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'For Scotland, no party, as Euros farewell falls flat'

In keeping with a preamble to the Euros that could have been plotted by Quentin Tarantino - such has been the casualty rate in the Scotland squad - the farewell at Hampden on Friday turned into a party without booze, a celebration without song and a game without a win.

One victory in nine. "We'll be coming, Munich", as the song doesn't go.

Craig Gordon's Hollywood exit turned into one of those B-movie horrors.

Brought on to great acclaim after 69 minutes for his 75th - and presumably last - cap, given Gordon has been cut from Clarke’s Euros squad, this was a moment of pure sentimentality.

You could have asked why? You could have pointed out that with one week to go before opening the Euros against Germany in Munich that this was not the night for Clarke to get emotional on us.

In the circumstances - two goals to the good and cruising - the urge, instead, was to ask why not? The game was effectively won. The coast was more or less clear for Gordon’s story to unfold. Hampden was in a happy place.

Besides, as Clarke explained afterwards, he did not want to be the man who denied the goalkeeper his milestone appearance as well as a place in Germany.

Gordon, at 41 years and 159 days, is the oldest Scotland men's international of them all.

His career has been built on the back of class and resilience, an almost superhuman power to recover from the kind of injuries that experts told him he had little chance of recovering from.

His is a controversial omission but this was a consolation prize, a chance to say farewell in front of his own people. Given the captain's armband, it was a strange way to say goodbye, but hey, a lovely cameo nonetheless.

Until it wasn't. Gordon was on the pitch for three minutes when Finland made it 2-1. He was on the pitch for 15 minutes when he gave away the penalty that made it 2-2.

He was shown a yellow card, shook his head at the decisions that crashed around his ears and was then beaten from the spot. Romance be damned.

'A curious evening amid curious times'

Scotland cornered the global market in pre-tournament farewells in the magnificent if somewhat misplaced optimism of 1978, but for half the night at Hampden this was a party at the other end of the spectrum.

It was quiet and it was flat. Scotland had created nothing.

Lawrence Shankland, the deadliest striker in the Scottish Premiership, looked like a lost lamb.

John McGinn, one of the team's most prolific contributors, was hushed and diminished, his ample bottom somehow bonier now.

The glorious goodbye that Clarke was looking for was not materialising, the "negative Normans" he spoke about pre-match were multiplying in number.

A turbulent preamble to Germany pockmarked by injury - still no sign of the utterly indispensable Scott McTominay - and poor form, and now a night that was supposed to sizzle and get the whole thing firing again was in danger of burning out.

Scotland looked like they would be spared a limping exit from Glasgow, thanks in one part to an own goal off an Andy Robertson cross and in other part, a header from Shankland off another Robertson cross.

In those moments, Hampden did not exactly shake to its very foundations but the joy and relief was palpable.

After the losses to Spain, England, France, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. and the less-than-euphoric 2-0 victory over Gibraltar - welcome back, feelgood. It has been a while.

Ryan Christie looked lively. Kieran Tierney looked like the leader Scotland needs.

Anthony Ralston, with only six starts for Celtic all season, coped admirably on one of the biggest nights of his football life. At stake, a starting place against Germany next Friday. Ralston looks hot favourite for that position now.

On came young Tommy Conway for his debut. On came Lewis Morgan, a bolter from the MLS.

Things looked rosy, until the petals started to drop and the win went away. So, no open-top bus, no wild scenes, no predictions of impending greatness in Germany.

It was a curious kind of evening, but then these are curious times.

Clarke has been on edge this week and was a little touchy in his pre-match interviews when asked about the leaking of the names of the two players - Gordon and John Souttar - who he later confirmed will miss out.

It has all got a bit antsy, but the trip to Germany and Scotland's retreat in the ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen near the Austrian border presents a chance to plot and ponder, a bit of space to reset and bring it to the Germans in Munich.

Scotland are underdogs whose bark has become worryingly soft in recent months, but in every waking minute of every day from now until Friday, Clarke and his players will be working on finding themselves.

This team beat Spain and Norway not that long ago. They qualified at a relative canter. They are a better team than they have shown of late.

Friday might be an opportune time to prove it.