MX23RW : Thursday, June 17 01:44:22| >> :600:1828537:1828537:

Result: Alex McLeish booed as Scotland scrape past world's worst team San Marino

Result: McLeish booed as Scotland scrape past San Marino
© Reuters
The Scots had lost their opening qualifying match 3-0 to Kazakhstan in midweek.

Scotland made slow headway along the road to redemption as they followed up defeat in Kazakhstan with an uninspiring 2-0 victory over San Marino.

Alex McLeish's side failed to immediately build on Kenny McLean's headed fourth-minute opener against the worst-ranked national team in the world.

Many of the near 3,000 visiting fans therefore vented their disapproval towards the Scottish Football Association board, even after Johnny Russell doubled the lead in the 74th minute.

Skipper Andy Robertson admitted on the eve of the match that Scotland could only make a small start to atoning for Thursday's 3-0 loss but they barely did that.

The opening defeat looked even worse when Group I rivals Russia won 4-0 in Kazakhstan before kick-off in San Marino and ending the first two games against the two lowest-ranked teams on minus goal difference is a major setback, especially given Cyprus put five past San Marino.

The omens for a resounding win were not good. Scotland had only won 2-0 on each of their three visits to San Marino, twice on their way to reaching the European Championship finals in the 1990s.

McLeish made six changes and a bold choice in his central striking role in Cardiff's Callum Paterson – a midfielder for his club and a right-back for his country in the November wins over Albania and Israel.

Scotland's Ryan Fraser takes a corner in San Marino
Scotland's Ryan Fraser takes a corner in San Marino (Simon Cooper/PA)

Paterson and Bournemouth wide player Ryan Fraser were back in after being allowed to miss the opening qualifier under an agreement with their clubs over concerns about the artificial surface, while Robertson returned after dental surgery.

Right-back Stephen O'Donnell also came in along with Russell and McLean, with James Forrest among the players dropped.

Scotland started with verve and McLean came close with a fierce 20-yard volley before glancing home Fraser's cross and settling the nerves.

But there was no lift-off as the tempo gradually tailed off. Russell was twice off target with half-chances before teeing up Stuart Armstrong in the 20th minute but Ella Benedettini produced an impressive double stop.

Scott McKenna came close to scoring at Serravalle
Scott McKenna came close to scoring at Serravalle (Simon Cooper/PA)

Slackness remained evident in the visitors' play and there was a scare on the half-hour mark when Jose Hirsch got in between Scotland's centre-backs and went round Scott Bain, but he shot into the side netting from a difficult angle.

Paterson went off injured after landing awkwardly as he had a header theatrically saved and Marc McNulty eventually took his place.

There was a lack of quality about Scotland's final ball, evidenced by Russell and Fraser wasting free-kicks and the latter crossing straight out of the park, before the half-time whistle was met by a few boos.

There was another scare just after the restart when Filippo Berardi went down in the box under the close attention of Scott McKenna but the referee was unimpressed.

McNulty had a shot deflected wide and McKenna glanced a header just past but Scotland were labouring and the introduction of Scott McTominay for Callum McGregor did little to change things.

Forrest replaced Armstrong in the 71st minute and soon set up Russell on the break to net from close range, with McNulty assisting matters by setting the Celtic winger free and leaving his low cross.

McNulty had good chances to add to the lead but headed Forrest's cross wide from six yards and then saw his attempted lob diverted over.

The final whistle was met with a few jeers but more applause from the travelling fans.

ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'});
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Gavin McCafferty, Press Association Sport');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '7d6fb944-dd14-4dce-a8ec-c22fb8b283b6');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football');
ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Scotland stutter along road to redemption with subdued victory in San Marino'});

ID:354306: cacheID:354306:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:10503:
Restore Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Craig Gordon during a Celtic training session on November 7, 2018
Read Next:
Craig Gordon fears San Marino could beat Scotland
>

rhs 2.0
Euro 2020 fixtures
Thursday, June 17, 2021
 
5pm
Friday, June 18, 2021
 
2pm
Saturday, June 19, 2021
 
2pm
 
8pm
Sunday, June 20, 2021
 
5pm
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
3Liverpool38209968422669
4Chelsea381910958362267
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
8Arsenal381871355391661
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
10Everton38178134748-159
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
17Burnley38109193355-2239
RFulham38513202753-2628
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!