Scotland get Euro 2024 reality check but Finland fightback fails to dampen Tartan Army send off – 5 talking points

Scotland's send-off ahead of Euro 2024 ended in disappointment after they squandered a two goal lead to allow Finland to claim a share of the spoils at Hampden.

But despite the drab affair spirits remained high with the crowd waving off their heroes before they jet off for Germany. Steve Clarke's men had raced into a 2-0 lead early in the second half but let the visitors grab two easy goals to add elements of apprehension ahead of their tournament opener with Germany next week.

The first half passed without much incident, although Kieran Tierney had to be alert to make a smart block inside the box from Casper Terho as the visitors found space in behind the five-man Scots backline. Clarke's side had no problems with fashioning opportunities in front of goal in Monday's away win in Gibraltar but went into the interval without offering anything in an attacking sense to trouble Finnish stopper Jesse Joronen.

The Scotland boss opted to make no changes to his team during the break, but will have had some stern words about the lack of intensity both with and without the ball in the first 45 minutes. The hosts were able to up their game ever so slightly in the opening stages of the half, with Billy Gilmour testing out substitute goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo with a half-volley from inside the box that the former Ayr United man was able to palm away.

And within nine minutes, Scotland went in front in extremely fortuitous circumstances when Andy Robertson's low cross was turned into his own net by Finnish defender Arttu Hoskonen. That lucky break finally gave the Hampden crowd something to shout about, with Finland also then beginning to open with their defensive game plan out the window. That worked to Scotland's advantage and just four minutes later they doubled their lead when Lawrence Shankland did brilliantly to get on the end of Roberton's fine delivery to guide a header home Sinisalo.

Hoskonen was the unfortunate party, deflecting the ball into his own goal -Credit:SNS Group
Hoskonen was the unfortunate party, deflecting the ball into his own goal -Credit:SNS Group

With the result seemingly in the bag, Craig Gordon and Greg Taylor were introduced, with Tommy Conway also handed a senior Scotland debut. But minutes after his arrival, veteran stopper Gordon was picking the ball out of the net when slack Scotland defending allowed Benjamin Kallman to ghost in and head home. VAR was called upon to check for a possible offside, but the goal was given to set up a nervy finish at the national stadium.

Scotland have been the architects of their own downfall in recent months, and Gordon's night got from bad worse, colliding with Finland sub Tomas Galvez inside the area, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. Oliver Antman kept his cool to find the net with a side-footed spot kick that turned out to be the final goal on a underwhelming night of action.

The hosts pushed hard for a winner in injury time, with Sinisalo on hand to deny Bristol City man Conway a dream debut goal with a strong save from his downward header in the dying seconds of the game.

Subdued atmosphere?

It was a mixed night for the fans on a blustery night in Glasgow. They were in jubilant form as we raced into a 2-0 lead but an abrupt reality check sparked a subdued atmosphere. However, the punters did make sure to wave off their heroes at the full-time whistle before the eyes of Europe fall on Scotland for the opener against Germany.

Shankland stakes a claim

Lawrence Shankland was handed the starting berth once more, and despite barely getting a kick in his 60 minute, still managed to make his mark. The Hearts talisman cut a frustrated figure in the first half, but with his only real clear-cut chance in front of goal, showed his prowess where it matters to give his side a crucial second goal.

Lawrence Shankland celebrates after scoring to make it 2-0
Lawrence Shankland celebrates after scoring to make it 2-0 -Credit:SNS Group

The Jambos skipper is a forward who likes to get involved in the build-up, but may have to adapt his game this summer with Scotland likely to be on the back foot in large spells in their three Euro 2024 group games.

McGinn off the boil?

It's been an incredibly long season for the Aston Villa captain, who played in 53 games in all competitions for his club in 2023/24. It's therefore a bit understandable that the Scotland number seven isn't quite at his best, with the sharpness in his passing and his movement evident across the two warm-up friendlies.

But if there is one thing we do know about the 29-year-old, is that he is the man for the big occasion and is sure to play with much more energy when the Scots aim to pull off a massive shock against hosts Germany in seven days time. Another player who is only going to get better with more game time is Grant Hanley, who was restricted to just 10 outings for Norwich last season, but has already shown that he can be relied upon when it matters most.

Not the send-off Gordon was hoping for

With Clarke only naming three goalkeepers in his 26-man squad for the tournament, 41-year-old Gordon will have to make do with a first reserve slot. Just over 20 years after his Scotland debut, the Edinburgh stopper was handed a late cameo which takes him to an impressive tally of 75 caps. However, the veteran keeper had a night to forget. He was unable to keep out Kallman's header and then clumsily collided with Galzez to allow Antman to beat him from the spot and round off the scoring.

If that was to be his final outing in the Tartan Blue, it will be a bitterly disappointing end to a very impressive international career that could have been even better for Gordon had it not been for a string of serious injuries.

Robertson's delivery on point

There wasn't too much going onto set pulses racing, but on his record breaking appearance as national team captain, Robertson showed just how dangerous he can be in attacking areas. The left back's low ball towards the near post forced the Scotland opener and his pinpoint cross for Shankland minutes later allowed the striker to ned hom his third goal for his country. Scotland's 5-4-1 shape relies on the wing-backs to provide impetus and drive going forward and if Clarke's men are going to do anything special this summer, the Liverpool man will be at the heart of it.