Scotland collapse in Amsterdam in face of ruthless Netherlands

Georginio Wijnaldum scored Netherlands second in Amsterdam
Georginio Wijnaldum scored Netherlands' second goal in Amsterdam - Shutterstock/Koen van Weel

A late collapse by Scotland saw Steve Clarke’s side lose 4-0 to the Netherlands in their friendly encounter in Amsterdam.

The visitors controlled much of the first half and hit the goal frame through Ryan Christie but the Dutch took the lead five minutes from the break with a Tijjani Reijnders thunderbolt.

Scotland continued to create and miss chances in the Johan Cruijff ArenA – as did the Netherlands – before Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland hit the bar in the 62nd minute with only Dutch goalkeeper Mark Flekken to beat.

It was a glorious chance for Scotland and they were made to pay 10 minutes later when Georginio Wijnaldum headed in a second and then goals from substitutes Wout Weghorst and Donyell Malen in the 84th and 86th minutes turned a good performance on its head as Clarke now looks to get back on track against Northern Ireland at Hampden Park on Tuesday night.

Many of the Tartan Army had clamoured for in-form Hearts striker Shankland to be handed a start and he will know he should have scored to cap off a good performance.

Keeper Angus Gunn was back after injury along with several familiar faces such as captain Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney, with the visitors backed by around 2,400 travelling fans.

Ronald Koeman’s side had a mixture of youth and experience but included top names such as captain Virgil Van Dijk and another former Celtic defender, Jeremie Frimpong, with Memphis Depay leading the line.

But the Scots started with confidence, Shankland’s touches were assured, full-back Nathan Patterson stretched the Dutch down the right-hand side with Robertson working the left flank.

However, there was danger when Cody Gakpo went clean through on the Scotland goal but he failed to finish and was eventually flagged offside.

After midfielder Scott McTominay was booked after just nine minutes for fouling Xavi Simons, Shankland headed a Patterson cross over the bar.

Then, in the 18th minute, midfielder Billy Gilmour raced down the right and his cross was met by the head of Christie but Netherlands keeper Flekken tipped the ball on to the bar and it did not fall kindly for Shankland.

Gakpo’s blatant dive inside the Scotland penalty area did not fool Belgian referee Erik Lambrechts and moment later at the other end McGinn flicked a Christie cross over the bar.

However, the Scots walked into a sucker punch just before the break when AC Milan midfielder Reijnders took a pass from Gakpo and, with little pressure on him, measured his shot from 25 yards and arrowed it high past the helpless Gunn.

McTominay had a shot blocked by Reijnders inside the Netherlands box at the start of the second half but Gunn had to make a great save from Depay’s shot on the turn.

More excitement followed at both ends.

McGinn’s shot was parried by Flekken before Christie headed a cross from the Villa player past a post and then Gunn saved from Gakpo’s 20-yard drive.

When Shankland found himself through against Flekken with the goal beckoning, his shot clipped the bar on the way over and he was soon replaced by Che Adams, with John Souttar and Lewis Ferguson also coming on.

However, the Netherlands doubled their lead with a simple goal, Gakpo’s cross being headed in by Wijnaldum from eight yards out.

McTominay headed a cross from substitute Anthony Ralston over the bar to continue the theme of missed chances before Scotland folded as Weghorst headed in a corner and fellow substitute Malen ran through to grab a fourth - and the damage could have been greater.

Scotland midfielder John McGinn rued a lack of cutting edge and defensive naivety after his side’s winless run was extended to six games by an “embarrassing” 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands.

Goals from Tijjani Reijnders, Georginio Wijnaldum, Wout Weghorst and Donyell Malen earned the Dutch victory in Amsterdam.

“Overall I think we’ll look back on it with so much to take from the game,” McGinn told Viaplay. “But obviously the scoreline is an embarrassing one for us.

“When you get good spells in the game, which we did - we had good chances, one of them’s got to go in.

“And then off the back of that, we’ve got to be more streetwise when it goes 2-0. Shut up shop a little bit, be less ambitious, be narrower and that’s the thing that hurts the most tonight.

