Burley starts with draw
George Burley's tenure as Scotland boss began with a creditable 1-1 draw against classy Croatia.
Last Updated: 26/03/08 10:18pm
George Burley's tenure as Scotland boss began with a creditable 1-1 draw against classy Croatia in their friendly at Hampden Park.
Croatia took the lead on 10 minutes through Portsmouth player Niko Kranjcar who beat Craig Gordon from the edge of the box with a fantastic dipping shot, with the keeper going the wrong way.
But Scotland held on and drew level on 30 minutes through the hard-working Kenny Miller, whose goal came after Robert Kovac missed a through-ball on the left.
Miller latched onto the ball and his shot was deflected by Josip Simunic past keeper Stipe Pletikosa.
In the second period both teams had chances to win, with Gordon making good saves from Kranjcar and Igor Budan.
At the other end, substitute Kris Boyd almost won it for Scotland with a powerful shot from the right from a great Alan Hutton ball but keeper Pletikosa saved to his left.
And Scotland captain Stephen McManus headed just wide from a corner injury time.
Slaven Bilic's men were not off the mark quite as quickly as Italy in the last game at Hampden, but their 10th-minute opener was a blow all the same.
Luka Modric supplied the pass and Gordon appeared to be caught cold in the Scotland goal as Kranjcar rifled high into the middle of the net from 25 yards.
To their credit, Scotland refused to crumble. Miller came off worse in a tussle with Josip Simunic and nodded over from Shaun Maloney's resultant free-kick, before restoring parity with half an hour gone.
The Derby striker raced onto a long ball down the left flank from Steven Fletcher before despatching an angled drive into the back of the net despite the best efforts of Simunic to block the effort.
Kranjcar had another go with a long-range shot in an attempt to restore Croatia's advantage before the interval but, this time, his efforts ended in failure with Gordon up to the task and smothering with ease.
Brown was the first of six names into the referee's book for a foul on Danijel Petric before the end of the first half.
But a more worrying sight was Nico Kovac's crunching tackle on the Celtic midfielder moments later, which also earned the Croatia captain a yellow card.
However, Brown emerged for the second half to the relief of both club and country, with the withdrawal of Steven Fletcher for Gavin Rae the only substitution from Scotland at half-time.
In fact, it was Brown who enjoyed the first real chance after the restart, his low shot whistling narrowly past the post, before a Miller header from Maloney's corner was cleared off the line by Danijel Pranjic.
At the other end, only some fine goalkeeping from Gordon prevented Scotland from falling behind again.
Kranjcar's shot was flicked on by Olic but the Sunderland goalkeeper stood tall to block before Caldwell hooked to safety with Olic loitering for the rebound.
Gordon then came to the rescue again with a brilliant save at the near post to deny substitute Budan who charged in from the left side of the penalty area.
Jay McEveley, Gary Teale, Russell Anderson, Graham Alexander and Kris Boyd all came off the bench before the end for a taste of the action, with the introduction of Boyd prompting the biggest reaction from the crowd who were still hopeful of a winner.
His stray boot did catch the head of the unfortunate Vedran Corluka late on but it was not quite the knockout blow Scotland had in mind.The Rangers striker, who hit a double for his club at Hampden in the recent CIS Insurance Cup final, was then denied by an excellent save from Pletikosa as the game ended all square.
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