CLARKE CANNOT ESCAPE CRITICISM

Steve Clarke bristled in the aftermath of the defeat to Ukraine as he dismissed those who had called his tactics and selection into question.

As Scotland’s World Cup dreams came to a woeful end at Hampden, the 58-year-old attempted to shift the narrative. Good luck doing that this time around.

Clarke better get used to hearing criticism. After this embarrassing display, he deserves to find himself in the firing line and concerns over his approach will come to the fore once again.

This was a disastrous evening for Scotland and Clarke must carry the can. Ireland were there for the taking, but the only consolation in the end was that the defeat wasn’t even heavier in Dublin.

DISMAL IN DEFENCE, MISSING IN MIDFIELD AND ABJECT IN ATTACK

Scotland got what they deserved here. In truth, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise as familiar failings were exposed by an Ireland side that were made to look far better than they are.

The defending for the first two goals – as Alan Browne bundled home from close range and Troy Parrott nodded beyond Craig Gordon – was comical. If you don’t do the basics like win headers and track runners, you can have no complaints.

The same can be said further forward. The midfield once again offered nothing and had no control of the game, while Scotland continue to toil in the final third and don’t carry anywhere near enough threat at this level.

ARMENIA TRIP NOW TAKES ON GREATER SIGNIFICANCE

The 2-0 win at Hampden last week was polished into something that it really wasn’t in some regards. It was comfortable, but it certainly wasn’t a stride forward into a bright new era in the aftermath of the World Cup exit.

Victory in Yerevan is non-negotiable in terms of the Nations League, and perhaps Clarke's position. Unless there is a marked improvement in performance, even three points will not be enough to win over a support who have been let down by their boss and their big names once again.

As poor as Scotland have been against Ukraine and Ireland, they should have no fears heading to Armenia. Time will tell if that confidence is misplaced or not.