Where do Scotland go now after nightmare opener?

Nightmare. Disaster. Miserable. An almighty bubble burst.

You could pick a slew of words to describe Scotland's 5-1 thumping at the hands of hosts Germany in the curtain raiser for Euro 2024.

None of them would be pretty.

It was supposed to be a vibrant and joyful occasion for Scotland, who were back at a major tournament on foreign soil for the first time since 1998.

The near 200,000 travelling fans made sure it was - until kick-off.

Five goals conceded, a red card, no shots on target and a negligible expected goals rating of 0.01.

"First half, we just got it all wrong really, didn't show up," a sombre captain Andy Robertson said. "Weren't aggressive enough, and we let good players get on the ball."

Steve Clarke's side still have two games to achieve their goal of getting out of the group, but after such a soul-shattering beginning, where do they go from here?

Scotland 'underperformed' and 'froze'

Let's be clear, Germany were excellent. Toni Kroos, Ilkay Gundogan, Florian Wirtz, and Jamal Musiala oozed class.

But Scotland know they did not do themselves justice.

"I think a lot of our guys underperformed," former Scotland winger Neil McCann said on BBC Scotland's Sportsound.

"Angus Gunn didn't have a great game. I don't think Scott McTominay was quite right, he was carrying something going into these games. We posed no threat."

A low key build up with concerns around injuries and a lack of game time for some players was swept away as the Tartan Army rolled into Munich.

But the reality is Scotland had only defeated Gibraltar in nine games before this match.

The swashbuckling stuff that got them to the tournament has not been seen for a while.

Former Scotland striker Steven Thompson said Scotland looked "scared" on the ball early on.

Questioning the mentality was a theme from pundits in the post-mortem. Roy Keane was left bemused at Robertson's admission they lacked aggression.

"When you're playing football at this level, you've got to hit people," the former Celtic midfielder said on ITV. "Hit them properly, aggressively but in the right way.

"There's no point saying afterwards you had a gameplan - it's rubbish."

Another former Celtic player, Chris Sutton, said Scotland "froze" on the big occasion.

"It was like they had an inferiority complex," he added on BBC Radio 5 Live. "All the players were below-par and that is the worry for me."

It all leaves some pretty uncomfortable questions for Clarke, and the manager was not in the mood to answer many of them in a tetchy post-match news conference.

Should Clarke switch tactics?

After such a bruising night Clarke will, in his private moments, be questioning his side and set up before facing Switzerland in Cologne.

Should Billy Gilmour come in to help keep the ball better? Does Gunn need replaced after a shaky performance in goal? How can Scotland be more of a threat?

Ally McCoist, the last man to score in a Scotland win at the Euros against Switzerland in 1996, says they need to look for solutions quickly.

"Scotland have to change their mentality ahead of their next two games," the former striker told ITV.

"Scotland have to get balls into the box, get players forward. There has to be a completely different approach.

"It should be slightly easier now as I don’t believe the other two teams will be at the same standard. They are good teams, but not as good as Germany."

Thompson believes Clarke needs to think about changing shape to sharpen up in attack.

"We didn't see the width, Robertson and [Kieran] Tierney combining is one of our biggest weapons," he said on Sportsound.

"I'd like to see us play with a winger. James Forrest or Lewis Morgan. Because we did not offer any threat. We've got to offer more and tactically be different.

"I would think about a change in formation."

Fans must 'keep the faith'

Clarke was clear before a ball was kicked he felt Scotland needed four points from nine to get out of Group A. He said the same post-match.

"It's all about the reaction," the head coach added.

The games against Switzerland and Hungary are still there for Scotland to grasp, if they can recover and learn lessons.

Whether they can drag themselves off the canvas is now the big question.

"The reality is, park this game," former Scotland defender Leanne Crichton said. "There's nothing you'll take from hanging onto it.

"Switzerland and Hungary will be completely different opponents to this game."

The Scotland players and staff must forget it. However, this loss will live with supporters for a while yet.

Clarke was asked to send a message to the Tartan Army as they trudged back to the bars and hotels of Munich.

"Keep the faith," was the reply. It's the Scotland way.

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