“We can take the positives in the sense of we didn’t feel the Netherlands were a million miles away from us but in those moments towards the last half an hour of the game, it’s certainly not one we look on with many positives.”

Scotland hammered by Netherlands: as it happened

10:05 PM GMT

Robertson angry and disappointed at Scotland showing

Andy Robertson’s turn to be frank about that poor second half: “It’s anger, sheer disappointment. You can’t play the way we did against these big teams. We have to take a lot of heart over how we played in the first 60 minutes but a football game is over 90 minutes.

“The last couple of games, we’ve shipped quite a lot of goals and that’s not what we’re based on. We’re based on clean sheets, we only conceded one goal in our first five qualifiers.

That’s why we have a summer to look forward to, and we have to get back to that real quick. There’s no way we can play like that and have four goals conceded ... we have to get back to winning ways.”

09:56 PM GMT

McGinn on Scotland’s “embarrassing” loss where bad habits slipped back in

“Overall, there’s so much to take from the game but the scoreline is an embarrassing one for us,” McGinn tells the TV cameras post-match. “Coming up against these sides, when you get good spells and good chances, one of them has to go in.”

“We’ve played well and had chances, but we’ve got to be more streetwise. When it goes to 2-0, shut up shop a little bit more, be less ambitious and more narrow.

“That’s what hurts the most tonight, we’re going into a tournament where goal difference is so important.

“We can take positives over the piece in the sense that we didn’t feel Netherlands were a million miles away from us but in those moments towards the last half an hour of the game, it’s certainly not one we look on with many positives.

“We’re on a bad run of results at the moment. Tonight was, up until a certain point one of our best away performances I’ve experienced.

“But it means nothing, they’ll be in the dressing room thinking ‘how did we score four and win?’ It’s up to us to make sure it does not happen again … we let those bad habits slip back in.”

09:47 PM GMT

Scotland will be smarting after that chastening defeat

Donyell Malen wheels away after scoring the fourth for the Netherlands
Donyell Malen wheels away after scoring the fourth for the Netherlands - AP Photo/Peter Dejong

09:45 PM GMT

Hutton: Scotland have conceded 18 goals in last six games

Former Scotland international Alan Hutton, a fan of a clean sheet and a robust challenge in his time, doesn’t mince his words in the Viaplay studio:

“It’s something they’re going to have to look at, I think that’s 18 goals [conceded] in the last six games. Making all those substitutions doesn’t help either. The manager’s going to have to go away, take the positives and try and improve.”

“That’s what makes them a top nation: they’re clinical in the final moments.”

09:42 PM GMT

Full time: Netherlands 4-0 Scotland

A tale of two halves in Amsterdam. Scotland frustrated the Dutch in the first half, limiting their space and creating a few chances. They pushed for an equaliser early in the second half, but squandered more opportunities.

The Netherlands looked a cut above as they punished their profligacy, with quick breaks and smart finishing. They could go far in Euro 2024.

09:39 PM GMT

90+3 min: Netherlands 4-0 Scotland

Malen with the best skill of the night, jinking past two Scottish defenders before a perfectly-weighted ball from the left touchline in to Koopmeiners on the penalty spot. He shoots over, but it’s hardly been a bad night for the Netherlands.

And that’s full time. Koeman and Clarke share a few words on the touchline.

09:38 PM GMT

89 min: Netherlands 4-0 Scotland

Donyell Malen is through again after Scotland miss a header in midfield and gift possession to the home team. He hits over, while marginally offside.

09:37 PM GMT

88 min: Netherlands 4-0 Scotland

It’s six games in a row without a win for Scotland now. Coming away with even a draw - going Dutch, as they should call it - would have been a tough ask, but they didn’t need a scoreline like this that will dent the collective confidence.

The teams were even for the first hour, would you believe it?

