B Djimsiti (47 og),S Naismith (68)
Scotland vs Albania
Nations League Grp C1
7:45pm Monday 10th September
HIGHLIGHTS: SCOTLAND 2-0 ALBANIA
SCOTLAND 2-0 ALBANIA
It’s all over at Hampden Park! Scotland kick off their
Nations League campaign with an assured victory over Albania. Steven Naismith
proved the match winner as he forced Djimsiti to
put through his own net before securing the victory with his side’s second.
Just what the doctor ordered as far as Alex McLeish’s side are concerned as
they move level with Albania at the top of Group C1.
90+1: SUB! Third and final change for Albania as Mihaj replaces Veseli.
90: There will be THREE minutes of added time.
89: SHOT! McTominay jinks his way into the Albania area and the ball fall for O'Donnell, who fires a tame, tired effort straight into the clutches of Strakosha.
86: Scotland deservedly take their foot off the gas as Albania see plenty of the ball in the closing stages. The hosts have every right too after an impressive performance.
81: Leigh Griffiths takes the resulting free-kick but his effort clips the top of the Albania wall, taking the sting out of it before it reaches Strakosha.
DAVIE PROVAN ON THE GANTRY
"You should get six months in jail for that challenge. It's a shocker!"
80: YELLOW! McTominay involved immediately as he drives towards the Albania area and draws a cynical challeng from Prenga, who receives a yellow card for his troubles.
79: SUB! Third and final change for Scotland as the impressive Callum McGregor makes way for Scott McTominay.
WATCH: NO DENYING NAISMITH
This goal definitely belongs to Steven Naismith as he puts clear daylight between Scotland and Albania...
70: SUB! Second change for Scotland as Leigh Griffiths replaces Johnny Russell.
69: CHANCE! Scotland so close to a third as a flowing attack finds McGregor in space at the back post, but his low drive strikes the feet of Strakosha on its way behind for a corner.
GOAL! SCOTLAND 2-0 ALBANIA (Naismith, 68)
Scotland get that all important second goal - and no one will take this one away from Steven Naismith. Serious questions have to be asked of Albania goalkeeper Strakosha, who comes and doesn't get anywhere near a corner. It deflects out to Naismith at the back post, and he simply heads the ball into the unguarded net. Breathing space, at last, for Scotland.
SCOTLAND 1-0 ALBANIA
65: CHANCE! Heart-in-mouth moment for Scotland as another Albania chance goes begging. Ndoj whips a fine delivery in from the left which falls perfectly for Balaj, but he blazes a shot over from 10 yards.
65: SUB! Second change for Albania as Manaj replaces Ndoj.
64: YELLOW! Ndoj flies into a challenge on McGinn in midfield, gets none of the ball and all of the man and picks up Albania's first booking of the game.
63: Naismith gets away from his marker down the right and drills a flat cross into the area but, with no one in support, the ball flashes across goal before going out for a throw.
60: CHANCE! Scotland so nearly get that second goal as McGregor shrugs off a defender and embarks on a 20-yard run that ends in the Albania area. He fires a left-footed shot towards goal but his effort is blocked before it reaches the target.
want that second goal. There’s no such things as bad lead but at 1-0 they are
in a precarious position.”
WATCH: NAISMITH NODS HOME
Or does he? UEFA have it down as an own goal from Berat Djimsiti but Steven Naismith will think otherwise. Hit the video and decide for yourself.
50: SAVE! Scotland's lead comes under threat immediately as Balaj draws McGregor in action. The winger is played through on goal and just has the 'keeper to beat but the Scotland No. 1, who has not had much to do this evening, sticks a leg out to rescue his side.
GOAL! SCOTLAND 1-0 ALBANIA (Djimsiti OG, 47)
Scotland make the breakthrough and it's no more than they deserve. Robertson's deep ball to the back post finds Steven Naismith in space. There's a hint of offside but he's given the benefit of the doubt as he heads the ball on target. It takes a deflection off Djimsiti on its way into the back of the net, not that Scotland will care. I wouldn't be surprised if that went down as a own goal.
SCOTLAND 0-0 ALBANIA
KICK-OFF! Both sides are back on the pitch and Albania get the second half underway!
HALF-TIME SUBS! A change apiece for both sides at the break. For Scotland, Stuart Armstrong replaces Kevin McDonald while Enis Gravazaj makes way for Herdi Prenga in the Albanian midfield.
‘ONLY A MATTER OF
It may have been a frustrating half as far as Scotland
are concerned but Darren Fletcher is
confident goals will come.
“It’s only a matter of time before Scotland score, given
the chances they’ve created. Albania are all over the place, Scotland are
making chances out of nothing. If they keep the tempo and keep putting them
under pressure it will come. They just need a little bit of quality with that final pass."
