Scotland stuttered to their first victory in Group Five but this was no display to suggest Walter Smith's side can somehow revive their World Cup qualifying hopes. It was a scoreline that flattered the home side with Christian Dailly netting early in the second half and fellow substitute James McFadden sealing the victory three minutes from time. It was cruel luck on a Moldovan side that dominated for long spells in the second half in what was a tired Scotland display.
McFadden seals the win
The Scots made seven changes from the team that drew in Moldova in Berti Vogts' last match in charge but it hardly made a difference. The side lacked urgency throughout and failed to inspire against a team ranked 115 in the world. If anything, the Moldovans were more comfortable in possession and goalkeeper Eugen Hmaruc did not have a serious shot to save in the first half. Kenny Miller and Lee McCulloch showed precious little up front and it was not until first-half stoppage time that Scotland even won a corner kick.
Miller had an early opportunity but his shot did not trouble Hmaruc and then Darren Fletcher was just a yard too high with another effort. But Moldova posed a threat themselves and Vadim Borets managed to get a header in but Craig Gordon was well positioned to save. Scotland were forced to make a change when Jackie McNamara went off with a back problem after 25 minutes with Dailly taking his place. McCulloch tried his luck from 30 yards but the effort slid wide but the Moldovans were hardly over-worked at the back. Paul Hartley almost took advantage of slack defensive play in the closing stages of the first half but Hmaruc was alert to the danger.
Scotland started the second half in a positive fashion and Miller headed narrowly wide. The breakthrough finally came after 52 minutes when Hmaruc failed to deal with a McCulloch cross and Dailly was on hand to score from close-in to ease the strain on the fans. But Moldova hit back and Gordon reacted well to push a Sergei Rogaciov volley away for a corner. Hartley was lucky not to be handed a red card for a wild challenge but the booking will count him out of Scotland's midweek trip to Belarus. Moldova took full control in the final half-hour as Scotland were on the ropes but McFadden clinched victory after exchanging passes with Miller three minutes from time.
Scotland: Gordon, Weir, Pressley, Webster, Alexander, Fletcher, Ferguson, Hartley, McNamara, Kenny Miller, McCulloch
Subs: Esson, Steven Caldwell, Dailly, Lee Miller, Riordan, McFadden, Thompson
Moldova: Hmaruc, Savinov, Olexici, Catinsus, Lascencov, Epureanu, Priganiuc, Ivanov, Boret, Dadu, Rogachev
Subs: Romanenco, Covalenco, Barisev, Covalciuc, Frunza, Cebotari
Referee: Eric Braamhaar (Netherlands)