Czech 3-1 Scotland

David Clarkson marked his Scotland debut with a goal - but it was not enough to prevent the first defeat of the George Burley era against the Czech Republic in Prague.

Former Rangers misfit Libor Sionko claimed a double and Michal Kadlec was also on the scoresheet as the home nation ran out comfortable winners.

This was Burley's first away game and he always knew it would be a tough test against a country ranked sixth in the world and heading for Euro 2008 this summer.

Like Burley's debut against Croatia in March, the build-up to this match had been overshadowed by withdrawals, with six pulling out of the squad this time around.

James McFadden and Alan Hutton both sustained injuries with Birmingham and

Tottenham respectively, and Rangers duo Steven Whittaker and Kevin Thomson were quickly added to the casualty list.

Kris Boyd and Steven Fletcher checked in at the national team's Cameron House base in Loch Lomond earlier in the week but also cried off with injuries.

That left just 18 fit players to make the trip to Prague, with Burley insisting the friendly was still a worthwhile exercise ahead of the World Cup qualifiers which begin in Macedonia in September.

In truth, this match had 'end of season' written all over it until a late flurry of action.

Around 1,800 Tartan Army travelled but the game clearly failed to capture the imagination of the locals and the AXA Arena was hardly bursting at the seams.

Burley handed a debut to West Brom midfielder James Morrison, while Motherwell pair Clarkson and Ross McCormack and Hearts defender Christophe Berra also earned first caps as second-half substitutes.

The home side could have opened the scoring early on when Rudi Skacel's cut-back found Sionko in front of goal, but the ball was cleared before he could pull the trigger and Jan Koller fired over.

A Gary Caldwell foul on Koller 30 yards out provided the Czechs with another opportunity to put Scotland under pressure but Tomas Galasek's free-kick was comfortably held by Craig Gordon.

The Scots managed a few ventures forward themselves but failed to put their hosts under too much pressure in the opening spell.

At the other end, a great cross from the right from Sionko set up Koller for the header but the towering striker was off-target again.

Scotland then failed in their attempts to win a penalty when Barry Robson claimed he was pushed by Marek Jankulovski, but Dutch referee Eric Braamhaar ignored the pleas.

The Czechs still looked more likely to snatch the opener and Gordon was called into action to block a thunderous long-ranger from Jan Polak. Jankulovski pounced on the rebound but rifled into the side netting to the relief of the visitors.

A Robson free-kick 25 yards out provided hope of a breakthrough for Scotland before the break but Chelsea's Petr Cech was untroubled in the Czech goal as the first half ended goalless.

The Czechs made five changes at half-time and one of the substitutes, David Jarolim, almost broke the deadlock soon after the restart.

Polak raced past the static Gary Naysmith before squaring to Jarolim at the back post with the gaping net at his mercy, but a last-gasp block from Paul Hartley kept the scoreline level.

Scotland's best chance followed when Miller slipped a pass through to Morrison who looked set to mark his debut with a goal but the shot cannoned off the body of Cech.

Burley made his first change when stand-in skipper Stephen McManus made way for Christian Dailly to make his 67th appearance.

And the Rangers utility player could have done better seconds later when the Czechs took the lead with an hour gone. Sionko gathered Zdenek Pospech's pass on his chest before firing home from just a few yards out.

Morrison was replaced by Shaun Maloney, before Gavin Rae made way for Clarkson to earn his first cap.

Motherwell club-mate McCormack also made a first appearance but time was running out for the Scots.

The home nation netted again with 83 minutes on the clock when Kadlec, once linked with a move to Celtic, rifled low into the net before Scotland pulled a goal back two minutes later.

Naysmith was the provider and Clarkson celebrated his first international goal when he deftly switched from his right to his left foot and fired home past Cech.

Sionko then claimed his second of the night with a minute to go when he looped a shot over Gordon.

Pospech (Sivok 74),Ujfalusi (Rozehnal 46), Kovac, Jankulovski
(Kadlec 46) Sionko,Polak, Matejovsky (Jarolim 46), Galasek

Skacel (Plasil 46),Koller (Sverkos 45).

Subs Not Used: Blazek, Grygera, Vlcek, Fenin, Baros, Zitka.

Goals: Sionko 60, Kadlec 84, Sionko 90.

McNaughton (Berra 90), McManus (Dailly 57),Caldwell, Naysmith
Robson (McCormack 82), Hartley, Fletcher,Rae (Clarkson 71)

Morrison (Maloney 68), Miller.

Subs Not Used: Marshall, Anderson.

Goals: Clarkson 85.

Ref: Eric Braamhaar (Holland).

Att: 11,314


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