The half-time whistle sounds on an encouraging yet frustrating start to the Nations League for Scotland. It’s been a nearly, but not quite, night for Alex McLeish's men, who have stressed the issue throughout but, as has been the case for some time now, goals continue to evade them. On another day Steven Naismith would have capped an improved Scotland performance with two goals but, somehow, both sides enter the break on level terms.
43: SHOT! Albania almost compound Scotland's misery as Memushaj pounces on a loose McGinn pass and drives towards goal. Thankfully for the hosts, he drags a shot wide at the near post.
41: NO GOAL! Scotland have the ball in the back of the net but it's been ruled out for offside! Robertson darts down the left and plays a fine ball inside to McGregor. He fires a low ball into the six-yard box where Naismith is on hand to poke home, but its been chalked off.
It's proving to be one of those night for Scotland.
39: Scotland win their fifth corner of the game which McGinn pulls back for Tierney on the edge of the area, but he scuffs a shot straight into a defender and Albania quickly counter.
WATCH: NAISMITH'S MISS
It's the closest either side have come to breaking the deadlock at Hampden Park, and a moment Steven Naismith will not look back on fondly...
36: Another decent Scotland chances goes begging as Russell drives towards the area and the ball runs into the path McDonald. He has a clear sight of the Albania goal but he leans back and fires over from 20 yards.
32: A hopeful
ball into the box finds Balaj in the Scotland area but the big striker's heavy
touch, and the wet conditions, let the hosts off the hook as the ball skids
behind for a goal kick.
29: Scotland quickly retain possession as Tierney darts down the left and whips a wicked ball into the box which deflects behind for a corner before Naismith can convert.
28: Russell drives towards the Albania area but he dithers on the ball instead of playing in team-mates in space to his left and right.
24: WHAT A MISS! How on earth are Scotland not in front? McGinn whips a free-kick into the area, Mulgrew knocks it into the path of Naismith at the back post and the Hearts striker simply has to score from three yards. But no, his header cannons off the post, deflects off him and trickles across the goal line. Incredible!
22: CHANCE! First chance of note for Albania. Xhaka and Gavazaj play a nice one-two on the edge of the Scotland area before laying the ball into the path of Lilaj, but he curls an effort over the bar.
18: YELLOW! Kevin McDonald sees yellow for a challenge in midfield on Lilaj. It looks a harsh decision, with the Fulham man sliding in and making clear contact with the ball. That's two bookings in quick succession for Scotland.
17: CHANCE! Huge chance for Scotland to take the lead but Russell swipes at thin air while trying to convert O'Donnell's great low ball into the six-yard box.
NO PENALTY! A scramble in the penalty box ensues as Naismith's attempted follow-up is blocked by an Albanian defender. There are strong appeals for a penalty, mainly from the crowd, but the referee is unmoved.
16: YELLOW! Souttar picks up the first booking of the game for recklessly flying into the back of Ndoj while trying to win the ball in the air. He protests but there was a lot of force in his challenge.
15: Albania come forward in attack for the first time. THey exploit he space left in behind the advanced Robertson, but Lilaj's cross drifts into the arms of McGregor.
13: McGregor switches play out to Robertson on the left. The Liverpool full-back gets past Hysaj with ease but his floated ball to the back post sails behind before it reaches it target.
10: Veseli has a handful of Naismith's shirt as the forward tries to spin away from him. The Hearts forward is sent tumbling to the turf, handing Scotland another free-kick.
Mulgrew gets the free-kick up and over the Albania wall, his effort is spilled by Strakosha but the 'keeper gathers before Naismith can convert the rebound.
7: This is proving to be a solid start from Scotland, who keep the pressure on the Albania defence with another purposeful attack. McGregor shows great close control to weave his way into the area, but his route to goal is blocked.
5: CHANCE! McGinn's corner causes all sorts of problems in the Albanian defence as a poor defensive header falls for Souttar in the six-yard box, but he's unable to find the target while under pressure.
4: SAVE! McGregor pulls rank at the free-kick, firing a great effort towards the top corner which Strakosha tips behind for a corner.
3: Russell darts down the right channel towards the Albania area where sent crashing to ground by Binaku. Free-kick to Scotland, right on the edge of the box. McGinn and McGregor standing over the ball...
1: Albania see plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges but it's deep in their half, with Scotland implementing a high press in a bid to force an error in wet conditions.
KICK-OFF! The referee blows his whistle for the first time and Scotland get the game underway!
The Albanian national anthem is followed by a bagpipe-led rendition of 'Flower of Scotland' - if that doesn't stir the Scottish players then I'm not sure what will. The stage is set, will it be a night to remember for Scottish football and Alex McLeish's second tenure in charge of his country? Stay tuned!
THE PLAYERS EMERGE
Andrew Robertson and Elseid Hysaj lead Scotland and Albania out of the tunnel and onto the pitch at a rain-soaked Hampden Park. Can Scotland draw a line under their defeat to Belgium and kick their Nations League campaign off with a bang? We're just moments away from finding out, with kick-off just around the corner!
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