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Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Saturday, 9 October 2010 12:31 UK

Craig Levein's Scots fail to impress in Czech defeat

Darren Fletcher and Stephen McManus leave the field in disappointment
Scotland left Prague empty handed after the Czechs won 1-0

By Liam McLeod
BBC Scotland match commentator

4-6-0 - the formation does not look right on paper and did not look any better on the football pitch.

The sight of Scotland's strikers playing as secondary full-backs is one that did not please the purists.

In the bowels of the Synot Tip Arena after Scotland's 1-0 Euro 2012 qualifying defeat by the Czech Republic the hosts' team manager, former Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer, said he remembered playing a Scots team that played "normal" football.

He was referring to a 3-2 Czech win in Euro 2000 qualifying, a game Scotland led 2-0 in at one point under Craig Brown.

Many of the Tartan Army I encountered after the latest encounter felt cheated that they had spent time and money travelling to the Czech capital only to see their team start the match with no forwards.

It certainly was not easy-on-the-eye stuff.

Regardless, the Scottish players backed the manager's tactics after the game, none more so than defender David Weir - one of the few who played in his normal position.

"It was working," he told BBC Scotland. "We were containing them and I thought, if the game had gone on a bit longer, we could maybe have opened them up and got back into it.

"We were disappointed to lose the goal when we did and the way we did - that obviously changed the game.

Disillusioned Scotland fans look on in Prague
Scotland's fans were not impressed with the team's tactics

"The tactics were different, but it was a plan the manager came up with and we gave it a good go.

"You could see the value in it and see it working. We just need to learn to play it better within the system."

The fact that Weir suggests this could be implemented again will have Scots fans heading for the video shop and searching for classic matches of old, when 4-6-0 was an international dialling code.

All week, speculation was rife that manager Craig Levein was going to try something radical in Prague.

In the end, it made Walter Smith's tactics in Rangers' recent Champions League stalemate at Old Trafford look gung-ho.

So the thought of the system returning will not have the Tartan Army champing at the bit to watch more.

"If the manager wants us to do it again then it's our job as players to try and implement it," Weir said.

"He's obviously put a lot of thought into it and it was very close to working for us.

"We didn't come to Prague to settle for a 0-0 draw. I don't think you ever go into a game looking for that."

Weir was critical of the newspaper build-up to the game. As early as Tuesday, the team had been leaked in print before being publicly announced.

"I don't think it's helpful seeing the shape and the team in the media early in the week," he said.

"It doesn't help us or the manager to get the right result."

With the Czechs beaten by Lithuania in their opening qualifier, there was an air of confidence that a decent result could be obtained in this game.

But Tomas Hubnik's header sealed three precious points for Mikal Bilek and his team.

We won't know if the fragile Czech defence would have crumbled under some pressure and that was not something Weir wanted to discuss.

"Its a hypothetical question, there's no point asking it," he added.

"We came with a plan, it didn't work and we'll come up with a different plan for the Spain game on Tuesday."

Let's hope it is not 5-5-0.

Highlights - Czech Republic 1-0 Scotland

Highlights - Czech Republic 1-0 Scotland



see also
Levein defends his losing system
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Bilek lauds winning Czech players
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Czech Republic 1-0 Scotland
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Czech Republic v Scotland - as it happened
08 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
Chick Young's view
07 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Victory in Prague can be achieved
07 Oct 10 |  Scotland


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