MX23RW : Tuesday, October 27 06:45:20| >> :600:306488:306488:

Live Commentary: Georgia 1-0 Scotland - as it happened

Take a look back at the Euro 2016 qualifier between Georgia and Scotland with Sports Mole's text coverage.
2

Scotland suffered a damaging blow to their Euro 2016 qualification hopes by losing 1-0 to Georgia in Tbilisi.

Despite looking comfortable for long spells of the match, Scotland fell behind late in the first half when Valeri Kazaishvili fired past David Marshall.

Gordon Strachan's side struggled to create chances after the break and Georgia's stubborn defence held on to collect all three points.

Read below to find out how the drama unfolded.


Sort:
Newest
Oldest
Hello everyone! A busy night of international football kicks off in Tbilisi tonight as Georgia play host to Scotland in a Euro 2016 qualifier. Gordon Strachan's side head into the game as favourites, but can they claim a win to boost their hopes of qualifying from Group D?

As it stands, Scotland currently sit third in Group D. They are two points behind Germany and three behind leaders Poland. A playoff spot remains the mostly likely route to next summer's tournament, but a win tonight will keep the pressure on the top two before Monday's meeting with Germany at Hampden Park. Georgia are only above Gibraltar with three points from six games.


Georgia are looking for their first win since Kahkaber Tshkadadze took over in December. A 3-0 win over Gibraltar is their only success in this qualifying campaign, but they have fond memories of hosting Scotland after recording a 2-1 victory in Tbilisi in 2007.

Scotland are favourites to walk away with all three points today, but they will have to guard against complacency. Assistant manager Mark McGhee has no doubts that the hosts will not be pushovers in front of their fans.

"They are under a new manager and they have a passionate way about them, tribal almost, when it comes to supporting their country and playing for their country," he told reporters. "You can be absolutely sure they will not want to be embarrassed at home against us.


Ipswich Town defender Christophe Berra was forced to pull out of the squad with an injury.


We're still waiting for confirmation of the Georgia lineup, but the Scotland side is in.

SCOTLAND: Marshall, Hutton, Robertson, R. Martin, Mulgrew, Maloney, Morrison, Brown (c), S. Fletcher, Naismith, Anya

SUBS: Gordon, Ritchie, Griffiths, McArthur, Whittaker, Forrest, Russell, D. Fletcher, Greer, McGregor, C. Martin, Hanley


Strachan makes just two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Republic of Ireland in June. Ikechi Anya and Andrew Robertson come into the side to replace Matt Ritchie and Craig Forsyth. Anya joins Steven Naismith and Steven Fletcher in what should be an attacking front three, while Scott Brown and James Morrison both start in midfield.

GEORGIA: Revishvili, Lobzhanidze, Kverkvelia, Kashia, Amisulashvili, Navalovsky, Kankava(C), Kazaishvili, Okriashvili, Ananidze, Mchedlidze

"I have had it all the way through my career when approaching good games that I look forward to, or any game, there is a nervous excitement. So, we are in the same boat," Strachan told reporters in the build up to this game.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan faces the media during a press conference at Sopwell House on August 13, 2013© Getty Images

"It doesn't mean we are apprehensive, it doesn't mean we are scared, it means we are looking forward to it."


PREVIOUS MEETING: In the reverse fixture in October, an own goal from Akaki Khubatia was enough to hand Scotland a 1-0 victory at Ibrox. Georgia proved in the game that they can be tough to break down, but they may take a few more risks today.

Shaun Maloney of Scotland fires in a shot which goes in off Akaki Khubutia of Georgia for an own goal to open the scoring during the EURO 2016 Qualifier match on October 11, 2014© Getty Images


Confidence is certainly not an issue for this Scotland side. In truth, they haven't looked the same since Strachan took charge and Scott Brown is optimistic tonight.

"It's always hard coming away from home no matter where it is, but I think we've got the players to cope with that and produce a result," the skipper told reporters. "We are going to create chances and we've got the players there to go on and finish them."


KEY PLAYER: Shaun Maloney could be the main man for the visitors tonight. The Hull City midfielder has the ability to find space all over the pitch, and it will be his creativity that brings the likes of Anya, Naismith and Fletcher into the game. Scotland must be brave going forward and Maloney will be at the centre of most attacks.


