Steve Clarke urges Scotland fans to ‘keep the faith’ after Germany thrashing

Steve Clarke told a dejected Tartan Army to “keep the faith” after Scotland began their Euro 2024 campaign with a 5-1 thrashing by Germany.

Goals from Florian Wirtz and fellow attacker Jamal Musiala came before defender Ryan Porteous was deservedly sent off just before the break for conceding a penalty with a reckless tackle on the hosts’ captain Ilkay Gundogan, which Kai Havertz netted.

Being down to 10 men made a difficult task near impossible and Germany substitute Niclas Fullkrug made it 4-0 in the 68th minute with a magnificent drive.

Although Germany defender Antonio Rudiger headed into his own net in 87 minutes, substitute Emre Can made it 5-1 with a clever finish in added time.

Scotland have to face Switzerland and Hungary in their next two Group A fixtures and, asked about a message to the thousands of fans who had travelled to Munich and those supporting from home, Clarke said: “Keep the faith. See you at the next game.

“The game ran away from us very quickly, obviously we conceded a third and with the sending off as well it was always going to be a difficult night and after that it was damage limitation.

“In the second half the boys gave everything they could to keep the scoreline reasonable but we have to move on from tonight.

“We will go away and analyse the game.

“I have never doubted my players. It was a difficult night and we didn’t play to our standard. Germany were excellent and we couldn’t get a foothold in the game.

“The players were disappointed, they felt they let themselves down, they are a better team than that and hopefully we can show that in the next two games.

“This was always going to be a tough night for us to get something.

“We need four points from the next two games and that’s what we focus on.”

Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann told ITV of his surprise in Scotland’s performance.

He said: “I’m happy, I’m satisfied, it’s not easy to have the first game in our own country.

“We were brilliant in the first 20 minutes, I was happy with the performance.

“We conceded but at the end it’s OK, it’s a good sign that our players complained about conceding.

“I was kind of surprised that Scotland weren’t that aggressive in first 20 minutes. I think they were surprised by our ball possession, it was very concentrated.

“They then defended deeper and didn’t high press as they have in the qualifying games at times.”