International Friendlies

Scotland 1-3 Portugal: Alex McLeish's men beaten by ruthless Portugal

Andy Robertson unhappy as Scotland lose to Portugal
Andy Robertson was beaten by Helder Costa for Portugal's opening goal

Scotland paid the price for poor defending as they lost at home to Euro 2016 winners Portugal in a friendly.

Alex McLeish's side showed positive signs in the first half as Portugal started slowly at Hampden.

But Helder Costa broke the deadlock before Eder and Bruma heaped on the misery in the second half.

The game ended with a consolation goal as Steven Naismith finished off a sweeping move involving Graeme Shinnie and Gary Mackay-Steven.

The result was a sixth defeat in eight games for Scotland boss Alex McLeish, although at times the performance was more encouraging than the Nations League defeat in Israel on Thursday.

However, it will surely only increase the pressure on McLeish before next month's double-header against Albania away and Israel at Hampden.

Another bruising night

With so many defections from his squad, McLeish had little option but to ditch his much-criticised three-at-the-back formation. He went with a 4-4-2 instead - Stephen O'Donnell and Andy Robertson playing either side of the rookie centre-half pairing of Jack Hendry and Scott McKenna.

Hampden was not even half-full for this visit of the Ronaldo-less Portugal. The visitors were without Bernardo Silva as well and kept other big names on the bench from the start. After the trauma of Israel, this was another bruising night for Scotland, a slow unravelling after some hopeful stuff early on.

They actually went close to scoring first when Beto had to beat away a header from team-mate Sergio Oliveira.

Around the half-hour, Portugal began to stir. Bruma had an excellent chance and Eder thumped a close-range shot straight at Craig Gordon.

Both were let-offs for the Scots, but they were not without threat themselves. Between those two moments for the Portuguese, and following fine work from John McGinn and James Forrest, there was a glancing header from Naismith that went just past Beto's right-hand post.

Scotland were holding their own when Portugal struck out and took the lead. Kevin Rodrigues went down the left and, suddenly, Scotland were stretched and vulnerable. When Rodrigues' low cross came in, Costa got in ahead of Robertson to poke home on his international debut.

Having lost that goal just before the break, Scotland came agonisingly close to levelling it just after. McGinn's corner was met by a diving header from McKenna which flew narrowly wide. It was a big chance - and one they'd regret missing.

With 15 minutes to go, Renato Sanches floated a free-kick into the Scotland penalty box and three Portugal players lined up to nut it past Gordon. It was Eder who did the job, but it was soft, oh so soft.

And then another self-inflicted wound. Hendry stepped out of defence, lost possession and allowed Portugal to counter. Bruma took to the retreating Shinnie and then unleashed a venomous shot past Gordon. Lights out for Scotland. Again.

There was, at least, a consolation at the end. Shinnie got Scotland in the Portugal box, Mackay-Steven back-heeled to Naismith, who tucked it away. A tiny crumb on another damaging night.

Scotland group
Scotland group table after Israel beat Albania 2-0

Defensive frailties exposed - analysis

With so many players missing - and so many fans absent - this was low-key stuff. Drawing out the positives might be a hopeless exercise in straw-clutching, but it was possible before Portugal opened up and banged in their second and third goal to put an ugly look on things. Beyond that, it was head-in-hands once more.

Defensive calamities cost Scotland, not for the first time. Portugal's second was simplistic and avoidable. The third was a thunderous strike from Bruma, but it had its origins in Hendry's error. McLeish changed his team - he had no choice - but that same weakness at the back remained.

Scotland have developed a habit of conceding catastrophic goals. Next up, two competitive games against Albania and Israel that will determine Scotland's fate in the Nations League - and possibly the fate of their manager.



  • 1Gordon
  • 2O'Donnell
  • 4Hendry
  • 5McKenna
  • 3Robertson
  • 7Forrest
  • 6McGinnSubstituted forShinnieat 67'minutes
  • 8ArmstrongSubstituted forMcDonaldat 77'minutes
  • 11McGregor
  • 10Naismith
  • 9McBurnieSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 76'minutes


  • 12McGregor
  • 13Shinnie
  • 14Russell
  • 15McDonald
  • 16Devlin
  • 17Mackay-Steven
  • 18Christie
  • 21McLaughlin


  • 22BetoSubstituted forMorais Ramosat 86'minutes
  • 21Cédric Soares
  • 6Rúben DiasSubstituted forTeodósio Mendesat 57'minutes
  • 4Novo Neto
  • 5Rodrigues
  • 15OliveiraBooked at 30minsSubstituted forRenato Sanchesat 56'minutes
  • 13DaniloSubstituted forWilliam Carvalhoat 90+1'minutes
  • 16Bruno FernandesSubstituted forCarvalho Fernandesat 68'minutes
  • 10Hélder Costa
  • 9Macedo Lopes
  • 7Tué Na BangnaSubstituted forFerreira Silvaat 90+1'minutes


  • 2Cancelo
  • 3Teodósio Mendes
  • 8Renato Sanches
  • 11André Silva
  • 12Morais Ramos
  • 14William Carvalho
  • 17Ferreira Silva
  • 18Neves
  • 19Mário Rui
  • 20Afonso Fernandes
  • 23Carvalho Fernandes
Ruddy Buquet

Match Stats

Home TeamScotlandAway TeamPortugal
Shots on Target

Live Text

Match ends, Scotland 1, Portugal 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Scotland 1, Portugal 3.


Goal! Scotland 1, Portugal 3. Steven Naismith (Scotland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Gary Mackay-Steven.


Substitution, Portugal. William Carvalho replaces Danilo Pereira.


Substitution, Portugal. Rafa replaces Bruma.


Substitution, Portugal. Cláudio Ramos replaces Beto.


Goal! Scotland 0, Portugal 3. Bruma (Portugal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Gedson Fernandes.

Foul by Hélder Costa (Portugal).

Gary Mackay-Steven (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Pedro Mendes (Portugal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Steven Naismith (Scotland).

Offside, Scotland. Gary Mackay-Steven tries a through ball, but Andrew Robertson is caught offside.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.


Substitution, Scotland. Kevin McDonald replaces Stuart Armstrong because of an injury.

Delay in match Stuart Armstrong (Scotland) because of an injury.


Substitution, Scotland. Gary Mackay-Steven replaces Oliver McBurnie.


Goal! Scotland 0, Portugal 2. Éder (Portugal) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Renato Sanches following a set piece situation.

Éder (Portugal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Scott McKenna (Scotland).

Kévin Rodrigues (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Forrest (Scotland).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Luís Neto (Portugal) because of an injury.

Foul by Luís Neto (Portugal).

Steven Naismith (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Portugal. Conceded by Scott McKenna.


Substitution, Portugal. Gedson Fernandes replaces Bruno Fernandes.


Substitution, Scotland. Graeme Shinnie replaces John McGinn.

Offside, Portugal. Renato Sanches tries a through ball, but Bruno Fernandes is caught offside.

Hélder Costa (Portugal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Andrew Robertson (Scotland).

Foul by Pedro Mendes (Portugal).

Steven Naismith (Scotland) wins a free kick on the left wing.


Substitution, Portugal. Pedro Mendes replaces Rúben Dias.


Substitution, Portugal. Renato Sanches replaces Sérgio Oliveira.

Attempt missed. Kévin Rodrigues (Portugal) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Sérgio Oliveira.

Attempt missed. Scott McKenna (Scotland) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by John McGinn with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Sérgio Oliveira.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Luís Neto.

Attempt blocked. John McGinn (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Steven Naismith.


Top Stories