09:34 PM GMT

GOAL! 85 min: Netherlands 4-0 Scotland (Malen)

It’s getting messy now for Scotland. Reijnders put in a through ball and Souttar played Donyall Malyen onside. He fought his way past Souttar and slipped it past Gunn. Clinical finishing from the home team.

09:32 PM GMT

GOAL! 83 min: Netherlands 3-0 Scotland (Weghorst 83’)

Wout Weghorst is unmarked in the six-yard box and he leaps to nod the whipped-in corner past Gunn. That’s brood en boter for the tall striker. Steve Clarke will be dismayed at the defending on show there from Scotland.

Wout Weghorst heads home the third Dutch goal
Wout Weghorst leaps unmarked to head home a Dutch third - Reuters/Piroschka Van De Wouw

09:30 PM GMT

83 min: Netherlands 2-0 Scotland

Reijnders accelerates in midfield and plays through Koopmeiners down the left. He rounds the onrushing Gunn, but Ryan Porteous slides in next to the post to put it out for a corner.

09:29 PM GMT

81 min: Netherlands 2-0 Scotland

The Netherlands smell blood now and they’re making the most of tired legs in midfield. Fresh-legged Malen has a shot blocked and Gakpo keeps cutting in before shooting just wide of the right poost.

That’ll be his last act of the match, as he comes off for Daley Blind. Koopmeiners on for Wijnaldum.

09:26 PM GMT

80 mins: Netherlands 2-0 Scotland

Wout Weghorst and Donyell Malen are on, Xavi Simons and Memphis Dephay off.

09:24 PM GMT

77 min: Netherlands 2-0 Scotland

Two more subs for Scotland

Christie ⇢ Armstrong
Patterson  ⇢ Ralston

09:23 PM GMT

76 min: Netherlands 2-0 Scotland

Another half-chance goes begging for Scotland. Ralston curls in a delicious ball for Scott McTominay, who rises above his marker but heads wide of the left post. He’s furious after that.

09:22 PM GMT

75 min: Netherlands 2-0 Scotland

Simons flashes a low shot past the left post as the Oranje push for a third. The difference tonight has simply been finishing: the home side have taken the few chances they’ve fashioned.

09:20 PM GMT

GOAL! Netherlands 2-0 Scotland (Wijnaldum 71’)

Gigi Wijnaldum is back in the Dutch squad and on the scoreline. On the six-yard box, he tucks away a header from Cody Gakpo, who shifted gear inside a few defenders and put it on a plate for him.

Gunn had cheaply given away possession by trying a high ball to Porteous, which Gakpo easily won.

09:17 PM GMT

70 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Patterson races onto a snow-capped cross-field ball and plays in McGinn on the edge of the box. The industrious Villa midfielders cuts in, but the shot on his left foot sails into the stand. Another one off-target for Scotland.

09:15 PM GMT

68 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Triple Scotland substitution:

Shankland ⇢ Adams

Gilmour ⇢ Ferguson

Tierney ⇢ Souttar

09:11 PM GMT

65 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Ronald Koeman has seen enough and Wieffer, who made that error, is hauled off, replaced by Joey Veerman.

Scotland have hassled and pressed well to create mistakes, but they’ve been lacking in their finishing. They could rue missing that Shankland opportunity.

09:08 PM GMT

61 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Big chance, big miss: Shankland hits the crossbar after a gilt-edged opportunity. The Netherlands gift them the ball on the edge of the box, as Wieffer stumbles on a pass back to his goalkeeper.

With only the goalie to beat, the Hearts striker’s shot from 15 yards out pings off the crossbar.

09:06 PM GMT

Memphis Depay is winning his 89th cap tonight

Dutch winger Memphis Depay running at Kieran Tierney
Memphis Depay running at Kieran Tierney - Getty Images/Roy Lazet

09:04 PM GMT

57 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Christie plays in Robertson with a high waft down the left and he wins the race to the ball against last remaining defender Ake. As he tries to trick past him, the Manchester City centre-back nicks the ball. Scotland are asking questions.

