We are well accustomed to Scottish sides shutting up shop when it comes to European or International football and their formations would usually be a 4-5-1, or the 5-4-1 successfully employed by Walter Smith so far, but nobody expected a 4-6-0 to be rolled out when the Scottish national side went to the Czech Republic on Friday.
I'm not sure what Levein was planning with such a formation. Lithuania went to the Prague and won 1-0 on the same night we toiled against Leichenstein. The defence picked itself from the previous games but the decisions afterwards were quite frankly baffling. Jamie Mackie, the in-form QPR striker, made his international debut for Scotland on the right-side of a 6 in midfield with Fletcher, Caldwell, Naismith, Morrison and Dorrans alongside him.
It was fairly obvious in the first 10-20 minutes that Scotland were taking nothing from this game. There were several occasions when the ball was punted forward by McManus or Weir and there would not be one Scottish player in the opposing half. Quite simply, it was a line of 6 and a line of 4 trying to block out any Czech attacks - and unsurprisingly, the Czechs struggled to breakthrough with what they had which is not a patch on previous international squads.
Levein defended his tactics afterwards: "It's difficult to say it worked as planned because we didn't get something from the match, But I am happy that the players for long spells in the game did exactly what I was looking for. The fact we lost a goal is a huge disappointment. But I would not ever rule out any system. It's about selecting the best system to win a match."
"I have no regrets about the way we went about it at all,"
"When the game opened up the Czechs were far more dangerous. That system was the best way to contain the opposition. We didn't contain them at one set-piece and it cost us. But I thought the game plan was good in general. It was good to see the players follow instructions. They did everything they could."
Levein has made it clear that he, apparently, had been watching the Czechs for some time. In their last qualifier, Lithuania went to Prague and won 1-0. In March, we actually beat them 1-0 in Levein's first game and before that they had lost to Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates. Results would show, apart from a stunning 4-1 home win over Latvia, that the Czechs are an average side and were clearly there for the taking.
As for other baffling decisions, how Darren Fletcher remained on the pitch for 90 minutes is quite hilarious. Fletcher has not turned up for Scotland in a long time so you could easily argue that he should not have been anywhere near the starting 11. His night, and Scotland career, was summed up towards the end when he was in acres of space on the right-side and just had to put in a simple cross but somehow hit the Czech player 10 yards away with no pressure on him at all. Such an over-rated footballer.
As for Gary Caldwell, playing his first game of the season in central midfield was quite embarrassing.
And then Kenny Miller on the bench? - Laughable.
Levein got exactly what he deserved last night. I'm not going to start this 'anti-football' nonsense but any team playing 4-6-0 against the Czech Republic deserve to be absolutely hammered. Levein's farcical tactics and our lack of ambition and technical ability was shown up yet again - but people still think it's okay and we should get behind the team?