Slovenia 0 Scotland 3
Updated Wednesday, 12th October 2005
A good win with three good goals but ultimately the result counts for nought as the early Group results were just not good enough.
Scotland ended their World Cup campaign with a good but ultimately hollow win in Celje which at least meant they finished their World Cup campaign on a high. Goals early in each half from Darren Fletcher and James McFadden and a late third from Paul Hartley secured all three points and gave Scotland their best away win for 12 years. The win was not totally meaningless as it will improve Scotland's seeding for the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign although it hardly made up for the crippling defeat by Belarus. Fletcher gave Scotland the perfect start with a goal after just four minutes. Graham Alexander fed the Manchester United midfield player and he set himself up with his first touch before cracking a 25-yard high into the net. The goal gave Scotland a huge lift and they kept the ball well in the first half to frustrate the Slovenians. Craig Gordon was not troubled too much although he had to be alert to rush out of his area to clear after a poor passback from Steven Pressley. Aleksander Knavs had the first serious threat on a goal with a near-post header which was just a foot wide of Gordon's left-hand post. McFadden should have extended Scotland's lead seven minutes from the break when he was sent clear by Kenny Miller, but he sliced his shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. The closest Slovenia came to a goal in the first half was a 30-yard strike from Milenko Acimovic after a short free-kick which Gordon did well to tip over the top.
Scotland made a double substitution at half-time with Hibs pair Garry O'Connor and Gary Caldwell replacing Miller and Pressley respectively. The changes hardly had time to settle before Scotland extended their lead with a magnificent goal from McFadden. Fletcher patiently picked out his team-mate and the Everton player had time to bring the ball down loft a left-foot shot over Samir Handanovic. Slovenia hit back and Acimovic beat Gordon with a brilliant left-foot shot only to see the ball come back off the underside of the crossbar and bounce to safety. Bostjan Cesar then had an unbelievable miss midway through the half when a corner from Nastja Ceh found him unmarked just three yards from goal, but he did not make proper contact and the ball flew off his boot and wide of the post. Scotland had their backs to the wall in the final quarter of the match as the Slovenians sought to get something from the game. Ceh curled a free-kick narrowly wide with his left foot as Scotland had another let-off. Gordon then saved well low to his right from the ever-dangerous Acimovic, but Scotland had the final say as Fletcher set up Hartley with six minutes left and he chipped the ball over Handanovic.
Solvenia: Handanovic, Cesar, Knavs, Mavric, Ceh, Komac, Koren, Zlogar, Acimovic, Cimirotic, Rodic
Subs: Nemec, Filekovic, Ilic, Pecnik, Pokorn, Siljak, Stevanovic