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Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Sunday, 29 March 2009 16:00 UK

Caldwell bemused by ref decision

Gary Caldwell
Caldwell's second-half effort was disallowed for an infringement

Scotland defender Gary Caldwell was at a loss to understand why his headed effort against the Dutch in Saturday's World Cup qualifier did not count.

"If that goes in, you never know," he told BBC Scotland after the 3-0 defeat. "I certainly did nothing wrong.

"If you look at Holland's second goal and at ours, there's not much in it - in fact, theirs is probably worse.

"I tried to voice my opinion as we left the park but the ref wasn't interested in giving me an explanation."

Scotland slumped to defeat in the Group 9 match in the Amsterdam ArenA, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie both benefiting from poor Scotland defending with first-half headers.

However, goalkeeper Allan McGregor appeared to be blocked off from a corner for the second Dutch goal.

Caldwell thought he had scored when he bulleted in a header from a Ross McCormack free kick midway through the second half.

But the whistle had sounded for a prior infringement and Scotland's hopes of an unlikely comeback were extinguished.

"It's disappointing that a decision went against us again, because at 2-0, you never know," added the Celtic defender.

"We started well and probably had the best chance of the match before they scored.

"We were in the game and confident with how we were playing. The goals were disappointing in how they came and the manner in which they did."

Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt, who added the third goal from the penalty spot, maintained that French official Laurent Duhamel was right to chop off Caldwell's 'goal'.

"I was very close to the situation, and I don't know who it was," Kuyt told BBC Scotland.


"But I think it was a foul against our keeper, so I'm sorry for the disappointment for the Scots - but I think it was a foul."

Scotland take on Iceland in Glasgow on Wednesday, knowing maximum points are vital in the race to secure second place behind runaway leaders Netherlands.

"We have to remain positive," continued Caldwell. "Iceland are a good team, but not as good as Holland, so we have to believe we can win at home.

"Wednesday night was always going to be a must-win game so not much has changed in that respect.

"We always believed we were the second best team in the group.

"We knew that Holland were massive favourites to win the group but it's up to us to go and prove that we are the second best."

Eight of the nine second-placed teams from the qualifying sections will progress to play-offs for the 2010 World Cup.

Scotland sit level on four points with Iceland, meaning Group 9 currently has the lowest ranking second-placed team.

However, all the other groups include one more team, which means points gained from the lowest ranking side in the other sections won't be included in the final tally.

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see also
Burley fumes at Dutch decisions
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Netherlands 3-0 Scotland
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Courage not enough to trouble Dutch
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Saturday's football photos
28 Mar 09 |  Football
International football as it happened
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals

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