropped below that a little bit.

"There's heartache tonight because there was genuine belief we could get out the group.

"This group of players has shown so much over a period of time. You felt this could be the group to go and do it.

"But when you break it down, Germany was a very different game to start with. They get to the latter stages of major competitions so that was very difficult.

"Switzerland was a creditable draw. But tonight, they were lacking a little bit in quality."

Scotland will now turn their attention to the Nations League in the autumn, where they have been handed a tricky draw against Portugal, Croatia and Poland after being promoted to the top division.

Qualifying for the 2026 World Cup then starts in March and Boyd hopes Clarke is there to oversee both campaigns.

"We've got to dust ourselves down and go again," he said. "There will be a lot of questions to answer for Steve Clarke but, whatever happens, I hope he's the man to lead us into the Nations League and qualifying for the World Cup.

"He's shown he can get us there and he knows this squad."

But Boyd conceded Scotland did not deserve to reach the last 16 of Euro 2024 after forcing Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi into only one notable save during a match they realistically had to win.

"We didn't do enough to go and win," said Boyd. "We had a lot of the ball but never really created much.

"It'll be one thing Steve Clarke has to answer. There's a lot of people out there saying it's negative. I'm not buying into that - there's more ways to win a game.

"If you open up, you can get punished, and that's what happened towards the end of the game."

While Boyd accepted Scotland did not do enough to qualify for the next round, he criticised Argentinian referee Facundo Tello and Spanish VAR Alejandro Hernandez for failing to award Stuart Armstrong a penalty when he tangled with Willi Orban late in the second half.

The Hungary defender appeared to trip the Scotland substitute - who did have a handful of Orban's shirt - but Tello emphatically waved away the claims for a spot kick.

Boyd said: "I've seen the penalty again and I cannot believe that hasn't been given. It's a natural football position - you get your arm across to protect the ball.

"The knee goes into the top of Armstrong's calf. I cannot believe a penalty hasn't been given. That would have changed everything.

"It's a penalty all day long. If the referee had been able to go to the monitor, he might have been able to correct his wrong decision."

The Mirror's chief sports writer Andy Dunn on Back Pages on Sky Sports News:

"Clarke has quite considerable credit in the bank. However, I'm of the opinion that international managers should be judged on their results at tournaments and not the fact that they get them to tournaments.

"It's about how they perform at tournaments and Clarke has fallen below par here. It's as simple as that.

"In international football management, you shouldn't have the right to just stay in the job for as long as you want. You should be judged on tournaments and then give someone else a crack.

"It does sound harsh to say but they do look like a team that didn't perform up to the standard they can perform, and that has to lie with the coach. Sometimes at international level a change is just good.

"After the success of their qualifying campaign, Scotland looked stale out in Germany."