Scotland 0-1 Netherlands: Memphis Depay strike sees off hosts in friendly
A strike from Memphis Depay was enough for the Netherlands to beat Scotland 1-0 in an international friendly on Thursday evening.
Although neither side will feature at the 2018 World Cup, it was the fourth successive victory for Dick Advocaat’s Dutch side, with former Manchester United winger Depay poking home at the back post in the 40th minute to seal the win.
Scotland did have a number of good chances though, with the best coming from Ryan Fraser in the 73rd minute but the substitute’s shot was just skewed wide of the post.
It could well be the only game Malky Mackay is in charge of for Scotland, with no other friendlies in November and the Scottish Football Association confirming earlier on Thursday that he will not be taking on the role full time.
Scotland began the game well and had two fine chances to take the lead in the opening minutes.
Matt Phillips raced into the box in the ninth minute before taking aim, only to see his effort blocked by Karim Rekik, before James Forrest’s attempt on the follow-up was also blocked by the body of Nathan Ake.
Three minutes later, and Phillips was nearly in again as a long ball was played forward with some miscommunication between Virgil van Dijk and Jasper Cillissen allowing the West Brom striker to take aim – but the goalkeeper got down low to save.
The Barcelona stopper was in action again in the 37th minute as Kieran Tierney tried his luck from range, but his powerful drive was pushed behind.
But with five minutes of the half to play, the Netherlands took the lead. It was a superb counter-attack that involved Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ryan Babel, with the latter whipping a cross into the box that was poked home by the Lyon winger at the back post.
Scotland continued to see the better chances as the second half got underway, with Phillips heading a corner wide in the 58th minute before Cillissen made another good save to deny the hosts an equaliser 11 minutes later, parrying a thunderous strike from Callum McGregor.
Just minutes after coming on Ryan Fraser had the best chance to get Scotland level.
A long pass picked him out on the right flank, and he got past Bournemouth team-mate Ake before racing towards the top of the box. However, his shot was skewed slightly and it could only find the outside of the net.
As the clock ticked down, Scotland kept pushing for an equaliser. Another substitute, Jason Cummings, also went close with his first touch in the 87th minute, but his shot was saved low by Cillissen, before Phillips failed to connect with a free header from Fraser’s corner as the Scots ended the game with defeat.
Malky Mackay: “I’m very proud of the players. To end up with 18 shots at goal against the Netherlands, who are a team that keep the ball so well, and for us to handle that the way we did, I’m so proud of them.
“They are a young group who are growing and growing and I can see it in their eyes that they are the future of Scottish football.”
It was a solid performance from the young captain in an unfamiliar centre-back role, with Tierney doing a superb job at the back to stop the Netherlands from going further ahead and many of their shots were restricted to long range.
He threw his body in front of a number of shots and led his team well despite the defeat, with all of this coming at just 20 years old. Certainly impressive from the Celtic defender.