Scotland 1 Switzerland 3: Swiss tear apart Smith's tried and tired approach

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The Independent Online

Kenny Miller's second-half goal was the home side's only consolation last night as Switzerland won on Scottish soil for the first time at the seventh attempt and proved in style why they, and not their hosts, are heading to the World Cup.

History will also record that Scotland's winless run in friendlies at Hampden entered its 11th year after this game - and that Walter Smith retains his aversion to experimentation. "I've got to try to build a more consistent team to take into the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign [against France, Italy and Ukraine among others]," he said afterwards, explaining why he had stuck with tried and tested players last night, and failed to give youth its head.

He added that by the time he would have considered bringing on a few youngsters in the second half, "we'd conceded the third goal and it wasn't the time to be making a lot of substitutions."

He also posed a rhetorical question for himself : "Is it that Scotland just don't do friendlies? That's something for us all to think about."

Scotland's players, inevitably, lacked appetite for this meaningless occasion. But when the entire starting XI are already absolute certainties to be in Smith's first squad of the Euro 2008 campaign, what is there to be hungry for?

Smith had a bench of young hopefuls, like Celtic's Shaun Maloney, who remained unused. In pursuit of continuity, Smith retained every starter available to him (seven of them) from Scotland's last game, the 1-1 home draw against the US in November.

The Swiss, a disciplined, fluid, passing side, took the lead after a succession of quick passes upfield, a cross from Ricardo Cabanas and a volley from Tranquillo Barnetta.

The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder was also involved in Switzerland's second. Cabanas laid a diagonal pass from the centre circle out wide to Barnetta, who collected, controlled and crossed to Lille's Daniel Gygax, who finished.

Wigan's Gary Teale, making his Scotland debut, provided a long ball for Miller, who peeled from the shoulder of the last Swiss defender, ran 25 yards and slotted in. Cabanas, after a one-two with Streller, made it three for the Swiss.

Scotland (3-5-1-1): Gordon (Hearts); G Caldwell (Hibernian), Weir (Everton), Webster (Hearts); Dailly (West Ham), Fletcher (Man Utd), Ferguson (Rangers), Quashie (West Brom), G Alexander (Preston); McFadden (Everton); Miller (Wolves). Substitutes used: N Alexander (Cardiff) for Gordon, h-t; Teale (Wigan) for Weir, h-t; S Caldwell (Sunderland) for Ferguson, h-t.

Switzerland (4-4-2): Zuberbühler (Basle); Degen (Borussia Dortmund), Senderos (Arsenal), Grichting (Auxerre), Behrami (Lazio); Wicky (Hamburg), Cabanas (Cologne), Vogel (Milan), Barnetta (Bayer Leverkusen); Gygax (Lille), Streller (Cologne). Substitutes used: Coltorti (Grasshoppers) for Zuberbühler, h-t; Djourou (Arsenal) for Behrami, h-t; Vonlanthen (Breda) for Wicky, h-t; Smiljanic (Basle) for Senderos, 74; Lustrinelli (Sparta Prague) for Streller, 74, Dzemaili (Zurich) for Vogel, 81.

Referee: B Coue (France).

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