McKENNA: DON’T PIN ISRAEL LOSS ON KT
SCOTT McKenna last night absolved Kieran Tierney from any blame for the defeat Scotland suffered against Israel and promised to help lift the Celtic defender’s morale ahead of the Portugal friendly.
Tierney scored a secondhalf own goal in Haifa on Thursday evening that ultimately gave their opponents a narrow 2-1 triumph in the Nations League match.
He accepted full responsibility for the loss afterwards and publicly apologised to the Scotland supporters who had booed their own team following the final whistle in the Sammy Ofer Stadium.
But McKenna, the Aberdeen centre-half who came on for the injured Charlie Mulgrew at halftime and played alongside Tierney, felt there was no need for his team-mate to be so harsh on himself.
And he stressed that every member of Alex McLeish’s squad will be
getting firmly behind the defender to ensure he is in a positive frame of mind for the friendly with Euro 2016 champions Portugal at Hampden tomorrow evening.
“It was absolutely not Kieran’s fault at all,” he said. “As a team at the start of the second half we just weren’t good enough.
“I came on at 1-0. If we keep a clean sheet we win the game. But we lose sloppy goals that we didn’t need to lose. It definitely wasn’t Kieran Tierney’s fault.
“He is obviously disappointed and will be hard on himself, but we will all be behind him and try to pick him up and make sure he’s ready for the next game.”
McKenna’s sentiments were echoed by Mulgrew, who put his team in front from the penalty spot in the firsthalf before suffering a hamstring strain, who insisted everyone involved had to look at their contribution and make sure there is no repeat of the dire display.
“Of course it wasn’t all his fault,” he said. “KT is that sort of person. He is wholehearted and is gutted obviously. He will feel that it’s his responsibility and that’s a shame.
“But we are all responsible for that result. We are a collective unit and win and lose as a group. We had a couple of chances that we can look back on and say that we could have done better.
“I had a tight hamstring through the week and had kind of been pushing through it. It just tightened right up so I had no choice but to stay inside for the second half. It was a tough watch. The staff and players will all be looking back to see how we could have improved on that.”