Spanish fury at Scotland’s diving, time-wasting and long grass

Spain players blame diving and 'rubbish' football for defeat to Scotland - Reuters/Lee Smith

Spain players blame diving and ‘rubbish’ football for defeat to Scotland – Reuters/Lee Smith

Rodri, the Manchester City midfielder, says Scotland played “rubbish” football after Spain’s shock 2-0 defeat at Hampden Park.

Scott McTominay scored twice in one of Scotland’s greatest ever victories on Tuesday night. Steve Clarke’s team are now top of Group A in the European Championship qualifiers.

Rodri, however, was scathing about Scotland’s performance and accused them of time-wasting.

“It’s the way they play, but for me it’s rubbish, always wasting time, provoking you, always they fall,” he said. “For me, this is not football. The referee has to take on this, but he says nothing.

“We did many good things to win. We conceded easy goals – this is football, if you concede easy goals you are penalised.

“We will learn for the next time. We want to go for duels, for battles – we always fight, but this is not about fighting. It’s about wasting time – four, five players on the floor, but this depends on the referee, not on us. Today we did many good things, but what’s important is the goal, and we didn’t score.”

Spain’s frustrations did not stop there, with debutant Osasuna defender Daniel Garcia blaming the length of the Hampden Park grass as a factor in their poor performance.

“We already saw that the grass was too long, and that cost us,” Garcia told Marca. “We can’t make excuses for that, we have to look at ourselves and fix what we did wrong today.”

Hampden Park Grass - Alam Rennie

Hampden Park Grass – Alam Rennie

Rodri’s complaints drew a strong response from former Scotland striker Ally McCoist, who questioned whether the Manchester City midfielder could cope with the physical demands of the game.

“I thought we were just a wee bit too physical for Rodri! We were rubbish, is that the word he used? Bless his wee Spanish heart,” McCoist told Talksport.

“He’s a good player but he can cope with the physical side of the game no bother so the irony of him talking about the physicality of Scotland is not lost on me.

“Man alive, Hampden was jumping. That was nothing short of fantastic. It really was. And do you know something? I can say it now, I would’ve said it earlier, but we weren’t really in any danger. They’re putting crosses into the box and the lads were absolutely tremendous, whether it was Hanley, Porteous, Cooper. Kieran Tierney was superb, Aaron Hickey, McTominay with two goals. Have I named them all yet?”

Steve Clarke, the Scotland manager, also preferred to praise his players, rather than engaging with Spanish criticism.

“Delighted with the performance,” he said. “I thought the players were outstanding from first minute to last.

“The dynamic, enthuasiasm and quality of the team didn’t change. It’s a big night, it feels like a step forward, but it’s only six points and you don’t qualify with six points.

“We didn’t have an awful lot of possession, but what we did have, we used very, very well. The defensive shape’s good, the distance between the units was really good, which stops a large part of Spain’s game. All the credit goes to the players on the pitch – they’re the guys that have to do the hard yards.

“When you look at the stats, you know you’ve been out-passed, but when you look at the shots on goal, shots on target – it’s almost equal. It means we utilised the ball very well when we had it, which is obviously pleasing.

“I’ll have a couple of quiet days to calm down, and then we start preparing for two big games, because June could be a pivotal month for us.”

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