Scotland Football
Scotland have never reached the knockout stages of the European Championship Image Credit: Reuters

Scotland arrived at Euro 2024 buoyed by optimism after a dazzling qualifying run but crashed out of the tournament in achingly familiar fashion, bringing the passionate Tartan Army's party to an abrupt halt.

Searching for their first appearance in the knockout rounds in 12 major tournaments dating back to 1954, Scotland needed a win over Hungary on Sunday to advance though even a draw might have been enough depending on other results.

Instead, pressing for a goal in the dying seconds, Scotland left themselves open at the back and were punished by Kevin Csoboth, who scored the latest regular-time goal in European Championship history with 99 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock.

The heartbreaking loss had captain Andy Robertson apologising and manager Steve Clarke looking despondent.

"We'll take a long time to get over this one," Robertson said. "Thank you to the country because we felt everyone behind us, and we knew the excitement back home -- sorry for letting you down." An estimated 200,000 of Scotland's friendly, kilt-wearing supporters had descended on Germany for the tournament but the fans' passion was not rewarded by performances on the pitch.

With a limited pool of players and a squad hampered by injury, Scotland finished with a single point from three games.

They managed two goals, both of which went in off opposing players. Clarke's team had a woeful 17 shots across their three games, matching Northern Ireland in 2016 for fewest shots since the group stage was introduced in 1980.

While Scotland had 60% possession against Hungary they failed to produce any decent chances in the final third. Clarke lashed out at officials after Stuart Armstrong was caught by Hungary defender Willi Orban in the box but the referee did not award a penalty and there was no VAR check.

"A 100% penalty," the manager said.

Scotland's early exit immediately sparked speculation around Clarke's future.

The 60-year-old guided Scotland to back-to-back European Championship appearances for the first time since 1996 with a brilliant qualifying run that saw them lose just once to group winners Spain.

But they arrived in Germany amid a poor run of form and that continued when they were crushed 5-1 by Germany in their opening match before rebounding to draw Switzerland 1-1.