SCOTLAND were sent home last night to think again, to ponder their deficiencies, which were exposed in the last group game they played in these World Cup finals.

For, after playing so well against Brazil, and against Norway, they were brought back to earth against Morocco.

Yes, there was another penalty claim which should have been given in their favour. However, last night, essentially that did not matter. Scotland in the end were not good enough and Norway were defeating Brazil to render Morocco's victory meaningless in terms of qualification for the next round.

Seven second-half minutes proved that. They were already a goal down from a first-half strike by Bassir in after 21 minutes when, two minutes after the interval, Hadda scored a second.

Then, nine minutes into the second half, Craig Burley was ordered off after a reckless tackle on Bassir and, from that moment, even the most optimistic members of the Tartan Army realised that the tournament was over as far as Scotland were concerned.

A third goal arrived, scored by Bassir again, five minutes from the end to confirm that this team was not to be the one to make history. Afterwards, the Tartan Army remained, still celebrating, still refusing to accept the inevitable, still enjoying the atmosphere of this World Cup.

However, the harsh truth they will face this morning is that Scotland have failed again: that Scotland, in the end, were not good enough.

Morocco eventually decided that Driss Benzekri would be their goalkeeper after a weekend of doubt. The French coach, Henri Michel, gave Benzekri the job and it was left to Scotland to attempt to test the man who had lost five goals, and who had apparently lost his confidence as well.

However, it was difficult for the Scottish team to reach the Moroccan last line. Always there were players who pushed themselves into the areas where the Scots hoped to make progress, always the Moroccans appeared to be reading the Scottish game plan.

In 14 minutes, there was an opportunity when John Collins sent in a free kick and Gordon Durie sent in a header, which was cleared. Then, soon afterwards, Kevin Gallacher was booked for retaliation after he had been fouled by Abrami and the Scots were looking comfortable and confident.

Suddenly, the roof fell in.

In 21 minutes, a ball was played through the middle of the Scottish defence. Colin Hendry mis-timed his challenge, the ball ran on and Bassir moved in to strike a shot past Jim Leighton and into the net.

The Tartan Army went quiet as the African drums began to beat.

Still, the Scots' team attempted to come forward and three minutes after that goal there seemed little doubt that a cross from Jackie McNamara was handled

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by a Moroccan defender. Television replays emphasised that, but the referee ignored the claim and play was waved on.

Yet another hard luck story appeared to be in the making.

In 29 minutes, Durie had a shot stopped by the goalkeeper after he had been given an opening when Craig Burley won a midfield tackle.

Then, the goalkeeper - the man who had been under so much pressure before the game - held a chip shot from John Collins as Scotland moved forward in numbers.

There was more action around the Moroccan goal and Benzekri came out to foil Gallacher after 32 minutes and he saved again from Collins, then Burley, as the game moved towards half-time. At the other end, Jim Leighton saved from Hadji as the Moroccans attempted their counter-attacking ploy and Hendry made a marvellous, saving tackle in the penalty box against the goalscorer, Bassir, two minutes before half-time.

Scotland, once more, were up against it. Once more they had lost the opening goal, something that manager Craig Brown had wanted to avoid. As the second-half began, they were left to rely on a fightback in a situation that was not to their liking.

Inside just two minutes of the second half, they went two goals behind. This time they were caught by the counter-attacking skills of the North Africans when Hadji sent a ball forward that David Weir mis-timed. Before the Hearts defender could recover, Hadda had moved beyond him and struck a shot for goal that Leighton could only parry. The ball then dropped beyond the keeper and over the line as the veteran tried to recover.

Seven minutes later, the game was all but over for Scotland when Craig Burley made a rash tackle on Bassir in midfield. The Moroccan went down, the referee called the Celtic man over, and the red card was shown.

Tosh McKinlay replaced Jackie McNamara, with Christian Dailly moving to the right, but there was no way back, even though the Scots attempted to find one. Kevin Gallacher had a shot off-target, and even with 10 men they tried to go forward and the Tartan Army supported them from the stands.

Now, though, they were chasing a lost cause.

In 85 minutes, Scott Booth replaced Gordon Durie, but that was never going to be a substitution that would change the game in Scotland's favour. Indeed, within a minute Bassir applied the two Coup de Grace.

He gathered a ball, lifted if over from Boyd and then struck a shot past Jim Leighton and into goal and Scotland were finally humbled.

Scotland - Leighton (Aberdeen), McNamara (Celtic), Boyd (Celtic), Hendry (Blackburn Rovers, captain), Weir (Hearts), Burley (Celtic), Collins (Monaco), Lambert (Celtic), Dailly (Derby County), Gallacher (Blackburn Rovers), Durie (Rangers). Substitutes - Sullivan (Wimbledon), Gould (Celtic), Elliott (Leicester), McKinlay (Celtic), Whyte (Celtic), Gemmill (Nottingham Forest), Booth (Borussia Dortmund), Donnelly (Celtic).

Morocco - Benzekri, Saber, Naybet, Abremi, Triki, Hadji, Amzine, Chippo, El Khalej, Hadda, Bassir.

Referee - Ali Mohamed Bujsaim (United Arab Emirates).

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..............................P W D L F A Pt



Morocco..............3 111554

Scotland.............3 012261