Wales 2 – Scotland 1, and a blessing in disguise

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  By a Newsnet reporter

“I don’t think you can point the finger at Levein” said former Aberdeen legend Willie Miller during the post match analysis.

Diplomatic, but completely wrong.  This Scotland manager has had the best squad in nearly a generation and played as though we had nothing to offer, a lack of confidence in the ability of the players seeped into the team’s play.

“Strangled three games into the campaign” said BBC Scotland’s best anchorman, Richard Gordon in a more honest appraisal.

“I didn’t see that at all” said Craig Levein, talking of Wales’ comeback that saw Gareth Bale secure all three points for the dragons.

If Craig Levein didn’t see the Welsh threat that grew with each passing minute of the second half then it might just explain the failure of this Scotland manager to adapt to the changing dynamic of a game.

Three games in this World Cup qualifier, two at home against relatively weak opposition and one away to a Wales team still reeling from two straight defeats, has secured a miserable two points.  The World Cup campaign is over and the ‘rebuilding’ starts again.

Any suggestion that Scotland were robbed can be dismissed – this Wales team dominated the second half and only some poor refereeing denied them a penalty before Bale was clipped by Maloney and the spot kick was converted by the best player on the park.

There’s no denying that Craig Levein gave his all and firmly believed in his tactics.  However this particular experiment is now over.  The SFA took a gamble in staying with Levein after he failed in the last Euro campaign and it’s backfired.

The doom-mongers will claim that Scottish football is in decline; nonsense, this was a manager that simply couldn’t get the team to perform and deliver.  Scotland has decent players and another manager will almost certainly extract better performances – however, Levein’s time is now over.

Belgium awaits and even Scotland’s legendary ability to overcome massive odds when all seems lost will not prevent another defeat.

Bale was the difference tonight, but one player on glorious form ought not detract from the failings of a poor second half performance.

Did the ball go out when Fletcher ‘scored’ what would have been Scotland’s second goal?  No, and the linesman appears to have blundered badly.

Did Bale dive for the penalty?  I don’t think so, Maloney didn’t deliberately bring the Welshman down, but many believe he did and Maloney later admitted that there was contact.

The single biggest question has to be; Have Levein and Scotland underperformed and all but lost any chance of qualifying for Brazil 2014?

We’re second bottom after two home games out of three – it’s a no brainer.