KENNY McLean has defended Scotland pushing too many players up front for the corner which led to Hungary’s injury-time winner in Stuttgart last night and admitted there was an element of “desperation” behind their tactics.

McLean and his team mates were left devastated at the end of their final Euro 2024 group game in the MHPArena when Kevin Csobath broke the deadlock in the 10th minute of added-on time after a counter attack.  

The agonising 1-0 defeat left the national side at the bottom of their section and heading home early from a major tournament after being unable to make history and reach the knockout rounds once again.

Scotland, who were denied a stonewall penalty when Stuart Armstrong was fouled in the Hungary box by Willi Orban, were left exposed at the back after throwing bodies forward at a corner near the end in a desperate attempt to get the goal they required to win the game.

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But McLean, who replaced right back Anthony Ralston with seven minutes remaining, has insisted they needed to do that because a draw would not have been enough for them to progress to the last 16 of the competition.

“We ended up throwing caution to the wind to try and win it and we got caught late on,” he said. “It’s difficult just now to put it into words because it’s so raw. It’s just hurt and disappointment, really.

“We knew we’d be clutching at straws a wee bit to go through with two points. Obviously, there might have been an opportunity, we knew that. Everyone has been speaking about the two points, but we’d need four or five results elsewhere.

(Image: PA) “We’d maybe have been relying on too much so I think going for it was the right thing to do. While it was in our own hands, we wanted to try and do all we could but it just didn’t work out for us.

“Ultimately, we committed too many bodies forward for the corner. They left people in dangerous positions to try and win it and we should have switched on to that earlier.

“We just wanted to win so much and there was an element of desperation in the number of bodies we had in the box. We got done by one in the end. It was a game that was always going to be decided by one goal and it went against us.

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McLean added: “We can pick the bones out of stuff we could have done better, but no one can say we could have given more, because everyone on a day-to-day basis – even in the German game where we were below our standards – we continued to give everything.

“I think that’s why the backing from here and at home has been so incredible, they see guys who give everything. Hopefully the fans have made memories for life.

“It was hard for the manager after the game. He tried to pick the boys up, but he was flat as well. There were some words spoken to try and help us, but they’ll stay inside with us.”

Asked about the penalty claim late on, McLean said: “I thought it was a clear foul on Stuart in the box, so much so I just assumed it was offside. It’s definitely a clear foul.”