‘100% penalty’: Clarke criticises referee after Scotland crash out of Euro 2024

Steve Clarke took aim at the Argentinian referee, Facundo Tello, after Scotland bowed out of the Euros with a late defeat by Hungary. Clarke suggested this tournament should be refereed only by European officials.

Scotland felt Stuart Armstrong was due a penalty after tumbling under a challenge from Willi Orban in the 78th minute. Tello waved away the claims. Hungary broke Scottish hearts and sealed elimination for Clarke’s team with a 100th-minute goal from Kevin Csoboth.

Related: Scotland heartbreak as Hungary’s 100th-minute winner knocks them out of Euro 2024

“It was 100% a penalty,” Clarke said. “Somebody, somewhere has to explain to me why that is not a penalty. It was, 100%. It was a one-goal game; if we get the penalty it can be a different night. I have other words but I am not going to use them.”

Clarke was pressed on the rare use of a referee from another continent. This has happened before in the European Championship but is unusual. “European competition, might have been better to have a European ­referee,” the manager said. “But we had European VAR. Maybe the referee didn’t see the challenge clearly on the pitch so what’s the purpose of VAR if they are not going to come in on something like that? It was a penalty.”

Reflecting on his emotion as Scotland went out, Clarke said: “The same way as everyone else who is Scottish, I imagine. Disappointed and sad.”

Andy Robertson, the Scotland captain, issued an apology to those who have backed this team in Germany and from home. “It will take a long time to get over this one,” said the Liverpool full-back. “We knew there was going to be a point in the game where we could go for it. We did go for it but we got sucker punched at the end.

“A draw wasn’t going to be enough realistically so both teams had to go for it and unfortunately one of us had to lose. Tonight is devastating, there’s no buttering it up. All the lads are absolutely gutted. What I will say is thank you to the country because we felt everyone behind us and we knew the excitement back home and sorry for letting you down.”