Scotland Get Three Goals And Three Points
Updated Saturday, 6th September 2003
Scotland prepare for Germany with a win over the Faroes.
Scotland claimed the necessary three points against the Group Five minnows but typically made heavy weather of seeing off the Faroes. A crowd of 40,901 watched Scotland eventually win the game and will now be looking forward to Germany on Wednesday. It was not until substitute James McFadden scored 16 minutes from time that the three points were secure. Neil McCann and Paul Dickov had scored in the first half but Hampden was stunned earlier in the game when Julian Johnsson scored for the Faroes to equalise McCann's opener. The victory rather than the manner of it was of paramount importance but it came at a price. Striker Steve Crawford will miss Wednesday's game against Germany in Dortmund after picking up a needless second-half booking.
Scotland had an early scare when Lee Wilkie and Andy Webster both hesitated in defence to present Jakob Borg with a chance but Robert Douglas did well to dive to his left and turn the ball away. It was a warning that Scotland could not take anything for granted and the response was swift with McCann opening the scoring in the eighth minute. He was left unmarked at the back post at a Paul Devlin cross and he lashed a left-foot volley past Jakup Mikkelsen.
Scotland had started the game at a frantic pace in a bid to catch the Faroes out and the tactic appeared to work well with Devlin and McCann lively on the flanks and the midfield pressing forward at every opportunity. Dickov saw a shot blocked after more good work by McCann but Mikkelsen was rarely called upon to make a save. But Scotland lost their way and were punished ten minutes from the break when the excellent Johnsson headed in a Borg corner after Douglas had failed to cut the ball out. It was a dreadful error by the Celtic goalkeeper and put the pressure on Scotland and the home side started to show self-doubt. Crawford forced a save from Mikkelsen on the stroke of half-time when he had time to do a lot better. Scotland got off the hook in injury-time in the first half when Crawford but the ball back across goal and Dickov volleyed home at the back post.
Crawford missed a great chance for the third at the start of the second half after Colin Cameron put him through but he shot straight at the goalkeeper. At the other end, a Borg free-kick was just inches away with Douglas well beaten as the Faroes showed they were not going to lie down. Dickov and Cameron both saw shots saved by Mikkelsen at his near-post but Scotland again fell into bad habits as the Faroes looked the more cohesive team for much of the second half. But McFadden eased the strain when he finished off more good work from McCann to get his first Scotland goal in the 74th minute and set up the clash with Germany.
Ger Harley (email@example.com)