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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Hampden horror show

By Chick Young
BBC Sport football expert

It might have been a good night in Vienna, but it was a shocker in Glasgow.

Austria's dismantling of Scotland in front of 14 men and a dog at Hampden confirmed what many privately suspected. We have selected reverse gear.

The Viennese waltzed around us. We had players line dancing while others were twisting the night away. The Scotland choreography was a shambles.

My sympathies went out to James McFadden and Andy Webster who must have wondered what all the excitement was about in playing for your country.

It's all right throwing young talent into the set-up, but it is somewhat easier when it is fitted into a winning team.

20 years ago, a teenage Paul McStay took to the dark blue jersey like a duck to water, but then he had class all around him.

Germany come to Hampden - where Scotland don't look capable of winning a game of bingo - in a month with just one rehearsal to go... and that's against New Zealand at Tynecastle.

So why on earth was the Austria game taken to Hampden in the first place when we knew the interest level was at yawn level? It was a perfect opportunity to go to Pittodrie or Rugby Park.

The argument is that we need to pay off the Hampden debt, but gates of 12,000 probably cost money.

Hampden attracted a little more than 12,000 fans
Given they insisted on the National Stadium, which person dictated that it should be all-ticket?

Did someone who makes these decisions really believe that more than 52,000 would have turned up? And if so why is he or she still in a job?

The questions don't stop there. The hardest one of all to answer is concerns the reasons why we are so bad.

Sure, there was a distinct improvement in the second half, but that was only because the Austrians had selected cruise control after scoring two goals which would have been an embarrassment in a school playground.

The Tartan Army isn't lost because that phrase in truth applies to the hard core who follow the team around the globe and who did turn up at Hampden.

And we if played an away fixture on the Moon they would be there. In fact there would be more atmosphere than there was in Mount Florida.

But the fringe support, the fans who back the national team on a more casual basis are deserting like rats on a sinking ship and I am now seriously concerned about the status of the Scotland football team in this country. We are staring down the barrel of a gun.

And the impending visit of Rudi Voeller's team is beginning to petrify me.

The result against Germany may, in the final analysis, not matter in terms of hitting the play off place... but there can be no failure against the Faroes and Lithuania at Hampden.

My nature tends to make me look on the bright side of life. But I am afraid that this time, the lights have just gone out.

The situation is critical...

Scots must rise to German test
01 May 03  |  Scotland
Vogts under fire after defeat
30 Apr 03  |  Scotland
Austria stun sad Scots
30 Apr 03  |  Scotland

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