09:02 PM GMT

55 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

End-to-end attacking now, as Gakpo is set free down the left and seeks to run at Tierney. He cuts in and powers a shot at goal from 25 yards, which Gunn pushes over for a corner.

09:01 PM GMT

54 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Scotland are getting even closer. Flekken played a ball from his box to Reijnders and Gilmour, watching the whole time, picked his pocket. However, his shot bounces off the relieved goalscorer’s calf and out for a corner. That was a let-off for the home side.

08:58 PM GMT

51 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Now it is Scotland’s turn to fashion a decent chance. Ryan Christie gets a perfectly-delivered cross on his bonce but as he heads back across goal from left of the penalty spot, it loops wide.

08:57 PM GMT

50 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Fine stop from Angus Gunn, down to his left, as Memphis is strong, turns Porteous and prods a low shot from six yards out after Christie gave the ball away.

08:54 PM GMT

48 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Making inroads down the left, Andy Robertson strokes a ball to McTominay who’s on the edge of the six-yard box. He tries to twist and turn Reijnders to get a clear shot away, but the goalscorer turns goalstopper. He sticks tight and blocks his shot.

08:53 PM GMT

47 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

No changes made by either side at half time. The Tartan Army look like they’re having a bonnie time in Amsterdam, but a goal would have them cheering even louder.

This is an ideal test for Euro 2024, with Scotland facing Germany, Switzerland and Hungary in their group. They’ll have to come back from behind and gut out performances to salvage games.

08:43 PM GMT

Half-time: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Alan Hutton, on punditry duties in the Viaplay studio, views the scoreline as a harsh “sucker punch”. He and Ryan Snodgrass, opposite him, are in agreement that Scotland have been the better side.

One shot on target for the Netherlands, one goal, but what a goal.

Billy Gilmour has been lively and creative in midfield, but he was marking another man on the edge of the box, and that’s why Reijnders had space to whack in a worldie.

08:36 PM GMT

45 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Desperate last-ditch defending from Scotland before the half-time whistle blows, as Memphis breaks their line down the left and belts into the box. There’s enough grit, sliding and blocking to hustle back possession.

08:34 PM GMT

43 min: Netherlands 1-0 Scotland

Scotland have not made many mistakes in the first half, but after being slow to shut down AC Milan’s 25-year-old midfielder, they find themselves a goal down. There was not much Angus Gunn could do about that.

08:30 PM GMT

GOAL! Netherlands 1-0 Scotland (Reijnders 40’)

Netherlands work it round the box patiently, and Cody Gakpo shapes to cross before finding Tijjani Reijnders in a little space. He needs no invitation, walloping it into the top-left corner from 25 yards out.

That’s his first goal for the Netherlands, and he won’t score many sweeter than that.

08:25 PM GMT

36 min: Netherlands 0-0 Scotland

Yellow card for John McGinn after clinging onto Cody Gakpo’s midriff with a move that wouldn’t have been out of place in the recent Six Nations. That is one way of stopping him.

The free kick, 40 yards out in the middle of the park, sails out as the Scottish defence play up, pushing for offside. Well, everyone but Jack Hendry. That is not how you set the trap, they were fortunate not to be punished there. Steve Clarke, an industrial defender in his day, barks some stern words.

08:24 PM GMT

34 min: Netherlands 0-0 Scotland

Scotland break fast and Christie delivers a stinging ball in from the left flank. John McGinn gets there first and belts it over the bar, with Van Dijk in close quarters. The away team are edging this, creating a few more chances.

08:22 PM GMT

33 min: Netherlands 0-0 Scotland

Gakpo and Memphis link up deftly and dance through the Scottish defence on the edge of the box. The Liverpool player goes down as McTominay avoids making a challenge. Blatant dive, but he appeals for a penalty anyway. From wizardry to buffoonery in one fell swoop.

08:20 PM GMT

31 min: Netherlands 0-0 Scotland

Memphis turns away from a Scottish midfielder but is off balance and loses control. A split second too late, he stretches and connects with McTominay’s left leg. That one will smart.