Scotland fans know better than to be planning any trips to France yet, but the belief in the squad is growing quickly and Russell Martin is sure he will at the tournament next summer. It could still come down to a tricky playoff tie.

"I expect us to be in France," the Norwich City defender told reporters. "I believe that 100 per cent and I'm sure everyone in the squad would tell you the same."


The two other Group D matches will kick off at 7.45pm tonight. Germany are hosting Poland in a battle of the top two sides, Republic of Ireland should be targeting an emphatic away win against Gibraltar. You can follow both of those games with Sports Mole this evening.

Steven Fletcher could be an important man tonight. He may not always be the most prolific for Sunderland or Scotland, but his quality is clear and he will keep the visitors high up the pitch with his ability to hold up the ball. If Scotland can get players close to him, Fletcher is clever enough to create opportunities for his teammates.

STAT: Georgia have scored just one goal in home competitive fixtures in the last three years. That is certainly further proof that the first goal could be vital tonight.

PREDICTION: As mentioned in the previous post, goals could be difficult to come by for both sides this evening. Scotland are likely to hit the hosts on the break for long spells as they look to use their pace and creativity in attack. I'm not expecting a six-goal thriller, but one or two moments of quality could be enough for either side. Scotland to claim a valuable 1-0 win!

The two teams are out in the middle for the national anthems and the handshakes. It should be a tough evening for the visitors in hot conditions. Kickoff is just a few moments away.

KICKOFF: Scotland get the game underway. As you would imagine, plenty of noise coming from the visiting fans already.

Plenty of roaming from Scotland's attacking players already as Naismith finds himself in a central position. Robertson has a chance to deliver a cross, but he delays and Georgia relieve the pressure.

Dreadful from Georgia as Hutton collects the ball in plenty of space on the right wing, but his cross is cleared at the back post. Good start from the visitors.

Scotland have certainly looked sharp in possession in the early stages, but a lapse in concentration allows Georgia to break. However, Kazaishvili ignores his options to fire a tame effort wide from outside the box.

Georgia enjoy a long spell in possession but Scotland keep their shape well and Marshall comfortably collects a cross from Navalovski.

Lovely skill from Naismith in the box as he creates space before nutmegging a defender, but the touch is too strong and Revishvili comes off his line quickly to collect.

YELLOW CARD! Maloney comes inside from the right, which creates space for Hutton out wide once again and Kashia goes into the book for chopping down the full-back. Naismith is playing in a central position tonight, with Maloney being given the role of starting on the right.

Strachan has barely moved from his seat so far, but he must surely be happy with the start Scotland have made to this match. They have been comfortable in possession and the likes of Anya and Maloney are making very good runs off the ball.

A promising move appears to come to an end when Maloney is dispossessed on the edge of the box, but Fletcher sends the loose ball out wide. Robertson then delivers a cross which is a touch too strong as Naismith gives away a free kick at the back post.

Georgia are starting to enjoy more of possession, but Scotland have been excellent defensively so far and they are refusing to offer much space. A couple of nervy moments arrive for Martin and Mulgrew until Georgia eventually lose the ball when they are forced back.

Hutton does well once again as he takes the ball down the right before delivering a high cross. Fletcher goes up to challenge with Revishvili, but the striker is adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper.

Better from the hosts as Mchedlidze collects the ball on the edge of the box before evading a couple of challenges to fire a shot a couple of yards wide.

Brilliant play from Naismith as he sprints away from his marker on the left. He gets into the box and pulls the ball back, but Fletcher is beaten to it. Georgia then clear the corner at the second attempt.

Good possession for Scotland once again as they move the ball from right to left. Fletcher manages to peel away from the marker at the back post, but Robertson is unable to clear the first defender with his cross.

Ananidze delivers the ball into a good area from a free kick, but Scotland continue to defend well as Mulgrew rises highest to head away.

CHANCE! Robertson may have missed the chance to deliver a good cross a few minutes ago, but he produces a fantastic low ball to leave the Georgian defence helpless. Fletcher is just a few inches away from adding the finishing touch on the slide. Superb from Robertson.

