James sparkles as Scots win
Scotland's 3-1 victory shatters Ukraine's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008.
Last Updated: 13/10/07 10:48pm
A fine individual performance from James McFadden secured a 3-1 victory for Scotland and shattered Ukraine's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008.
Early goals from Kenny Miller and Lee McCulloch gave Alex McLeish's a two-goal advantage but Chelsea's Andriy Shevchenko got Ukraine back into the game.
However, with 22 minutes remaining a McFadden strike secured all three points.
It took the Scots just four minutes to break the deadlock and Miller was the man on target. McCulloch then doubled the home side's lead with a wonderful curling effort.
Ukraine were given a lifeline when the Scots failed to deal with a cross and Shevchenko reacted to rifle into the roof of the net.
But when the pressure was really mounting McFadden eased Scotish nerves to seal the victory with a fine left-footed strike.
On three minutes an Andrei Nesmachny challenge on Scott Brown earned the Ukraine defender a yellow card and the home nation a free-kick in a dangerous area.
McFadden whipped a tantalising ball into the box from the right flank and Miller stole in to glance home from inside the six-yard box with just four minutes gone.
Ukraine looked for an instance response through Oleg Gusev, who embarked on a mazy run into the area before unleashing a shot which dipped just over the crossbar and drew gasps of relief from the home crowd.
Relief then turned to delirium as Scotland doubled their advantage in the 10th minute.
Barry Ferguson cleverly disguised a free-kick and hooked the ball into the path of Rangers club-mate McCulloch, who had pulled off to the left edge of the penalty area.
The former Wigan man left goalkeeper Alexander Shovkovsky flapping as he sent a delicious curling right-footed shot into the far top corner.
Shevchenko then followed Nesmachny into the referee's book for hacking down Brown, before pulling a goal back for Ukraine in the 24th minute.
Nesmachny caused havoc by punting into the Scotland box, Andrei Vorobei flicked on to Shevchenko and the Chelsea man gratefully rifled into the roof of the net.
Scotland could have restored their two-goal lead 10 minutes before the break had Dutch referee Pieter Vink pointed to the penalty spot.
Alan Hutton appeared to be tripped by Vorobei in almost exactly the same spot where Saulius Mikoliunas earned his now infamous penalty for Lithuania but there was to be no award this time.
There were then another two penalty claims - one for each side - before half-time. Shevchenko went to ground under pressure from Gary Naysmith, before McFadden looked to be tripped by Anatoliy Tymoschuk.
Neither plea appeared to be as genuine as Hutton's but McCulloch's complaints earned him a costly booking which rules him out of Wednesday's qualifier in Georgia. Ferguson also went into the book.
Pressure and relief
Ukraine attempted to crank up the pressure on their hosts in the second half and Andrei Voronin could have restored parity with a vicious 25-yard volley which fizzed inches wide of target just a few minutes after the restart.
But it was McFadden who once again sealed a memorable win for the Scots.
Hutton was the provider with a cross from the right to the feet of the Everton striker who lashed home from just inside the area with 22 minutes remaining.
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|5||Shots on Target||4|
|2||Shots off Target||11|