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FOOTBALL: REALITY BITES.

Byline: JON WEST

SCOTLAND manager Berti Vogts has called for a tartan reality check in the wake of the worst run of defeats since England won the World Cup.

The German, who has lost four out of four since succeeding Craig Brown, insists that expectations are far too high north of Hadrian's Wall.

So far Scotland have been beaten by France, Nigeria, South Korea and South Africa under his stewardship - but all four nations will be competing in the World Cup while the Scots watch on TV.

He said: ``We did not qualify for the Euro 2000 or for the 2002 World Cup and now we are playing with not the best team against big nations.

``The South Africans are very good players. And the Nigerian team also beat Ireland in Dublin.

``South Korea drew with England and England had put in some very good preparation for that match. I am very happy for this Far East tour. I saw a lot of positive things in my squad.''

The three-game tour comes to an end today when Scotland take on a Hong Kong League XI in the Reunification Cup, a tournament neither side can win following opening-day defeats.

The Scots lost 2-0 to South Africa while the home side were beaten by Turkey by the same scoreline.

Vogts has decided on three changes to the starting line-up, with Gary Caldwell, Gareth Williams andScott Dobie dropping out and Lee Wilkie, Scott Severin and Steven Thompson coming in.

He said: ``Lee Wilkie did very well in the second half playing in the left position at centre back with David Weir and Christian Dailly.

``Scotty Severin comes into the starting list. He has done very well in training. And we start with Steven Thompson and Kevin Kyle up front with Allan Johnston on the wing.''

Kyle and Thompson, who missed the South Korea and South Africa defeats because of a hamstring injury, would not normally play together as both are similar target men.

The Scots will return home without having enhanced their reputation on the world stage too much but Vogts was nonetheless pleased.

He said: ``We played against big nations who have qualified for the World Cup. Scotland did not qualify - they were third in the group.

``I am looking to build up a new team. After tomorrow, I can look back and always I am looking to the qualification (matches) and the (final) warmup game against the Danish team back in Europe.

``I hope I can play with the best team and have all my players together.''
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 23, 2002
Words:426
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