Strachan must be delighted with this defensive display so far. Not many wingers work as hard as Anya, who tracks back to clear the ball behind when Scotland are caught short at the back. The visitors clear the corner before Okriashvili misses his teammates with the second ball into the box.

After praising Anya for his defensive skills, he almost gets Scotland into trouble by missing a header. The cross comes into the box but Mulgrew steps in to prevent the ball from falling to Kazaishvili.

The two captains Kankava and Brown, who both love a midfield battle as much as each other, give the teams a chance to have a water break when the Celtic skipper clips his rival's heels off the ball. There could be some revenge later on.

GOAL! GEORGIA 1-0 SCOTLAND (KAZAISHVILI)

The hosts break the deadlock! A chipped ball into the box is superbly headed down by Mchedlidze. Kazaishvili then reacts quickest to control the ball on the volley before firing a low shot past a helpless Marshall. It's an excellent finish from the forward. Scotland will have to do it the hard way tonight.

Scotland are just looking to step up the tempo, but if it was tough to break down Georgia while it was goalless, the task has been much harder. The hosts can afford to just operate on the break.

Georgia break in numbers when Okriashvili races clear on the left but a poor touch prevents him from getting a shot away. A corner follows and Kankava climbs highest to head wide.

Better from Scotland as Fletcher drops deeper to collect before turning to spot the run of Naismith, but Kvirkvelia reacts impressively to make the challenge. Ananidze then picks up a booking for the hosts.

Georgia are finishing the first half strongly and the hosts are beginning to win the midfield battle, which will be a concern for Strachan.

HALF TIME: GEORGIA 1-0 SCOTLAND

More action after the half-time whistle in Tbilisi as Hutton clashes with Navalovski when the full-back throws himself to the ground without being touched. It could become more frustrating for Scotland, who despite starting confidently, trail to the hosts. Can Strachan's side avoid a repeat of that infamous 2007 loss to Georgia?

Scotland may have looked comfortable in possession for much of the game, but there really was only one clear opportunity in the opening 45 minutes. It fell to Kazaishvili, who showed great composure with a fine touch and finish. I mentioned that the first goal could be crucial, and judging by the way this cagey affair has been played out, it could even prove to be a winner.

What does Strachan do at the break? He'll be fully aware that the more risks they take, the more space there will be for Georgia to threaten. A change might not be too far away. The introduction of Darren Fletcher could help them win the midfield battle in the second half, while Leigh Griffiths must surely be an option. He could stretch the Georgian defence with his movement off the ball.

Scotland really must not lose this match tonight. With Germany visiting Hampden Park on Monday, they need to claim something from the two games. Two defeats would give them too much to do in the race for a spot in the top two, while Republic of Ireland could be up to third later tonight.

KICKOFF: No changes at the interval. Georgia get the game back underway.

Nervy start to the second half from Scotland as Morrison gives the ball away cheaply, before Martin sends the ball out of play under no pressure a few moments later.

CHANCE! Georgia work the corner well to create a yard of space for Kazaishvili. The goalscorer's cross is delivered to the front post, but Ananidze doesn't make great contact with the flick on and Marshall makes the save.

Drama in Tbilisi! Naismith wheels away celebrating and he is convinced the ball crosses the line after meeting the corner to put Revishvili under pressure on the line. The whistle goes, but the free kick is given for a foul on the goalkeeper. A replay proves that it was a foul and that the ball certainly did not cross the line.

Fantastic defending from Kvirkvelia. Scotland win the ball in midfield and Naismith quickly turns to release Anya. The winger gets into the box, but Kvirkvelia times a tackle to perfection to win a goal kick.

Warning for Scotland as a deep cross somehow reaches Navalovski, who only lets the visitors off the hook with a poor touch inside the box.

Much better from Scotland as Maloney finally gets involved for the first time in the second half. He loses a couple of Georgians with a clever turn before finding Fletcher with a reverse pass. The Sunderland forward hits the post with his shot, but he was in an offside position.

