Soccer

Time for Scotland to go ‘back to basics’, says defender Grant Hanley

Steve Clarke’s side will hope to bounce back from their heavy defeat to Germany when they take on Switzerland.

Grant Hanley says Scotland have to get back to basics following their heavy defeat to Germany .
Grant Hanley says Scotland have to get back to basics following their heavy defeat to Germany . (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Grant Hanley insists Scotland need to get “back to basics” to revive their Euro 2024 hopes against Switzerland on Wednesday night.

Steve Clarke’s side are still stinging from their 5-1 thrashing by Germany in the opening Group A game in Munich on Friday.

The sobering defeat left the Scots with one win in 10 games, with the loss of 26 goals.

Ahead of the trip to Cologne to face the Swiss, Hanley, who came on as a substitute at the start of the second half against Germany following Ryan Porteous’ red card, was keen to consign that night to history and focus on returning to the types of performances that have taken Scotland to back-to-back European Championships.

Speaking at a press conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the 32-year-old Norwich centre-back said: “It happens in football.

“You have periods where performances and results go well, particularly if we add a defensive point of view where you are not conceding goals, and the answer for us is to get back to basics and really concentrate on where and why we had success before.

“It is difficult to put your finger on.

“From the players’ point of view, our main work comes on the training pitch to do what we can to improve.

“We have had a couple of days to put it to bed. The manager had a couple of meetings last night to go over it and put that behind us, draw a line under it and look forward to the next game.

“We are talking about playing at the top level, we are talking about playing against a top side.

“These games are huge, it is a big occasion and everyone wants to play on those types of nights.

Grant Hanley came off the bench against Germany .
Grant Hanley came off the bench against Germany . (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Obviously there is maybe added nerves, but I don’t think that is something we can use as an excuse as we didn’t perform like we wanted to.

“Again, we have drawn a line under that and our main focus is what we have got going forward.”

Clarke suggested he had perhaps clouded the players’ judgment by giving them too much information, but Hanley was not convinced.

The former Blackburn and Newcastle defender said: “I don’t think so. From a players’ point of view we have to look at ourselves first and look at how we approached the game, how we performed and the reasons for that.

“We will look at the reasons why we maybe never turned up as we would have hoped to have done or performed the way we can perform to have a positive performance and a positive result.

“This is a group that has been together for quite a while now and we have had our ups and downs together.

“So I think we have to take confidence from the group, that we have shown before that we have bounced back from negative results. So that will be our focus again.

“Obviously we want to put Friday night behind us and give ourselves a better chance to get a result.”

Hanley and the rest of the Scotland camp watched an impressive Switzerland beat Hungary 3-1 in their first game.

He said: “The lads watched the game and Switzerland has some really good quality in the side.

“I am hoping that we turn up and are prepared for the game and put on a performance like we have been doing for a few years.

“We have a massive opportunity to be successful again.

“With hard work we will make sure we prepare and give our all again.”