Scotland 0-2 Portugal: Stuart McLaren not expecting to be manager permanently
Stuart McLaren does not expect to be considered for the Scotland job after the second game of his interim spell as head coach ended in a 2-0 defeat to Portugal.
The Scots fell to a fourth European Championship qualifying defeat in five games.
Portugal’s Ana Capeta capitalised on an error from goalkeeper Jenna Fife, before Fatima Pinto rubbed more salt into wounds by making it two late on.
McLaren said afterwards unless anything changes, he will be returning to his role as under-16s coach and supporting the coaching education unit.
He had taken temporary charge after Shelley Kerr stepped down in December with Scotland no longer able to qualify for the European Championships in England in 2022. He had led Scotland to a 10-0 win over Cyprus on Friday.
Scotland, playing their “home” game in Cyprus due to the current Covid-19 travel restrictions, started the game brightly. Erin Cuthbert was a continuous bright spark in the opening period, trying to drop deep to link up with her team mates and make things happen, and she had two early strikes that went wide.
Martha Thomas was denied by goalkeeper Patricia Morais, who moments later denied Cuthbert.
It was Portugal who broke the deadlock on 27 minutes. A back pass from Scotland captain Rachel Corsie to goalkeeper Fife led to a heavy touch, which Capeta latched onto, sliding in to block Fife’s clearance and diverting the ball into the net. Calamitous from a Scots perspective.
The Scots tried to fight back and draw level before half time with Weir having an effort saved from distance and Thomas making a brilliant front post run to connect with a Claire Emslie cross, but could not get a clean enough contact with the ball to strike it home.
Caroline Weir delivered two corners in the opening minutes of the second half however it was all too easy for the Portuguese defenders.
Thomas had a half chance for Scotland with almost 20 minutes remaining, but it just wasn’t her day as her shot went low into the keeper’s arms.
Portugal had a pen shout waved away after a clumsy challenge from Jen Beattie on Jessica Silva. This was a let off for Scotland.
Scotland were so close to an equaliser with three consecutive corners in the final five minutes. One of which Arsenal defender Jen Beattie got on the end of but the Portugal defence did enough to put her off with the goal at her mercy.
Ultimately, the Scots paid for their lack of clinical finishing as Pinto hammered home a sublime half volley deep into injury time to end a dismal campaign with a 2-0 defeat.
The result leaves all sorts of questions over who will take over the role of manager of the Scotland women’s national team come the World Cup qualifiers, whilst Portugal now go into a European Championship play off, finishing second in the group.