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Czech Republic vs Scotland. UEFA Nations League Group B2.

Andruv Stadion.

Czech Republic 1

  • J Pesek (11th minute)

Scotland 2

  • L Dykes (27th minute)
  • R Christie (52nd minute pen)

Czech Republic 1-2 Scotland: Steve Clarke's side go top of Nations League group

Goals from Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie hand Scots hard-fought victory against side that included nine debutants

preview image 3:44
Highlights of the UEFA Nations League B2 game between Czech Republic and Scotland

Scotland moved to the top of their Nations League group after beating a makeshift Czech Republic side 2-1 at the Andruv Stadium in Olomouc.

Playing against a Czech side that included nine debutants after a Covid-19 crisis in the build-up to the game, Scotland were behind after just 11 minutes when Jiri Pesek produced a cool finish to beat David Marshall.

However, Steve Clarke's side fought back before the break through Lyndon Dykes' first international goal (27) and the comeback was complete seven minutes into the second half as Ryan Christie scored from the spot after Andrew Robertson was brought down in the penalty area.

Ryan Christie scores from the penalty spot for Scotland against Czech Republic
Image: Ryan Christie scores from the penalty spot for Scotland against Czech Republic

The hosts had chances late on as Marshall denied Pesek a second before Stanislav Tecl, one of only two players already capped in the Czech Republic line-up, shot wide with the goal at his mercy

Substitute Antonin Rusek then saw a last-gasp header graze the post as Scotland held on for a much-needed boost ahead of their Euro 2020 play-off against Israel on October 8.

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How Scotland edged past Czech Republic

Scotland's Ryan Christie (left) and Czech Republic's Jaroslav Zeleny battle for the ball
Image: Scotland's Ryan Christie (left) and Czech Republic's Jaroslav Zeleny battle for the ball

This match had been shrouded in controversy since Friday when the Czech Republic had declared the fixture to be off after two players had to self-isolate following contact with a backroom staff member who had tested positive for coronavirus.

UEFA, however, insisted it go ahead with a new set of players and management, and it was one of the international new boys who gave the hosts a shock lead 11 minutes in as Pesek ghosted in behind Scott McTominay to control Tecl's through ball and finish past the onrushing Marshall.

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Player ratings

Czech Republic: Mandous (6), Holes (6), Hubnik (7), Jemelka (7), Zeleny (6), Janos (6), Havlik (7), Malinsky (7), Budinsky (7), Pesek (8), Tecl (7).

Subs: Breite (6), Potocny (6), Rusek (n/a)

Sctoland: Marshall (8), Robertson (7), McKenna (7), Cooper (6), Palmer (7), McTominay (6), Fleck (6), McLean (7), Dykes (7), Christie (7), Armstrong (6).

Subs: Paterson (6). McGinn (6), McGregor (n/a).

Man of the match: David Marshall

It was exactly the start Clarke did not want and shortly afterwards, Marshall tipped away a long-range drive from Pesek.

Scotland slowly worked their way back into the game and in the 27th minute Liam Palmer took a cross-field pass from skipper Robertson and his cross was put into the roof of the net by Dykes from close range.

Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring for Scotland vs Czech Republic
Image: Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring for Scotland vs Czech Republic

The visitors completed the turnaround in the 52nd minute when Tomas Malinsky fouled Robertson and Christie steered the spot-kick past the diving Ales Mandous, who guessed the right way.

However, Scotland could not shake off the spirited Czech side.

Marshall made another excellent save to deny Pesek and Tecl, with the goal gaping, stumbled and fired the rebound wide.

Team news

  • Czech Republic: Roman Hubnik, 36, came out of international retirement and only he and striker Stanislav Tecl had previously been capped in a squad chosen by stand-in boss David Holoubek, who took over from Jaroslav Silhavy.
  • Scotland: As expected, Clarke made changes from Friday's 1-1 home draw against Israel. In came Liam Palmer, Liam Cooper, Kenny McLean, John Fleck and Stuart Armstrong, at the expense of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest, Callum McGregor, Ryan Jack and John McGinn.

Callum Paterson then missed a chance on the break, but it did not prove costly.

In the final minute of normal time, Rusek hit the post with a header as Scotland, who extended their unbeaten run to five games, escaped with victory.

What the manager said

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Scotland head coach Steve Clarke described the 2-1 win over the Czech Republic as 'a hiding to nothing' after the hosts were forced in to making nine changes to their coronavirus hit squad in the UEFA Nations League

Scotland boss Steve Clarke: "The first thing you start with is the Czech Republic. I've got to pay the coach and the players a big compliment. It would have been a fairy-tale night for them - for us, we were always on a hiding to nothing. Everyone told us before the start of the game we had to win the game, so we won the game, we take the three points and go home.

"To concede the first goal is not ideal, it gives life to the opposition. After that we reacted well, scored a fantastic goal, pleased to see Lyndon get on the scoresheet.

"The second half, we got our noses in front, again a good switch of play, we got Andy in the box, it was a penalty and Ryan did what he did so both strikers scored which is good.

"You have to look at last 15 minutes of the game in a different context. We were under the cosh, they can throw bodies forward, they have nothing to lose.

"We lacked a little bit of quality to get the third on the counter-attack which would have taken the sting out of the situation. But the way we defended, getting the blocks in and bodies on the line, shows a big commitment from the lads to their country. They knew they had to get a result for their country, and they did everything to get it."

Robertson: Scotland on hiding to nothing

Andrew Robertson: "It was far from ideal for them, but it wasn't ideal for us. Friday, we came out of the [Israel] game thinking it's cancelled and then Saturday it was uncertain and on Sunday we had to focus on the game.

"It was not ideal, but we dealt with it, dealt with the cards we were given, but we've got the three points and we are top of the group.

"We were on a hiding to nothing. People would have found negatives in whatever we had done tonight but I am not really bothered. That's five unbeaten so let's take some positives."

Dykes delighted with first Scotland goal

Lyndon Dykes: "It was really good. It is obviously good for a striker to get off the mark. It was good to contribute to a 2-1 win but in the end, it was good to get that victory for the boys and three points and get back to Scotland.

"It was a tough game, it was hard conditions with what happened before the game but in the end we got three points and you couldn't ask for anything more.

"It's obviously given me confidence. Now I'm at QPR, the season starts the week coming so I'm going to go into the season with confidence.

"I've really enjoyed my time, this is my first international with Scotland and I've enjoyed every minute. The boys are great, the manager's great and hopefully there's many more to come."

Opta stats - Back-to-back away wins for Scotland

  • For the first time since May 2000 against Republic or Ireland (2-1), Scotland have won an away game in which they've conceded the first goal.
  • Steve Clarke is the first manager to lead Scotland to consecutive away victories since Gordon Strachan in March 2016.
  • Scotland have won consecutive games against Czech Republic for the first time since their first two meetings back in 1937 (inc. games vs Czechoslovakia).
  • Lyndon Dykes' first goal for Scotland came with his first shot for his country (2nd appearance).
  • Ryan Christie has been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight starts for Scotland (3 goals & 5 assists).

What's next?

Scotland host Israel in a Euro 2020 play-off (7.45pm) on October 8, while Czech Republic take on Cyprus in an international friendly on October 6 (kick-off tbc).

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