Fletcher desperate to end years of Scotland heartache
08 October, 2017, 01:14 | Author: Greg Wolfe
Slovenia coach Srecko Katanec says he will step down from his job after the team's World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Sunday.
Scotland netted the victor with two minutes left to secure a 1-0 win. "It would have been a huge disappointment if we didn't and that was some performance", Strachan said, after watching the visitors being reduced to 10 men in the 23rd minute when Robert Mak was shown a second yellow card for simulation.
Scotland looked to be out of the race for second spot in Group F after winning just one of their opening four games.
It has 17 points, two more than Slovakia, and will finish in that position if it can win away to Slovenia, which is also still in with a chance. We have worked very, very hard in this campaign to get to a point like this and we didn't want to throw it away.
Numerous players who finally put Slovakia to the sword on Thursday at Hampden spoke yesterday of the trust they have in...
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Amid a vociferous atmosphere at Hampden, the hosts had an early penalty claim turned down when Kieran Tierney, playing at right-back, went down under a challenge from Mak, referee Milorad Mazic adjudging there had not been enough contact. "I think you saw that belief and that character to keep going". But we've kept it going to the last game and given ourselves a great chance, which is what we needed to do.
The visitors threatened for the first time after the break when Stanislav Lobotka shot straight at Gordon, before the Celticgoalkeeper, who was earning his 50th global cap, had to make a better stop from Jan Gregus.
In a 60th-minute reshuffle, Strachan replaced Forrest with burly striker Martin and moments later Dubravka made a remarkable save from Griffiths' 25-yard thunderbolt at the expense of a corner which came to nothing.
Dubravka came to his team's rescue again after 36 minutes when James Forrest played a flawless pass in to Griffiths and the striker cut inside before sending an effort towards goal that the keeper pushed around his post.
And in the last 15 minutes Leigh Griffifths thundered a free-kick off the bar and James Morrison was brilliantly foiled by Martin Dubravka.
The Slovakiagoalkeeper pulled off a number of superb stops to crank up the pressure on Scotland, and it was telling that he was only beaten by an unfortunate mishap.
While this is only one game in a best-of-three series, getting on the board first can be extremely important in the postseason. With his four-year contract up after this year, the team could simply let Girardi go with thanks for his years of service.
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A win over Slovakia in Glasgow could move Scotland into the play off place, although a draw might be a better result for Ireland . They take on hosts Georgia on Friday and host Ireland the following Monday in their final qualifier.
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