World Cup qualifier
Late, late show puts Scots on brink of play-off spot
Hero: Lyndon Dykes (pic: SNS Group)
Faroe Islands 0 Scotland 1
Scotland breathed a sigh of relief after leaving it late for the second game in a row to snatch a vital victory over the Faroes.
After the euphoria of the injury-time win against Israel at Hampden on Saturday, the Scots needed an 86th-minute goal from Lyndon Dykes to save their embarrassment and keep their World Cup qualifying bid on track.
Steve Clarke’s side struggled throughout the qualifier to reach anything like the second-half performance at the weekend and almost paid the penalty.
However, the intervention from Dykes, who got the final touch from an attempted defensive clearance, means that a win over Moldova next month will guarantee Scotland second place in the group and a World Cup play-off spot.
It needed a lengthy VAR check to confirm the goal would stand, the striker’s fourth consecutive effort for his country seeing him become the first Scotland star since Colin Stein in 1969 to achieve that feat.
“It wasn’t our best game but we got there in the end and I’m happy to get the goal,” said the QPR front man.
“I was confident it was a goal, it hit my shoulder but VAR has been quite good to me recently. We knew it was going to be tough coming here, they were very well organised.”
Should the Scots secure the three points they need against Moldova, the turgid performance in Tórshavn will be forgotten.
The visitors were fortunate to be on level terms at the break, Craig Gordon producing a fine stop to keep out Jonsson’s shot before Nattestad headed over from a good position.
The expected big improvement in the second half didn’t materialise, Scotland enjoying more possession as the well-drilled Faroes tired without creating much in front of goal.
Billy Gilmour came close on a couple of occasions, while John McGinn should have done better with a close-range header.
Just when it looked like red faces all round, Dykes’ popped up with the all-important winner, which had more than a slice of good fortune about it. Not that anyone in the Scots camp was bothered.
“The less said about the performance the better,” said skipper Andy Robertson. “We had to dig deep, we didn’t play well at all, but six points at the start of this week was crucial and what we set out to achieve. We have to keep that in mind.”
With Israel winning 2-1 at home to Moldova, the win keeps Scotland four points ahead in second place. Denmark qualified for Qatar after defeating Austria 1-0 to maintain their 100 per cent record in the group.
Scotland: Gordon, Hendry (McGregor, 68), Hanley, Tierney, Fraser (Patterson, 83), McTominay, Gilmour (Cooper, 89), Robertson, McGinn, Christie (Nisbet, 83), Dykes.
Goal: Scotland – Dykes (86).