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Page last updated at 23:36 GMT, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 00:36 UK

What a difference a goal makes as Scots scrape victory

Stephen McManus and Craig Levein
McManus's late goal was a great relief for Scotland boss Levein

Scotland recorded a first win in Euro 2012 qualifying Group I - but only just.

Stephen McManus's injury-time header ensured a 2-1 victory over Liechtenstein and, while national coach Craig Levein was keen to highlight positives after the match, the performance left much to be desired.

Here, BBC Scotland pundits Murdo MacLeod, Gordon Smith and Billy Dodds give their analysis of the match at Hampden Park on a night when the Scots' group rivals Lithuania beat Czech Republic in Olomouc.

Murdo MacLeod
By Murdo MacLeod
20 caps for Scotland

I was standing going into the 97th minute gutted, thinking "this is a disgrace".

But now we've got all three points and that's what matters. We're still there.

There were so many poor things throughout that 97 minutes and, if it had finished 1-1, every newspaper would have been having a real go at everyone.

This has turned out to be our best night of the campaign, the Czech Republic losing tonight and us winning. The whole thing's changed.

The fans stayed right until the 98th minute. Every one of them stayed in the ground, which was a fantastic support

Murdo MacLeod

That goal from Stephen McManus could just be the springboard for Scotland to do better.

But how do you assess tonight? A fantastic three points. If we had won 6-0, we would have got three points.

We're all disappointed with the performance. When you start looking at the side, what happened to them?

Where was the energy from Scott Brown? Alan Hutton hardly got by the defender the whole night. Darren Fletcher over-kicked every single ball.

The fans stayed right until the 98th minute. Every one of them stayed in the ground, which was a fantastic support.

If it finished 1-1, we were at a low ebb. But we got all three points.

Yesterday, I would never have accepted a 2-1 victory. I'm delighted just now.

Gordon Smith
By Gordon Smith
Former Scottish Football Association chief executive

I had the confidence to think that we were going to get a winning goal because the pressure was on, we were getting much further forward.

We should have had more goals. There were other chances in that last five or 10 minutes.

Liechtenstein decided to sit in at the end of the game and just try to hold what they had.

The equalising goal was a cracking goal - that turned it around for us.

Performance is secondary in competition, it's about results. A 1-1 draw would have been a poor result, but we've now had four points from the two games.

Referee Victor Shvetsov
Liechtenstein were unhappy with the amount of injury time added on

A draw for us in Lithuania and Lithuania have won away from home tonight and won against the Czech Republic, who we would see as our main rivals if we're going to go for second place in this group.

It's incredible what's happened over the last three or four days, but the main thing was that we got the win.

There is no better time to score than about eight minutes into injury time. They're complaining about that. The captain of Liechtenstein, Mario Frick, ran on at the very end to the referee to complain that the match went beyond the recommended five minutes of injury time.

But they were wasting time, they deserved that. They were trying to slow the game down. They deserved to have that extra time added on. The referee's got it at his own discretion to add that on even after the board's gone up to show that it was to be five minutes added on.

We do know that that was not a good performance. We cannot say one really credible thing about it other than that the players gave a lot of effort when they went a goal down.

Billy Dodds
By Billy Dodds
26 caps for Scotland

I've seen a lot, but that took the biscuit. It is one of the greatest let-offs in the history of Scottish football.

We didn't do the right things in this match for long periods.

But it's turned out to be a blessing for us. We've got four points, the Czech Republic have lost at home, there's still a lot of work to do.

Maybe luck's just going our way for a change, but we must do better.

It is one of the greatest let-offs in the history of Scottish football

Bill Dodds

Craig Levein made decisions to win the game because the team wasn't doing well. He brought on Barry Robson who, for me, changed it.

James Morrison did well when he came on. He threw Stephen McManus up front and he scored the goal.

So you can't criticise his decisions - what you can criticise is the performance of the team. We didn't play well. I don't think our defence handled their striker at all well. I think they gave them too much room.

I don't think the midfield got pushed up far enough, I don't think we had enough width, I don't think we created enough chances.

We've won, we've been lucky. The Czech Republic have lost. We're in pole position to get probably the play-off position.

But, I'll stress it, we must do better.

Murdo MacLeod, Gordon Smith and Billy Dodds were speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme.



see also
Levein stresses Scots' positives
07 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Stoppage time is queried by Zaugg
08 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Scotland 2-1 Liechtenstein
07 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Scotland v Liechtenstein as it happened
07 Sep 10 |  Scotland
International football photos
07 Sep 10 |  Football


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