Yellow card for the Atletico Madrid midfielder.

08:17 PM GMT

28 min: Netherlands 0-0 Scotland

Robertson plays a searching ball in from Gilmour’s free kick and there’s ten seconds of head tennis in the box as neither side can bring the ball down. However, they lose possession and the oranje pour forward. It comes to nothing as Simons tries to do too much down the right wing.

The home side have looked most dangerous on the counter so far, though Simons and Gakpo have flattered to deceive.

08:12 PM GMT

Scotland’s captain has been full of running

Andy Robertson runs at Jeremie Frimpong
Andy Robertson runs at Jeremie Frimpong - Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

08:09 PM GMT

20 min: Netherlands 0-0 Scotland

Gakpo floats a ball over to the back course, but the watchful Hendry gets a head on it and McTominay comes away with it. Scotland have started brightly, more than holding their own, but they’ll have to be careful of the speed and quality the Dutch possess down the flanks.

08:07 PM GMT

16 min: Netherlands 0-0 Scotland

Scotland hit the woodwork. A fine ball in from Billy Gilmour tearing down the right and Christie rises ahead of Frimpong, throwing himself at the ball.

Flekken gets a hand to the ball, it comes off the bar and Shankland can’t quite get to the rebound faster than a grateful Dutch defender.

08:01 PM GMT

11 min: Netherlands 0-0 Scotland

Andy Robertson expertly dispossesses Jeremie Frimpong on the left touchline and hares to the byline. His cross is overhit and flies over the waiting attackers.

The Liverpool stalwart did the hard part well and fluffed the easier bit.

07:59 PM GMT

It’s a party at the Johan Cruyff Arena

Orange flags flying at Netherlands v Scotland
The raucous home crowd at Netherlands v Scotland - Piroschka Van de Wouw/Reuters

07:58 PM GMT

8 min: Netherlands 0 Scotland 0

Scott McTominay surges forward in midfield and puts his arm out to steady himself - straight into the face of Simons, running to challenge him.

He gets a yellow card for his troubles. The Manchester United protests, and he’s well within his rights. That was a very harsh call.

07:55 PM GMT

5 min: Netherlands 0 Scotland 0

Van Dijk’s ball over the top briefly sets Cody Gakpo free. He tries to round Gunn but goes sideways, and Porteous has time to get back and block the shot. He was a hair offside anyway.

07:52 PM GMT

4 min: Netherlands 0 Scotland 0

Scotland are getting stuck in and are working the ball around in midfield, with Andy Robertson trying to create an opportunity down the left, playing in midfield today. However, his searching ball rolls through to keeper Flekken.

07:48 PM GMT

From Liverpool to Amsterdam...

Team captains Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson share a knowing smile and an embrace, exchanging pendants before kick-off. They will be playing for bragging rights on the Liverpool training pitch for the next months.

07:42 PM GMT

Scotland and the Netherlands take the field

Football match or Euro disco? The roof is closed at the Johan Cruyff Arena, the strobe lights are on and there is a sea of orange flags flying before the two teams walk onto the pitch.

07:37 PM GMT

Clarke: Euro 2024 learnings to be had in this atmosphere

Scotland manager Steve Clarke has been speaking on the telly:

“I’ve got three fantastic strikers. I’ve given opportunities to Che [Adams] and Lyndon [Dykes], it’s a night to look at Lawrence Shankland and see what he can do against good opposition.”

“We didn’t have Andy [Robertson] and Kieran [Tierney] for the last couple of games of qualifying and you miss players of that quality.”

“It’s a friendly, but it’s a competitive friendly. The roof is closed, you can hear the atmosphere, it’s going to be a big test for us. We have to play as we can play, we have to learn how to play in this type of atmosphere, it’ll be like this in Munich.”

Scotland are involved in the opening tie of Euro 2024 there against hosts Germany.

07:31 PM GMT

Scotland have not beaten the Netherlands in six matches

Since sparking home joy and hope by winning 1-0 in a Euro 2004 play-off game at Hampden, Scotland have lost five on the bounce against the Dutch.

