World Cup qualifier
Clarke wants more respect for Scots after crucial win
Winning feeling: Lyndon Dykes (pic: SNS Group)
Austria 0 Scotland 1
Ernst Happel Stadion
Steve Clarke says his Scotland team deserves more respect after reigniting their World Cup qualifying campaign with an impressive victory over Austria.
A good night in Vienna has set up a blockbuster finish to Group F.
Lyndon Dykes’ first-half penalty, awarded after a review by VAR, was the big storyline as the Scots clawed their back into contention for a play-off spot courtesy of a runner’s-up finish.
The foundation of what was a vital victory was built on defence, the rearguard all playing key roles in snuffing out the Austrian threat.
Such was the performance of the Scotland team that the home side could manage just three shots on target, the first of which Craig Gordon saved comfortably late in the game.
After the despondency which followed the defeat to Denmark, successive 1-0 wins over Moldova and Austria have the Tartan Army dreaming again.
With four games left in the group, Scotland now sit in second place on 11 points behind the Danes, runaway leaders with maximum points from their six matches.
Next up for Clarke’s side is a crunch home game against Israel at Hampden on Saturday, 9 October followed by a trip to the Faroes three days later. November sees Scotland head to Moldova before completing their qualifying campaign at home to Denmark on Monday, 15 November.
It’s all looking much rosier as the Scots bid to finish best of the rest in Group F. Their destiny is very much in their own hands and Clarke feels his players don’t get the credit they deserve.
“It was an important night to get something from the game,” said Clarke. “It was a good footballing performance. We are not a long ball team as people try to label us.
“We deserve a little bit more respect.
“The players want to be successful. They show that every time they come together. We’ve come a long way and I think we can get better. I think we will get better.”
Match-winner Dykes said: “With each game this week we got stronger and stronger – showing the togetherness that we have. We work hard for each other and the defending starts from the front.
“We came here to win and we did that.”
Keeper Gordon added: “We defended the box so well when we had to. The one that came through I managed to keep out.
“From my point of view, it was a quiet evening and I’ve got to give credit to the guys in front of me who were outstanding all night.”
Scotland have had their fair share of tearjerkers since their last World Cup finals in 1998, so here’s hoping this movie has a happy ending.
Scotland: Gordon, Hendry, Hanley, Tierney, O’Donnell (P. McGinn, 78), Gilmour (Ferguson, 88), McGregor, Robertson, McGinn, Adams (Nisbet, 88), Dykes (Christie, 77).
Goals: Scotland – Dykes (pen, 30).