WHEN Scotland almost qualified under Walter Smith and then Alex McLeish, it was a terrible side to watch, at times, but they got results and got the job done.

We were solid at the back, we were hard to break down and difficult to beat. But when we attacked, we got men forward and we still carried a threat to win games.

The side that Steve Clarke has doesn’t look like being able to do either of those things right now because we just don’t have the players capable of playing international football.

These are the best guys that we have got to pull on that dark blue jersey, but the quality just isn’t there and the defence in particular is nowhere near good enough.

To be fair, I was watching the first half against Russia and thought we did OK. We got away with 0-0 at the break and then conceded such a soft goal from a set-piece.

How can a striker score with his foot like that when the ball has travelled so far through the air? You have a box full of players and nobody wants to attack it. That probably sums up Scotland right now. The main problem we have is that we cannot defend.

As a unit, I can see where Steve Clarke is coming from. We don’t have the players to go and really attack teams so, as he did at Kilmarnock, his side have to be hard to beat. But we can’t even soak up a bit of pressure and then look to hit teams on the break because we are so inept up front.

You can see what Steve is trying to do in terms of getting bodies back and making it difficult for the opposition. But then we go and make it so easy by defending like that, losing stupid goals and then, inevitably, collapsing.

We don’t have two solid, reliable centre-backs that can go and attack the ball, win it in the air or on the ground and keep clean sheets. It is no disrespect to the lads that are there. They are the best we have got, but they are nowhere near good enough at international level.

I know we have lost to Russia and Belgium and they are two of the better sides but, for me, we have to be doing a lot, lot better than we have been.

We have got Andrew Robertson, Kieran Tierney, John McGinn and Ryan Fraser that are real quality players. The rest of them are average as far as I am concerned.

We can’t keep blaming the manager all the time. Steve has come in and nobody would have suggested that he wasn’t the man for the job when he was appointed.

What he did at Kilmarnock was unbelievable. He deserved the job and I wanted him to get it. But he can only work with what that he has and the hard truth of the matter is that we are just not good enough and too many of them are not able to perform at international level.

We can’t blame the manager and we can’t blame the players. That is just the reality of the situation that the national side find themselves in at present unfortunately.

Steve said we had hit rock bottom on Thursday night and I hope this is as bad as it gets for Scotland. As a team, this is the worst side we have had for a while and we have looked very, very average.

There are times where you have a decent side and a bit of hope and others where you realise that you just aren’t good enough and the results won’t be there.

I hope I am totally wrong, but I just don’t see us qualifying for any major tournaments in the foreseeable future. It is sad, but that is where Scotland are right now.