However, the most recent match in June 2021 was a good omen. An 89th minute equaliser from Memphis Depay rescued a 2-2 draw for the hosts after goals from Jack Hendry and Kevin Nisbet.

07:16 PM GMT

Gilmour: Mature Scotland squad can give big teams a real contest

“We know we need to get back to winning ways, we’ve not won in a while,” Billy Gilmour tells Viaplay pre-match. “It’s a good test for us, hopefully we can start winning and preparing for the Euros.

“This time round [since Euro 2020], I feel I’ve matured a lot more and am capable of competing with the top players and teams. As a squad, we’re matured massively too and can give big teams a real contest. This squad is looking to go as far as possible in the competition.”

07:13 PM GMT

Shankland starts for Scotland up front

The big news is red-hot Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland getting the start. He will be looking to make the number 9 jersey his own for Euro 2024.

Angus Gunn gets the call in goal and Andy Robertson is back in the line-up after missing out with injury last time round. No doubt he’ll relish getting stuck into Liverpool teammates Gakpo and Van Dijk.

Scotland starting XI: Gunn, Tierney, Hendry, Porteous. Robertson, McTominay, Gilmour, Patterson. McGinn, Christie, Shankland

Substitutes: Kelly, Clark, Gordon, Ralston, Cooper, Dykes, Adams, Souttar, Armstrong, Ferguson, Taylor, McLean

07:05 PM GMT

The Netherlands selection tonight

There’s plenty of Premier League interest in the Oranje line-up. Brentford goalie Mark Flekken is between the posts, while Virgil van Dijk leads the line as captain alongside Manchester City’s Nathan Aké. Van Dijk’s Liverpool clubmate Cody Gakpo starts up top.

Netherlands: Flekken, Geertruida, Van Dijk (c), Aké. Simons, Wijnaldum, Memphis, Gakpo, Reijnders, Wieffer, Frimpong.

Substitutes: Bizot, Verbruggen, Blind, Dumfries, Koopmeiners, De Ligt, Malen, De Roon, Schouten, Timber, Veerman, Weghorst.

06:53 PM GMT

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06:52 PM GMT

And the Dutch starting XI for tonight...

06:49 PM GMT

Here’s how Scotland line up

06:45 PM GMT

A daunting first test on Scotland’s road to Euro 2024

The road to Euro 2024 starts in earnest tonight for Scotland at the Johan Cruyff Arena, who will be looking to end an iffy run of form in this friendly fixture.

In recent matches, they’ve lacked the verve, confidence and defensive tightness which saw them finish second in Group A on 17 points, memorably getting the better of Spain in a 2-0 game for the ages which had Hampden Park rocking.

They are without a win in five matches, losing to Spain 2-0 in the return fixture, being beaten by France and England in friendlies and drawing their final qualifiers against Georgia and Norway 2-2 and 3-3 respectively.

In yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Scotland manager Steve Clarke chose the word “informative” to characterise their sequence of form.

“The two results that I don’t like the most are the two draws in the competitive games,” he said. “If we want to continue to improve and get to where we want to be then those are matches we should win, so that’s something we can improve on. We want a positive result this week.”

Clarke saw an “extra edge” in their training this week as they gear up for the summer. Just as well because the Netherlands will offer a very stiff test. Ranked sixth in the world, we all know what Virgil van Dijk can do at the back and Donyell Malen and Xavi Simons are coming off the back of recent Bundesliga brilliance.

Centre-backs Grant Hanley and Scott McKenna are out injured, but Clarke indicated they should recover for the big one in the summer.

It’s a chance for several players on the brink of being handed a ticket to Germany to make sure of selection. Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland is in the squad, after scoring 20 goals in 29 league appearances this season.

And in terms of not-so-fresh faces, his 41-year-old clubmate Craig Gordon was selected for the first time since November 2022. Back from a leg break, if the venerable goalkeeper plays in Amsterdam tonight, he’ll become Scotland’s oldest international in history.