Scotland Women’s search for their first Uefa Nations League win continues as they were defeated 1-0 by the Netherlands at Hampden.
Despite an improved display following the 4-0 defeat against the Dutch last Friday, Scotland went 1-0 down after 60 minutes through an Esmee Brugts strike.
It proved to be the only goal at Hampden and the defeat leaves Scotland sitting bottom of Group A1 with one point from four games.
The squad will next meet in December for the final group matches – against Belgium away and England at home – which will determine Pedro Martinez Losa’s side’s Nations League fate.
Scotland improved, but still fail to really trouble the Dutch
Martinez Losa made five changes from Friday’s defeat, as Fiona Brown, Lisa Evans, Jenna Clark, Erin Cuthbert and goalkeeper Sandy MacIver – who was making her debut – came into the starting XI.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors as Brugts, who was on the scoresheet in Nijmegen, hit her strike well over MacIver’s bar.
Rangers midfielder Kirsty MacLean retained her place from last week’s defeat and showed her versatility of helping out in defence, as she intercepted two dangerous looking Dutch passes which would have lead to clear shots on goal.
The 18-year-old – nicknamed Wee Ini – was key to Scotland’s first chance as she found the returning Cuthbert, who then played through the pacey Kirsty Hanson.
It looked like a promising move, but the Aston Villa attacker took the ball too wide in the box and her shot was deflected for a corner – which was eventually cleared.
Evans, who was making her 101st cap after reaching the milestone in the last game against the Dutch, linked up well with Cuthbert and should have unleashed a strike after a smart chop inside the box, but the move petered out.
After an underwhelming display last week, things looked more encouraging for Scotland when going forward – with Cuthbert making a big difference.
In quick succession, the home side won a corner which a towering Clark connected with before the ball was cleared, and Claire Emslie sent an inviting ball into the box that was well intercepted by Lineth Beerensteyn.
After a bright start, the Dutch struggled to create any meaningful chances until Jill Roord was afforded too much space outside the box, but her effort dropped just wide.
The score remained 0-0 and Scotland had MacIver to thank when Dutch skipper Sherida Spitse sent a free-kick into the box, which the debutant superbly tipped onto the bar – before Roord stabbed the rebound the wrong side of the post.
Only minutes into the second half, Roord had a glorious chance to put her side in front, but Scotland went unpunished as the unmarked Manchester City star sent her header wide of the target.
Scotland almost had a half chance when Cuthbert whipped in a corner, but it was cleared just before skipper Rachel Corsie could make contact at the back post.
Brugts scored her second goal from two games against Scotland as she put the Netherlands 1-0 up on the hour mark when she was allowed to cut inside and blasted a superb strike from 25 yards out which ricocheted off the inside of the post and rolled over the line.
The home side may have been playing better than they had in the reverse fixture, but with almost 70 minutes on the clock Scotland had still not registered a chance on target.
As such, Martinez Losa made attack-minded changes as Martha Thomas, Lauren Davidson and Jamie Lee-Napier came on, as did midfielder Christy Grimshaw.
Scotland were saved by the woodwork as captain Corsie lost the ball in possession in a dangerous area and it eventually found Beerensteyn, who saw her shot come back off the post.
Substitutes Grimshaw and Thomas linked up well with the former finding the latter with a superb long ball which culminated in a shot which was deflected off target.
Goalkeeper MacIver kept the score at 1-0 in the dying stages as she pulled off another good stop to deny Roord’s effort from 20 yards out.
With almost the final touch of the ball Sophie Howard almost recreated the scenes of last month’s last-minute equaliser against Belgium, but this time her header was held by Dutch keeper Daphne van Domselaar – and that was the home side’s only shot on target over the 90 minutes.
Scotland (3-1-4-2): MacIver 7, Howard 6, Clark 7, Docherty, Corsie 6, Brown 6, Cuthbert 7 (Grimshaw 61), MacLean 7 (Smith 80), Evans 6 (Lee-Napier 71), Emslie 6 (Thomas 61), Hanson 6 (Davidson 71).
Subs not used: Gibson, Fife, Cornet, Gallacher, McLauchlan, Rodgers, Howat
Netherlands (3-5-2): van Domselaar 6, Spitse 6, Dijkstra 6, Casparij 6, Pelova 6, Groenen 6, Roord 7, van de Donk 7 (Kaptein 71), Brugts 7 (Wilms 85), Beerensteyn 7 (Snoeijs 85), Martens 6 (Egurrola 32).
Subs not used: Weimar, Lorsheyd, Olislagers, van Dongen, Miedema, Baijings, Jansen, Auee
Player of the match: Esmee Brugts