The Hampden crowd may have been record-breaking, but it was a disappointing night on the pitch for Scotland Women as the Uefa Nations League campaign ended in defeat.
England prevailed 6-0 winners in the final Group A1 match which was played in front of a crowd of 15,320 – a record for a women’s competitive fixture at the national stadium.
The build-up to the match had been centred on strange situation of Team GB’s qualification for the Olympics, with England, as the nominated home nation, needing to top the group to be in with a chance of securing a place in Paris next summer.
So, with Sarina Weigman’s side needing to to win and better the Netherlands’ goal difference to do that, there had been outside suggestions already-relegated Scotland may take it easy so England might progress.
Skipper Rachel Corsie said in the build-up, it was “completely disrespectful” to the Scottish players, and right she was.
Both managers also refuted that Scotland would intentionally be doing England any favours.
Despite England’s win, there will be no Team GB at next year’s Olympics as the Netherlands improved their goal difference with a 4-0 win over Belgium to top the group.
Ahead of the clash, Scotland were fired up and wanted to prove to people that this would be no easy contest for the visitors – unfortunately it did not play out as such on the pitch, despite a solid backing from the fans.
Previous games had been subdued, but on this occasion the Hampden roar bellowed around the ground as the teams walked out.
It then increased by a few decibels as the national anthems got under way. As cold an evening it was, it certainly wasn’t dampening any spirits before kick-off.
When Scotland burst forward and those inside Hampden were on the edge of their seats for the first time, it soon turned into boos as the referee gave a foul when Nicola Docherty looked to capitalise on a Mary Earps slack pass.
And those boos got louder when Alex Greenwood gave the visitors the lead after only 12 minutes as she headed home from a corner sent in by Beth Mead.
Their team might have been behind, but the crowd remained behind the home side as a chorus of “let’s go Scotland, let’s go” started. The team responded as Lisa Evans burst into the England box, where she was brought down by Lucy Bronze.
Was it a penalty? The thousands inside Hampden certainly thought so, but referee Ionela Alina Pesu did not as she waved it away and was met with more heckling.
Scotland’s best chance of the first half came from Claire Emslie when she unleashed an effort from a tight angle, which Earps opted to punch out for a corner.
At the other end, Scotland goalkeeper Lee Gibson, who was drafted back in for this clash, made a superb stop to deny Lauren Hemp from a couple yards out.
It was a save which got the crowd shouting again, after a bit of a lull, with a group of fans sitting behind the press box already feeling the effects of said screaming and decided to go on a temporary vocal rest.
Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa was left shaking his head as were the Hampden crowd, who were as quiet as they had been all match, when England went 2-0 up – and minutes later it was three.
Lauren James scored twice in quick succession, with her first effort, aided by a deflection, to give the Lionesses a comfortable lead.
But things got even worse for Scotland as James bagged an assist as she teed up Mead, who added a fourth.
It was damage control by the time the second half kicked off, but the crowd were in fine voice when they could not have been blamed if they had gone from being raucous to somewhat reserved.
England soon made it 5-0 as Fran Kirby scored a tap in from Georgia Stanway’s cutback.
Even at 5-0 down the fans were cheering for any glimmer of positive play from Scotland, if any player burst forward it was met with applause, while the same could be said about any save made by Gibson.
There were decent chances for Kirsty Hanson and Abi Harrison late on, but Scotland failed to capitalise on any opportunity they created or any England mistake.
The crowd deserved a goal and they thought they had one when Martha Thomas headed goal wards in the dying minutes, but she was denied by Earps, before the rebound came back off Lucy Bronze and then the post.
Bronze added England’s sixth in injury time with a header at the back post which piled on more misery for the Scotland players.
In truth, there had been little for the crowd to shout about – even when they remained vocal throughout. Scotland were nowhere near good enough, which could be said for the entire Nations League campaign.
There have been positives from some of the displays, but positives have not resulted in points. Two points from six games does not reflect the quality of players in this squad.
This was the final Scotland game at Hampden this year and what an occasion it could have been. It is such a shame it ended on such a disappointing note.