Steve Clarke’s Scotland started their EURO2024 qualifying journey with three points, as they picked up a 3-0 win over Cyprus on the weekend. Tuesday’s opponents were set to face a slightly harder challenge for the Scots though, as Spain travelled to Hampden Park.
SCO: Gunn; Tierney, Hanley, Porteous; Robertson, McGregor, McTominay, Hickey; Christie, Dykes, McGinn
SPA: Kepa; Gaya, I. Martinez, D. Garcia, Porro; Ceballos, Rodri, Merino; Oyarzabal, Joselu, Yeremy
Scotland took a surprise early lead against their Spanish visitors in the seventh minute, as a defensive effort from Pedro Porro allowed Andrew Robertson to whip a ball back towards Scott McTominay, who powered home from inside the penalty area to mark his third international goal in four days!
They could have doubled their advantage ten minutes later as Ryan Christie worked his way through the Spanish midfield, before unleashing a shot on goal – his effort curled just wide of the far post though, with Kepa Arrizabalaga relieved as the linesman signalled for a goal kick.
Despite a rather dire opening twenty minutes or so, Luis de la Fuente’s side did eventually kick it up a gear – with whipped crosses towards Joselu looking dangerous. The striker’s first effort was saved well by Angus Gunn, and his second rifled off the crossbar – much to the relief of the Scottish ‘keeper. Manchester City’s Rodri wanted in on the action too, though his header settled on the roof of the net.
Lyndon Dykes should have sent his side 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time, but the striker’s shot looped over the crossbar after he found himself one-on-one with Kepa. Regardless, Scotland carried a surprise – but well-deserved – lead into the interval.
Scotland’s second came six minutes after play resumed, and the goalscorer was none other than Scott McTominay who sent a spectacular volley crashing into the back of the net to bag his second brace in less than a week! That’s not a bad return from the Manchester United midfielder, who’s not necessarily known for his goalscoring exploits.
Spain failed to really threaten the hosts for the remainder of the half, with Iago Aspas coming closest to reducing Scotland’s lead – but his effort was placed well over the bar as he wasted a brilliant chance. Steve Clarke’s side couldn’t have dreamed of a better start to their qualifying campaign though, picking up all six available points. The Tartan Army have a tough group that also features Erling Haaland’s Norway, but they’ll be confident that they can earn themselves a place in Germany next summer.