Scotland captain Andy Robertson accused Spain’s players of “going down a little bit easily” and “rolling around” in an ill-tempered encounter at Hampden Park on Tuesday night.
Robertson was part of a backline which limited Spain to precious few chances as Scott McTominay bagged a brace to secure a famous 2-0 victory for the hosts. Referee Sandro Scharer whistled for 28 combined fouls, although Spain – despite their protestations – were adjudged to have committed more offences (15) than Scotland (13).
The Liverpool full-back was not impressed with the behaviour of Luis de la Fuente’s side, telling Viaplay after the match: “I think they were going down a little bit easily. We were trying to say that [to the referee]. We were always going to try and be physical; we wanted to be in their faces, we wanted to win our headers and we wanted to win our challenges. I think we done that and I don’t think we crossed the line.
“I think they were, especially in the first half, rolling around a wee bit much,” Robertson added. “They used their experience and they got a couple of us booked which is fair enough to them. I think we did win that battle and I think we got under their skin a wee bit, especially the first half. And then they made a couple of subs in the second half, bringing on a wee bit more experience in [Dani] Carvajal, who doesn’t really get caught up in these things.”
Spain’s skipper on the night, Rodri, accused Scotland of play-acting as well. “It’s the way they play…for me it’s a bit rubbish,” the Manchester City midfielder sniffed. “Because it’s always wasting time. They provoke you. They always fall. For me, this is not football.”
Robertson, unaware of that criticism, was keen to praise his team – which he described as “an absolute joy” to captain.
“It was an all-round top performance from us all and we’re really happy tonight. But, like I said, we need to go back to our clubs now and we can’t wait for June. But we have to put the same commitment, the same determination, the same quality in. If we do that, then it will put us in a good position,” he added.
Scotland kicked off their qualification campaign for the 2024 European Championships with a 3-0 victory over Cyprus on Saturday, putting Steve Clarke’s side top of the early standings in their five-team group – two of which will automatically qualify for the finals in Germany.
After seeing Scotland endure a 23-year absence from major international football, Robertson was quick to downplay his nation’s fast start. “It’s important we all don’t get carried away,” he stressed. “We’ve got six points, which is a great start but unfortunately six points doesn’t qualify us for the Euros.
“We’ve got two massive games in June,” the left-back continued. “If we come out of those games with the points we think we need, it’ll put us in a fantastic position.”
McTominay broke the deadlock against Spain after just seven minutes, setting Scotland on their way to the nation’s third-ever competitive victory against La Roja. “We knew we had to try to get off to a good start, put them under pressure, get the fans with us – and I think we did a really good job of that,” Robertson explained.
“When you score so early, you kind of fall back a bit, and we were defending too deep at the end of that first half. But I thought the second half was a really professional performance and shows how far we’ve come.
“The gaffer and his team set us up so well tonight, we knew we had the game plan and could cause them problems.
“We had belief. When the gaffer took over that was what was lacking. There was a disconnect between players and fans. Playing in front of a full crowd makes a massive difference, but you’ve got to back it up with performances.”
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