SUBS: Strachan decides it is time for a couple of changes. James Forrest is off the bench to replace Naismith, while Grant Hanley comes on for Robertson. Mulgrew should move to left-back.

Hutton is a lucky boy. A loss of focus allows Navalovski to get away from him on the wing, but the Scot is given a break when the full-back drifts into an offside position before collecting the ball.

Strachan is shouting orders at anyone who will listen as Scotland desperately look to get back on level terms. Credit to Georgia. They have defended brilliantly since taking the lead. The opening goal was always going to be crucial.

Poor from Okriashvili, who charges into Hutton after the Scottish full-back had moved into a position with very little options. Can the visitors punish him from the free kick?

You would expect better from Maloney, but his delivery is poor and Hanley does well just to his head on the ball at the back post. Revishvili comes off his line to collect.

SAVE! Scotland are almost two behind after Morrison gives the ball away in midfield. Mchedlidze finds the space to lead the break before unleashing a powerful strike from the edge of the box to force Marshall to tip the ball over. Crucial save from the Cardiff shot-stopper!

It just hasn't been Fletcher's night. He does well to hold up the ball and turn into space, but he slices a speculative effort wide from outside the box.

SUB: Okriashvili is the man to depart as Georgia make their first change. Giorgi Merebashvili replaces him.

Scotland enjoy a long spell of possession, but Georgia keep men behind the ball to frustrate the visitors. Mulgrew deliver a low cross from the left and Revishvili collects thanks to a deflection. Scotland still haven't created a clear opportunity.

SUB: The changes keep on coming and it is a surprise this one did not happen earlier. Celtic striker Griffiths is on to replace Anya. Can he make the difference late on?

CLOSE! Morrison was one of the better players in the first half, but he has really struggled since the break. Another poor pass allows Georgia to come forward and Mchedlidze's effort hits the side-netting from a tight angle.

YELLOW CARD! Good work from Forrest, whose clever piece of skill invites the challenge from Navalovski and Scotland have a free kick on the right wing. Booking for the Georgia defender.

Maloney fails to find a teammate, despite sending the free kick into the right area. Georgia clear once again and they continue to look impressive at the back.

Better from Fletcher as he drops deep to get involved before sending the ball out wide. Maloney delays the cross and eventually picks out the striker, who can only send a header wide while stretching back.

SUB: Georgia make another change as Ananidze comes off to be replaced by Murtaz Daushvili. Scotland are running out of time.

It just isn't clicking for Scotland in the final third of the pitch as Revishvili catches a Mulgrew cross under no pressure at all. Georgia then win a corner at the other end to take more time out of the game.

As you would expect, Scotland are seeing plenty of the ball in the closing stages. However, the likes of Maloney and Griffiths are not managing to get on the ball further up the pitch. Georgia's defensive shape is pretty much perfect.

Scotland get a chance when Morrison wins a free kick on the edge of the box. Maloney steps up with an effort that looks to be heading for the top corner, but a deflection takes it over.

Scotland are piling on the pressure but Georgia manage to clear a couple of corners. Four minutes of added time to be played.

Hanley stays up and flicks on a long ball. Griffiths eventually collects in the box, but his effort is blocked from a tight angle. Georgia clear the first corner.

CHANCE! Scotland threaten to claim the point late on. The corner is delivered into a perfect area but Hanley can only head wide under pressure. Mchedlidze then comes off to be replaced by Mate Vatsadze.

Georgia clear another corner and they are just a few seconds away from victory now.

FULL TIME: GEORGIA 1-0 SCOTLAND

It's all over in Tbilisi! Scotland started the night with so much confidence, but their qualification hopes have been dealt a huge blow tonight as Georgia repeat their 2007 heroics with a victory.

Strachan's side now turn their attention Germany as they look to stay alive in the race for qualification. That's all from our live coverage this evening, but keep an eye out for reaction, analysis and player ratings. Goodnight!

ID:244036:cQx
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Ikechi Anya of Scotland runs with the ball during the EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Scotland and Georgia at Ibrox Stadium on October 11, 2014
Read Next:
Team News: Ikechi Anya starts for Scotland
>
Latest Sports Video
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free match previews newsletter! Updates are sent twice a week.