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Duncan Shearer column: Scotland must now lay down Faroe Islands marker after disappointing start to World Cup qualifying

(Left to right) Scotland's Jack Hendry, Grant Hanley and Scott McTominay after conceding the opening goal during the World Cup qualifier between Israel and Scotland at Bloomfield Stadium, on March 28, 2021, in Tel Aviv, Israel.
(Left to right) Scotland's Jack Hendry, Grant Hanley and Scott McTominay after conceding the opening goal during the World Cup qualifier between Israel and Scotland at Bloomfield Stadium, on March 28, 2021, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

It has been a disappointing start to the World Cup qualifying campaign for Scotland. People who think otherwise are kidding themselves.

I know you can look at two draws and make the case you did not lose ground to your opponent, but Denmark have already blown a four-point hole in that theory by streaking ahead at the top of Group F.

Steve Clarke’s players need to hit the Faroe Islands hard tomorrow. I’m not talking about winning the game, I mean really do a job on the group minnows, because we need to build our confidence up again and goal difference could come into play when all is said and done.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke.

I’m still pondering whether it would have been better for us to lose one game and win the other as we would have another point at least, but on the bright side at least we can say we’re still undefeated.

Despite the sense of frustration at seeing the national team fail to win their first two games, there were positives to be found from the games against Austria and Israel.

We’ve started both games poorly, but the response in the second half both at Hampden and in Israel have been very good.

Looking at Sunday’s game in particular, we’ve had games where they have looked better than us, but I didn’t feel that way watching this match.

If anything, I only felt disappointment that our performance in the second half was not rewarded with all three points.

Southampton striker Che Adams looks sharp and, once he builds that understanding with his international team-mates, I am sure he will become a valuable member of the side.

Scotland’s Che Adams (right) takes on Eytan Tibi.

Scott McTominay has had two good games and carried a goal threat. while Ryan Fraser looked back to his best too and getting the equaliser in Tel Aviv on Sunday will have done his confidence no harm at all.

But, with the Danes coming to Hampden on September 1, we have to get up and running now as that match has already taken on vital significance for Steve and the players.

Dons deserve praise for choosing Glass

It may have been the international break, but it has been quite a week for Scottish football.

Aberdeen finally have their man in Stephen Glass. He was the clear favourite from the outset and, while his appointment will have surprised a few folk, myself included, I’m excited and applaud the Dons for giving a young guy a chance.

Stephen Glass.

Some Aberdeen fans are sceptical about his appointment, but what I would say to those hoping for a big name boss is to remember the Dons have had that before and it has not worked out.

But what really intrigues me is Scott Brown’s decision to join Stephen at Pittodrie next season.

I would have loved to be a player in the Aberdeen dressing room next year to see what Brown is all about.

We’ve heard snippets from his team-mates at club and international level about the influence he has, but I would have loved to have seen it for myself.

I know this much though – Dons fans will quickly rally around him if he has the same impact at Pittodrie that he has had at Celtic Park.

You can talk about entertainment and attacking football all you like, but football remains fundamentally about winning games and it is those tight games where a player of Brown’s mentality can make a difference.

Celtic’s Scott Brown in action against Aberdeen.

He is the Celtic captain for a reason and Aberdeen have lured him away. Yes, he will be 36 in the summer, but – make no mistake – he is still a class player and if he can help the team win more games he will have done his job.

I look at Roy Aitken, another former Celtic captain who I played with, and I know how important a figure he was.

Willie Miller brought him to Pittodrie in the same role as Stephen has picked Brown for at the Dons.

We started the 1992-93 season brilliantly, largely due to having a leader at the back in Alex McLeish and another in midfield in Roy. We came up short, finishing the campaign as runners-up to Rangers in all three competitions, but I can vouch for how big a presence Roy was in the dressing room.

Brown can be the same for Stephen and the players.

Brora’s big night as they break Hearts

I cannot let this column pass without adding my congratulations to Brora Rangers on knocking Hearts out of the Scottish Cup.

I was one of the lucky ones who can say “I was there” and what a night it was. Here’s hoping they can add Stranraer to the list on Saturday.

Brora players celebrate at full time following their victory over Hearts.

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