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Page last updated at 20:14 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 21:14 UK

Czech Republic 1-0 Scotland

Highlights - Czech Republic 1-0 Scotland

Highlights - Czech Republic 1-0 Scotland

By Clive Lindsay

Scotland suffered a narrow defeat as Craig Levein's controversial defensive formation failed to produce a result against the Czech Republic in Prague.

Levein gambled on playing without a striker as he went all out not to lose the Euro 2012 Group I qualifier.

Tomas Rosicky squandered the best chance for the Czechs during a first-half they totally dominated.

Allan McGregor's superb save denied Jan Polak after the break, but Roman Hubnik headed the winner after 69 minutes.

Spain take over from the Scots at the top of the table following their 3-1 win over Lithuania, with the Czechs now a point behind Levein's side, who have played one extra game.

Marek Suchy tackled Jamie Mackie
Mackie (yellow) earned his first cap for Scotland in Prague

In-form Rangers striker Kenny Miller, who was due to earn his 50th cap, had been dropped to the bench despite having scored in Scotland's last qualifier, a 2-1 win over Liechtenstein.

He made way for an unusual 4-6-0 formation adopted by Levein in the belief that he could catch the Czechs on the break.

It meant a debut for Jamie Mackie, the English-born Queens Park Rangers forward being used in a wide role along with Steven Naismith.

There were few chances for either of them to attack in the first half an hour as the Czechs probed against a Scotland side that were seeing little of the ball.

Yet the home side were being restricted to some long-range efforts and a Tomas Necid drive from the edge of the penalty box was straight at McGregor, although the goalkeeper had to take two attempts to save.

Arsenal midfielder Rosicky squandered the first clear-cut chance when he did superbly to break clear behind the Scots defence, but his attempt to curl the ball home with the outside of his boot flew wide from 12 yards.

Levein defends Scotland system

Lukas Magera beat the Scottish offside trap but failed to capitalise and the Scots started to create a couple of half chances of their own.

Marek Suchy's attempt to clear a low Alan Hutton cross was only prevented from entering the Czech net by the unsuspecting face of goalkeeper Petr Cech.

However, the Czechs were soon back in command and coming closer to a breakthrough, with McGregor gathering on the line after a combination of Hubnik and Gary Caldwell diverted a cross into the six-yard box towards goal.

Necid had a 10-yard shot blocked by some desperate defending as Scotland ensured the first half drew to a close without the scoreboard ticking over.

The pattern continued after the break and Michal Kadlec soon forced McGregor to turn his 12-yard header from a Rosicky corner over the crossbar.

Naismith regrets set-piece goal

Dorrans half-volleyed the ball into the roof of the Czech net from 10 yards from a cushioned Naismith header, but the effort was correctly ruled out for offside.

Rosicky was the man making the Czechs tick and, when his cross found the head of Polak 15 yards out, McGregor stretched himself superbly to claw the ball off the goal-line and turn it round for a corner.

However, the pressure eventually told when Rosicky's header was flicked on by substitute Roman Bednar and Hubnik diverted it past McGregor from four yards.

Bednar sent a low drive a foot wide from 14 yards as the Czechs looked to extend their lead.

Levein brought on Miller and Chris Iwelumo for Mackie and Caldwell as the Scotland coach had to abandon his defensive formation for a more adventurous 4-4-2.

The Scots had more territory in the remaining minutes but were now under threat on the break as the Czechs secured their first win of the campaign and inflicted a first defeat on the visitors.


Czech Republic: Cech, Suchy, Michal Kadlec, Hubnik, Hubschman, Pospech, Plasil (Rajnoch 90), Polak, Rosicky, Magera (Bednar 59), Necid (Holek 84).
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Pudil, Vaclav Kadlec, Stajner.

Booked: Necid, Hubschman.

Goals: Hubnik 69.

Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Whittaker, McManus, Weir, Caldwell (Miller 76), Darren Fletcher, Morrison (Robson 84), Dorrans, Mackie (Iwelumo 76), Naismith.
Subs Not Used: Gordon, Maloney, Bardsley, Berra.

Booked: Whittaker, Weir, Robson.

Att: 19,000

Ref: Ivan Bebek (Croatia).



see also
Prague pundits' reaction
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Levein defends his losing system
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Bilek lauds winning Czech players
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Czech Republic v Scotland - as it happened
08 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
Chick Young's view
07 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Victory in Prague can be achieved
07 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Bardsley proud Scot after U-turn
06 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Caldwell keen to aid Scots' cause
04 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Torres doubt for Merseyside derby
05 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Czechs without Baros for Scotland
03 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Naismith buoyed by Rangers form
01 Oct 10 |  Rangers
Scots call on Gordon and Caldwell
30 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Mackie proud of Scotland call-up
30 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Xavi to miss Spain's Glasgow trip
30 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Boyd trying too hard - Strachan
27 Sep 10 |  Scotland
No Scotland U-turn for Ferguson
27 Sep 10 |  Scotland


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