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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 17:25 GMT
Vogts: the story so far
Clinton Morrison challenges Christian Dailly
The Irish eased their way to victory at Hampden

Berti Vogts at times looked like a little boy lost as he marked his first birthday in charge of Scotland with a lame defeat at home to the Republic of Ireland.

As one commentator put it, the diminutive German sunk further and further into his jacket as the Hampden night progressed.

His bewilderment in attempting to explain such defeats can at times be explained by his incomplete command of English.

But there are also worrying signs that a man who conquered the world armed with his homeland's immense footballing firepower is finding it rather difficult to construct any sort of credible force out of the comparatively meagre ammunition presently available in Scotland.

There is no doubting the football pedigree of a man who has competed at the top as both player and manager.

The Faroes celebrate against Scotland
The Faroes almost gave Scotland a football lesson
Yet he arrived with a reputation as schizophrenic as Scotland's once renowned capacity for beating the best before crumbling against the minnows.

Ask the likes of former Scotland boss Craig Brown and they will tell you that Vogts is a giant among coaches.

Ask many back in Germany - although it must be remembered that they are in Scotland's European Championship group - and they will insist that he is a joke.

Since his arrival from the footballing desert of Kuwait to succeed Brown after Scotland's failure to qualify for last year's World Cup, both Bertis have been in evidence.

Comments from the bad Berti upset Aberdeen defender Kevin McNaughton, Everton's David Weir and Celtic goalkeeper Rab Douglas, while attempting to play striker Paul Dickov as a winger was partly to blame for the Scots coming close to defeat against the Faroe Islands.

The good Berti lifted the Scots for an excellent Group Five victory in Iceland followed by a heartening friendly defeat of Canada.

But the bad Berti returned for lacklustre performances in Portugal and against the Republic.

Paul Devlin is challenged by Ian Harte
Scotland failed to overcome the Irish hurdle
The jury has remained out during a spell of seven defeats in 11 games, partly because Vogts is such a genuinely likeable guy and also because of the general acceptance of his need to experiment in a desperate bid to unearth new international-class talent.

More than 40 players have come in. Some have gone, never to be heard of again.

Scotland, on Wednesday's evidence, remain inept at the back, lack creativity in midfield, offer little goal threat up front and generally do little to inspire a country passionate about their sport.

Vogts has yet to prove himself a leader worthy of leading the Tartan Army out of their footballing nightmare.

Come the visit of Iceland on 29 March, Scotland will hope to awake to the news that the good Berti has won out and that they can be the nation again that had the best in the world dreading a visit to the lions' den of Hampden.

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