Scotland 2—0 Spain.
Posted by celticman on Tue, 28 Mar 2023
The last time Scotland beat Spain at Hampden, King Kenny Dalglish scored and so did super-rat Mo Johnston. The last time Scott McTominay scored a double double in two competitive matches was eh, never. McTominay used to get a game for Man United. He was recently touted for a loan move to Rangers because he wasn’t good enough to get into the Celtic midfield. We all know the rules, for the diddy team to win, Hampden has got to be the perfect turnip patch pitch for wee cabbage patch kids like John McGinn to play ball. Our keeper needs to have one of those games where you say, how did he save that? And can’t really answer because you’re choked up.
Well, Angus Gunn (a good Scottish name, the sun of Brian Gunn, and no relation to Tommy Gunn) didn’t have a particularly good game. He’d a couple of bog standard saves to make. Sure Spain had between 70-80% possession. We expected that. Steve Clarke, when he was Kilmarnock boss, had a decent record against the Old Firm without his team touching the ball that much. Scotland are Kilmarnock equivalents. They aren’t expected to win games like this. Joselu hit the bar in 23 minutes, he’d already made Gunn work, but not very hard. A couple of half volleys and nothing much that would have fazed the Norwich keeper who was booked for time wasting.
McTominay scored in the first seven minutes of the first and second half. That gave Scotland something to hold onto. The second goal gave the team something to believe in. The game plan didn’t change. Kick the ball forward. Contest knockdowns.
The first goal was a gift. Pedro Porro slipped on the rain-soaked surface. It allowed Andy Robertson, playing an advanced role in front of Tierney, to nip in on the touchline and knock the ball back to McTominay. The midfielder made a habit of hitting the ball early and taking a nick against the defender and wrong-footing the keeper. He was so good at it, he did it twice.
The second goal was pure pre-Tierney. The ex-Celt has had a torrid time, and it remains to be seen if he’s the rampaging full back he once was. Here he took the ball and with nobody to hit, and kept running. Dani Carvajal bounced off him. He was into the last third. His ball into the box wasn’t great. It was easily blocked by David Garcia, but his clearance fell to the deadly Scott, who sent the Spanish homeward to think again. Or something like that.
John McGinn, another midfielder, who suddenly finds himself prolific for Scotland, also hit the bar with a swerving free kick in the 57th minute.
With so many balls blootered forward, Lyndon Dykes had his work cut out. Just before half time he had a great chance to make it 2—0. Robertson’ hooked long clearance fell behind David Garcia who’d misjudged it. Dykes was in on goal. His first and second touches were perfect to set himself up for the finish. He clipped the shot over the keeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, but also over the bar. He was the busier of the two keepers. Dykes was later booked (perhaps unfairly) for use of an elbow.
Lawrence Shankland came on in 89 minutes. Callum McGregor had one of those late runs that mirrored Tierney’s earlier in the match. He picked out the Heart’s forward to finish, but he didn’t. No matter. Game done. Job done.
Scotland didn’t play well, but they defended well. Our captain, Andy Robertson, had one of those sliding-elbow moments. He caught Pedro Porro on the edge of his jaw with a nothing challenge. He got a yellow card. But it could have been red. That would have made it the clichéd different game entirely. Steve Clarke’s Scotland wouldn’t have flung men forward, but even in the turnip filed that is Hampden Park, the Spanish would have found more than enough space to work. For the diddy team to win, everything needs to come together as it did tonight in the rain. Six points out of six. We’re Scotland. Something will happen and it won’t be good. But then again. Fucking Scott McTominay. That’s a 50 000/1 shot. Maybe Scotland will win the World Cup.
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