Scotland’s Decade: 2010-19 - Part One
On Tuesday 19 November 2019, Scotland beat Kazakhstan 3-1 at Hampden Park to draw the curtain on Scotland’s Euro 2020 Qualifying group, the year 2019 and the decade.
2010 to 2019, or the ‘teens’ as some would call it, has been an up and down decade for the Scotland National Team. While the decade began with Scotland’s absence from Major Finals standing at 12 years and ends with it unbroken at 22 years, Steve Clarke has the opportunity to finally end that drought in March by leading Scotland through the Nations League Playoffs to Euro 2020.
Scotland have taken to the field 86 times this decade to play 45 different opponents, led by 4 different Head Coaches (6 if you count caretakers), scoring 118 goals along the way from 37 different scorers.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at Scotland’s decade.
One thing to be said about Scotland is they're incredibly consistent, with the win % of competitive matches and friendlies being only 0.29% different (45.45% v 45.16%)!
The uplift in goal difference between competitive and friendly matches is striking, with a 26 goal swing between them.
Scotland's Decade - By Year
The table above shows Scotland's combined competitive & friendly results by year.
In terms of wins, 2011 under Craig Levein was our best year with 6 wins. Scotland only lost 1 game in 2017, a friendly with the Netherlands under Malky Mackay after Gordon Strachan's departure.
Compare & contrast with the same table below, showing only competitive results.
2017 is the only year in which Scotland did not lose a competitive game. The highest number of competitive wins in a calendar year came in 2019 with 5 competitive wins (San Marino x2, Cyprus x2 & Kazakhstan).
Scotland's Decade - By Competition
With three wins from four, the Nations League is Scotland's most successful tournament. Second is the Carling Nations Cup, the one-off tournament hosted in Dublin during 2011.
In terms of qualifying for Major Finals (Euro & World Cup), it's fascinating to see the win % significantly stronger in qualifying for the European Championships compared to the World Cup.
Scotland's Decade - By Manager
As mentioned before, Scotland have been led by four permanent Head Coaches this decade with Billy Stark and Malky Mackay taking the reigns on a caretaker basis for one match each.
* Billy Stark and Malky Mackay are marked with (C) denoting their one match each as caretaker boss.
Gordon Strachan enjoyed the longest spell in charge this decade, taking charge of 40 matches. Steve Clarke has the best win % of the permanent Head Coaches, which bodes well for the challenges ahead.
When only competitive games are considered, Alex McLeish has the best win percentage with 66%. His tenure included the Nations League games with Israel and Albania (home and away) and trips to Kazakhstan and San Marino in World Cup Qualifying.
Scotland's Decade - By Opponent
Scotland have taken on 45 different opponents this decade, some more often than others:
Belgium's Red Devils are Scotland's most common opponent this decade, with Scotland taking them on four times in competitive matches and once in a friendly. Scotland have played Czech Republic, England and Lithuania four times each.
In competitive fixtures, Scotland have met 25 different opponents:
In the games against Scotland's 25 competitive opponents, they boast 100% records against 7 of them: Gibraltar, San Marino, Albania, Malta, Northern Ireland, Cyprus & Liechtenstein.
At the other end, Scotland have failed to beat Belgium, Russia, Spain, England, Serbia, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland.
Scotland's Decade - Home Attendances
Scotland's 26 home competitive games this decade have seen an impressive 935,353 supporters through the turnstiles (average of 36,667 per game). Highest competitive home attendance: 59,239 vs Republic of Ireland (2014) in Euro 2016 Qualifying at Celtic Park.
Lowest competitive home attendance: 14,755 vs Albania (2018) in the Nations League Group at Hampden Park.
Scotland's 15 home friendly matches this decade have seen 293,083 supporters attend (19,538 average attendance).
Highest friendly home attendance: 49,526 vs England (2014) at Celtic Park.
Lowest friendly home attendance: 9,158 vs Canada (2017) at Easter Road.
Scotland's Decade - Fast Facts
Played 86 matches in all competitions
Won 39, Drawn 14, Lost 33
45 Different Opponents
Four Head Coaches - Craig Levein, Gordon Strachan, Alex McLeish, Steve Clarke
Two Caretaker Managers - Billy Stark & Malky Mackay
Biggest Win - 6-0 - vs Gibraltar (2015) and San Marino (2019)
Biggest Loss - 1-5 - vs USA (2012)
Longest unbeaten run - 7 (2017) - 4 wins and three draws
In Part Two of Scotland's Decade, we'll look at the players who have proudly represented Scotland in the past decade - the caps, the goals & the most-capped starting 11.