by John Reid

Number of European teams eliminated from World Cup 2014 qualification process: 1 – Scotland. This midweek Stramash looks at Scotland’s journey into the abyss and where the national team goes from here.

Scotland’s chances of qualifying for Brazil 2014 were remote even before the recent games at home to Wales and away to Serbia, but the two losses in those games confirmed Scotland’s elimination. Although Scotland could consider themselves unfortunate to lose 2-1 to Wales, that doesn’t tell the real story. The one bit of bad luck in the first five minutes when Stephen Fletcher was stretchered off, but after that Wales dominated the first half, and it was a shock when Scotland went 1-0 through Grant Hanley, who had endured a torrid time in defence. Scotland did play slightly better in the second-half – Robert Snodgrass hitting the woodwork – but when Snodgrass got himself stupidly sent-off for a second yellow card Aaron Ramsey scored the penalty and moments later Hal Robson-Kanu got the winner.

Last night’s performance in Serbia was even worse, Scotland’s only half chance a Jordan Rhodes’ shot, whilst both of Serbia’s goals in their 2-0 win were due to defensive errors from the likes of Alan Hutton and Gary Caldwell.

So what can Scotland and Gordon Strachan do to stop the rot getting worse? For a start he should gut the team, the likes of Kenny Miller and Alan Hutton should have their international careers terminated. I would also use the rest of the qualifying games to introduce younger players, such as Gary Mackay-Steven and Leigh Griffiths not only into the squad but into the first team, these games are nothing more than glorified friendlies anyway for Scotland and we will never know if these players are good enough unless they are picked.

The problems facing Scottish football at the moment are many, from Dunfermline’s impending administration to the still unresolved process of league reconstruction. It’s at the lowest ebb it’s been at for many a long year, perhaps going back to basics is the beginning of a process to bring some sort of respectability to the national side.