Scotland skipper Andy Robertson claims some people, especially pundits, prefer when the national team loses so they have something to moan about.
Robertson defended Alex McLeish and his coaching staff in the wake of criticism following Thursday’s 2-1 defeat in Israel, which the Liverpool player admitted was well below the standard expected.
But he feels McLeish has come under unfair attack. The former Scotland centre-back has won twice and lost five times since returning to his managerial role but their Nations League group remains perfectly balanced with the Scots, Israel and Albania all on three points.
Ahead of Sunday’s Hampden friendly against Portugal, Robertson said: “They are new into the role and they have probably come under too much criticism, for me. At the very start of a campaign, it’s probably the most any Scotland manager has had in god only knows how many years.
“They are fighting a tough battle but for me they are doing a good job just now and it’s a work in progress.
“I can understand the fans’ frustration from the last game, it wasn’t good enough.
“But also a lot of people look at results, and we have taken a lot of tough games, which has been hard for the lads when we are trying to learn under a new manager. Against Belgium, a world-class team, we didn’t really get out, and by all accounts Peru and Mexico were tough conditions.
“So we have had to deal with all different things but we are still learning under the new manager and we need to keep going.
“I think the criticism is a bit harsh but some people prefer when we do bad instead of when we do good.”
When pressed on his opinion, the 24-year-old added: “Some pundits prefer if they have something to moan about but that’s their job, that’s what they get paid for.
“We get paid to go out over the white lines, and as soon as we don’t perform doing that people have stuff to write about. Unfortunately we have given them excuses to write about us negatively and we all need to take it on the chin. It’s part and parcel of football and we respect their decision.”
Robertson believes the squad will come out fighting on Sunday.
He said: “It’s been tough. Obviously there has been a lot of criticism and the reaction of fans after the game. But the players have all stuck together, which has probably made my job and the manager’s job a lot easier.
“It’s been a tough couple of days but we have another game to put it right. We are still confident and have picked our spirits up.”
When asked if the players were angered by the criticism, he said: “We can’t be. We have not qualified for 20 years so we can’t moan about it when people write stuff about us. It’s up to us to perform better.”