Twitter erupted in a chorus of mocking tones as Scotland slumped to a hilariously humiliating defeat against lowly Kazakhstan.
The Scots, who are 40th in the FIFA World Rankings, were ultimately beaten 3-0 by the team 77 places below them in their first clash of UEFA European Qualifying Group I, in what was, by that metric, their second easiest game of the lot, behind perennial rear-bringer-uppers San Marino.
Andy Robertson going to the dentist you say? pic.twitter.com/xXTKd9G1W6— JP (@JurgenPressed) March 19, 2019
The inciting incident for this collapse could be traced back as far as you like, but the most recent harbinger seemed to be the enforced no-show of Liverpool talisman Andy Robertson...due to a dental emergency. Essentially, it was already hilarious before kick off.
Before we head right into the lions den of this shambolic showing, let's provide some context as to the relative quality of their opponents. Sure, we know they're ranked 117th in the world, but what does that mean. Well, this:
Kazakhstan, who lead Scotland 2-0 at half-time, have won four competitive matches since 2009: Azerbaijan, the Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra.— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) March 21, 2019
Now, that doesn't scream prestige. But then neither do the names Yuriy Pertsukh and Yan Vorogovskiy, but Alex McLeish's side still found it within themselves to make them look like world-beaters within the first ten minutes.
"We had hopes of the Euros,— Simpsons SPFL (@SimpsonsSPFL) March 21, 2019
They died, they died!
Andy said he was at the dentist,
He lied, he lied!
Why, oh why, are our dreams dead?
Couldn't we have had San Marino first instead?" pic.twitter.com/vXnewptwcR
It was the former who opened the scoring inside three minutes, with a rifled shot into the net. And, seven minutes later, Vorogovskiy had stretched his foot out to meet a David Silva-esque pass (at least according to Gordon Strachan in the Sky Sports studio), sneaking the ball past Scott Bain to extend the lead.
Cue a crisis, and lots and lots and lots of 'Borat' jokes:
Cultural Learnings of Scotland’s Injury Problems at Left Back for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) March 21, 2019
Yes you can laugh at Scotland for being 2-0 after 10 minutes, but bear in mind they are up against the greatest country in the world - all the other countries are run by little girls— I am not Carlton Cole (@_CarltonCole9) March 21, 2019
Borat now only the second most embarrassing farce to have been set in Kazakhstan pic.twitter.com/ut1eZqPnJw— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) March 21, 2019
When you’ve only won 1 of your last 17 matches but your next opponents are Scotland. pic.twitter.com/XaEfx7ZjWG— Seville Calculator (@SevilleCalculat) March 21, 2019
But those heady days of being just 2-0 down didn't last for long. No, no, no. No sooner had the Scottish lads trotted out to the pitch for the second period had Baktiyar Zaynutdinov risen highest to meet a (presumably Kevin De Bruyne-esque) cross to make it three. T H R E E.
Now, make no mistake, there are few international fan bases more accustomed to depressing losses than the Tartan Army, but even this felt like a new low.
Scotland fans: “That was the worst Scotland result I’ve seen”— John Hodge (@19jhodgkiss) March 21, 2019
Alex McLeish: “Worst result you’ve seen so far” pic.twitter.com/WI4eyAjFTX
This whole Scotland team are legends man, class patter— Chris McQueer (@ChrisMcQueer_) March 21, 2019
Scotland fans: We’ve had two decades of pain and torture, no way could this campaign be any worse.— Laura Brannan (@_LauraBrannan) March 21, 2019
Scotland team: Hold my beer.
TBH, I’m just glad we don’t have one of those _EN accounts trying to be funny right now. https://t.co/MzjPw2KpiH— David Childs (@DavidChilds) March 21, 2019
So, what now for this tattered Army of Tartan? Well a drastic stitch up job, with just a two-day turnaround on the cards before they visit San Marino on Sunday in another heavyweight clash, where we'll see whether that beer has been replaced with a fresh, more embarrassing one.
So, who's the San Marino Borat?