David Marshall will not look back on his first match in a major tournament fondly

Scotland Infobox

Oh, Scotland. 

It has been far too long without an appearance at a major tournament, a generation of near misses.

They could have done with another near miss in their opening game against the Czech Republic at Hampden Park, which ran their familiar gamut of hope, disappointment and ultimately embarrassment.

At 1-0 down with 51 minutes played they were full of energy in their search for an equaliser. Che Adams’ introduction had lifted the team, his side had possession and plenty of men forward.

Centre-back Callum McGregor brings the ball forward and sizes up a shot from 40 yards.

What would happen?

1. Scotland look like they might score!

No one is closing down McGregor.

There’s no shame in having a go is there? Unless you’re a centre-back who last scored in December last year. Don’t think about that, just hit it:

Credit: BBC

Shot blocked. Barring some terrible unforeseeable circumstance, this shouldn’t be a problem.

2. A bad rebound 

There has been a terrible unforeseeable circumstance. 

Credit: BBC

The ball hits the Czech defender then bounces kindly for his team, setting up a perfect chance to counter-attack. 

But still, this is only an issue if the goalkeeper thinks he’s playing central midfield.

Credit: BBC

Oh.

3. The shot of his life

Patrik Schick, all hepped up on scoring a goal already and realising he had an awful lot of goal to aim at, buys a ticket to the raffle from 50 yards out.

The execution is exquisite, he can never have hit a better shot. The view from behind him demonstrates the absurd curve on his effort:

Credit: SNS

David Marshall didn’t even try to save it, just ran back despairingly towards the goal as it passed over his head like a difficult joke. 

Credit: AFP

No desperate dive a la Alphonse Areola for Edinson Cavani’s goal at the end of last season.

And yet…
 

4. Marshall lives here now

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Oh no.

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Oh no.

Credit: AP

Oh NO!

I can’t stop watching the Scotland keeper crashing into the net. It’s absolutely mesmerizing. pic.twitter.com/PWpC4qRi8i

— Lifelong #1 🇫🇷 Fan (@RobUsry) June 14, 2021

5. Won’t somebody think of the home fans?

Of course Hampden would have to be the venue for this upsetting moment. Of course Schick ran straight over to some crestfallen Scotland fans to celebrate. Of course wearing a kilt and sporran somehow makes it all look 100 per cent more tragic:

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Have these people not suffered enough?

How cruel on them and how cruel on David Marshall, the hero of Scotland’s qualification, whose penalty save clinched their place at the tournament. 

His team was on the wrong end of a shot with an xG of 0.01. That’s a one in a hundred chance if you’ve either doggedly avoided learning what xG means, or don’t understand decimals.

Worse still though, Marshall has already become a meme.

My week three hours into Monday morning. pic.twitter.com/R0G2GtwqEC

— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) June 14, 2021

Poor David Marshall and Scotland 🤦🏼‍♀️ pic.twitter.com/n4sq2nW5yr

— Suze Sport (@SportySuz20) June 14, 2021

pic.twitter.com/X4tDiegsaP

— Benkins 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿⚽️ (@benjenkers) June 14, 2021

At least there is a chance to atone against England in four days time. Lyndon Dykes recreating the Schick goal over Jordan Pickford would erase the nation’s memories as effectively as a Men In Black prop.

Dare to dream.