Draw adds to Levein's problems
The pressure mounted on Craig Levein after Scotland's World Cup qualifying campaign continued in dismal fashion following a draw with Macedonia.
Last Updated: 11/09/12 10:55pm
The pressure mounted on Craig Levein after Scotland's World Cup qualifying campaign continued in dismal fashion following a 1-1 draw with Macedonia at Hampden Park.
Only two points have been taken from the opening two group games, both in Glasgow, to leave the Scots' hopes of reaching Brazil in 2014 already looking slim.
Manager Levein had claimed there had been an overreaction to the weekend's stalemate with Serbia but his team again failed to deliver against Macedonia.
Scotland even found themselves behind after Nikolce Noveski opened the scoring in the 11th minute, with a hint of offside, before Kenny Miller's equaliser prior to half-time.
But just a point is realistically not enough in a tough Group A, where Belgium, Croatia and Serbia all already have four points, and Scotland were again booed off by what was far from a full house.
Levein made three changes to the side held by Serbia. Jamie Mackie and James Forrest, who both came off the bench on Saturday, were drafted into the starting line-up, along with Shaun Maloney.
Charlie Adam, Steven Naismith and Robert Snodgrass were the players who dropped out of the side following the stalemate at the weekend.
Adam was an injury doubt following the match against Serbia but took his place on the bench, while goalkeeper Allan McGregor played despite struggling with a recurrence of a groin problem.
Scotland were threatening early on when Miller's cut-back found Gary Caldwell and he unleashed a left-footed shot that dipped over the crossbar.
There was a warning from the visitors when Daniel Georgievski teed up the shot for Ivan Trickovski and his deflected effort fizzed just past the upright.
Macedonia took the lead after just 11 minutes in a move which began with a short corner before Georgievski was again the provider, this time for Noveski.
Despite appearing to be in an offside position when the ball was played, the flag stayed down and Noveski stabbed home past McGregor from close range.
Boosted by the early opener, Macedonia went searching for a second goal and Agim Ibraimi drove just wide of target from long distance.
There was concern for Scotland when McGregor appeared to come off worse following a collision with Mirko Ivanovski but he was able to continue after treatment and quickly came to the rescue to deny Ibraimi.
Maloney was then fouled just outside the box by Muhamed Demiri but his subsequent free-kick was comfortably dealt with by goalkeeper Martin Bogatinov.
Scotland hauled themselves level two minutes before the break when Mackie delivered an inviting ball across the face of goal and Miller fired home into the gaping net from close range.
'We want a striker'
Macedonia looked dangerous after the re-start and Christophe Berra had to react quickly to block a Georgievski effort, before Ferhan Hasani rattled the right post with a powerful curving shot.
Levein made his first change with just under an hour on the clock and Miller was withdrawn for Adam to boos from the crowd, who perhaps wanted to see the introduction of Jordan Rhodes instead.
Mackie took over from Miller as the lone forward but chants of 'We want a striker' rang around the stadium as Scotland searched for the goal that might set them on their way to a win.
Rhodes was thrown into the action for James Morrison after 66 minutes and immediately saw his diving header fall agonisingly wide of the post from an Adam cross.
Macedonia provided a timely reminder of the threat they still posed when Ivanovski found himself through on goal but McGregor was up to the task with a superb save.
There was another opportunity for Rhodes but the Blackburn Rovers striker was unable to connect properly at the back post after throwing himself in front of a Forrest cross.
Naismith replaced Mackie as the Scots made a final push for the three points but it was McGregor who was called into action again to smother from Goran Pandev late on.