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Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 22:04 GMT 23:04 UK

Sport: Football

Brown seeks final flourish

Collins: Penalty could have been struck better but it found the net

Scotland 1-0 Bosnia

Scotland manager Craig Brown will change his side for the final Euro 2000 qualifier on Saturday at Hampden Park after securing a play-off spot from Group Nine.

Caroline Short reports: "Scotland have ensured their place in the draw"
They finished runners-up to the Czech Republic and join another second place team, Slovenia, among the eight play-off teams.

Celtic keeper Jonathan Gould will win his first cap in Saturday's Lithuania game while Everton midfielder Don Hutchison returns after suspension.

The BBC's David Begg: "It was a tense, nervous display"
Brown is likely to be without skipper Colin Hendry, who sustained a knee injury against Bosnia and David Hopkin is suspended after picking up his second yellow card of the campaign.

However, the Scotland boss is hoping Rangers pair Barry Ferguson and Neil McCann can rejoin the squad at their Troon base after injuries forced them to miss the Bosnia match.

[ image: David Hopkins goes down and wins a penalty]
David Hopkins goes down and wins a penalty
In the end it took a controversial penalty from John Collins in the 24th minute to divide the two teams and secure Scotland's passage into the play-off draw next Wednesday.

Collins scored his first goal of the qualifying campaign, slotting home a penalty kick after Hopkin hand been bundled over by Sergei Barbarez.

Referee Lief Sundell, of Sweden, pointed to the spot, even though the challenge was fairly tame and that Kevin Gallacher appeared to be in an offside position.

Bosnia could have equalised six minutes from time when Elvir Baljic's curling shot from the area beat keeper Neil Sullivan, only to rattle the top of the bar.

Brown said: "I thought it was a soft penalty but I never complain when things go against us.

Craig Brown: "Team never settled down"
"When we played the Czech Republic a couple of decisions didn't go our way. However, I didn't make a fuss then.

"I think we had more chances than Bosnia. Sullivan didn't have a save to make until the 63rd minute.

"The game became a bit of a midfield battle and I thought we played with a lot of character and commitment.

Depleted side

"We had a depleted side out there tonight with five players missing. I can't fault the guys because they gave their all.

"But I accept we will have to raise our level of performance in the play-offs if we hope to reach the finals."

Collins missed most of the qualifying campaign because of a toe injury and savoured the moment that clinched a play-off spot.

[ image: John Collin celebrates scoring the penalty]
John Collin celebrates scoring the penalty
"The keeper went the right way but luckily the ball went into the corner," he said.

"I have to admit it was a soft penalty. If it had been given against us, we would have been disappointed.

"It was a good result, one that we wanted, but the players know they will need to play better in the play-offs.

"We should have passed the ball better, certainly in the second half, and shown a bit more confidence.

"I know the crowd were willing us to score a few more goals but Bosnia showed they are no mugs."

The Scots will now enjoy watching England sweat it out over the result of Sweden's weekend clash against Poland.

The Czechs, Sweden, Norway and Spain have so far qualified to join co-hosts Belgium and the Netherlands in next summer's 16-team finals and they will be joined by six more after this weekend's final round of group games.

Scotland: Sullivan, Davidson, Hopkin, Dailly, Hendry, Weir, Collins, Lambert, Burley, Dodds, Gallacher.
Subs: Gould, Calderwood, Ritchie, Cameron, Durrant, McSwegan, Burchill.
Guso, Kapetanovic, Besirevic, Hujdorovoc, Varesanovic, Barbarez, Ihtijarevic, Sabic, Bolic, Mujcin, Baljic.
Subs: Joldic, Avdic, Topic, Cahtarevic, Becirevic.
Referee: A Courtoise (Belgium)

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