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PATRIK SCHICK spotted the goalkeeper off his line, launched a looping shot from just inside the halfway line and gave his team a two-goal lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Schick scored both goals for the Czech Republic today in a 2-0 victory over Scotland. But it was his second goal that will be talked about for years to come.
Scotland lost possession when a shot was blocked and the ball fell to Schick. The Bayern Leverkusen forward looked up and spotted opposing goalkeeper David Marshall way off his line before hitting a long, curling shot that didn’t touch the floor before ending up in the goal.
Marshall gave chase, but he could only watch the ball sail into the goal before he ended up tangled in the net.
“There was a deflected ball,” Schick said. “I took a look [at the goalkeeper] to see where he was standing and he was pretty high. I checked it again and fired.”
Schick and the other Czech players ran toward the corner of Hampden Park where a few dozen Czech fans erupted in celebration.
Schick had earlier given the Czechs the lead in the 42nd minute with a powerful header after muscling himself between two Scotland defenders. It was an excellent finish that came from an equally outstanding cross from right back Vladimir Coufal.
The Czech Republic took the lead in Group D with three points and spoiled the party for Scotland, which was returning to a major men’s football tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.
Scotland head coach Steve Clarke called the game a “good learning experience,” but was annoyed at the way in which Schick scored from a Scotland chance.
“It was quite an even game, not much in it,” said Clarke. “They were more clinical. Losing a goal off a second-phase set-play was disappointing and the boy’s had a wonderful strike from a shot from Jack Hendry that fell perfectly for him. When we had our chances, we didn’t quite take them.
“It’s a good learning experience. We didn’t come here to learn but you still have to lean your lessons and take your chances when they present themselves, make sure you stay in the game and get something from it.
“We played some good stuff, could have been a little braver on the ball first-half. It was quite a tense first half, not a lot of space. Just the way the game panned out, both teams nullified each other for the first 45 minutes. We didn’t work enough to get behind them in the first half. Lots to learn for everybody.”
Scotland started well, getting the ball up the field into crossing positions. Midfielder John McGinn had a good chance to score in the sixth minute, but his effort was deflected out for a corner.
The Czechs started gaining a foothold as the first half wore on, with Schick forcing a save in the 16th with a near-post effort that was palmed away by Marshall.
The home team was fired up by the 12,000 fans at Hampden Park, but it wasn’t enough.
Scotland defender Kieran Tierney was sidelined for the match after picking up a minor injury in training this week. Scotland coach Steve Clarke said he was hopeful that Tierney would be ready for the team’s next Group D match against England on Friday in London.
“I’m hopeful. I wouldn’t be getting overexcited about it. He’s been an integral part of how we’ve played recently. The boys who came in, by and large, we defended well, if you take out the set-play and the clever play from their striker. We missed Kieran.
“It was a big effort today, different players are available, I’ll have a good think about it. We’ll go back to base camp, lick our wounds for 24 hours and get ready for the game on Friday.”
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