SCOTLAND 2 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 1
THREE Celtic players – Callum McGregor, Anthony Ralston and Greg Taylor – played their part in a dramatic Scotland win over a highly-competitive Irish side at Hampden this evening.
Steve Clarke’s men had to come back from a goal down to achieve a victory with strikes from former Hoops double-act Jack Hendry and Ryan Christie.
The victory means the Scots just need a point from their encounter against Ukraine in Krakow on Tuesday to clinch top place in their UEFA Europa Nations League group.
PICK IT OUT…Irish skipper John Egan flashes in a low shot to put the pressure on Scotland.
It was a rugged, no-holds-barred confrontation as the teams locked horns with the home side looking for revenge after their 3-0 hammering in Dublin in June.
However, they faced an uphill struggle in the 18th minute when Stephen Kenny’s visitors took the lead with skipper John Egan sweeping in a low shot after the Scots failed to clear a right-wing corner-kick.
Three minutes from half-time, Taylor came on for the injured Kieran Tierney as the Scots chased in vain for an equaliser before the turnaround.
Five minutes into the second-half, Taylor and Christie combined on the left and the midfielder slung in an inviting cross. Centre-back Hendry, who had continued his thrust into the box, was perfectly placed to send a swirling header from 12 yards wide of Gavin Bazuma low to the keeper’s left.
HEADMASTER…Jack Hendry gets in front of Scott McTominay to divert a header into the net for the equaliser.
Eight minutes later, Ralston replaced Aaron Hickey as Scotland went for the victory only moments after Craig Gordon had produced a miraculous save from Troy Parrott.
Christie got the decisive goal eight minutes from the end after Alan Brown was adjudged to have handled a header from Scott McTominay from a John McGinn right-wing corner-kick.
The one-time Parkhead playmaker was the coolest person in the national stadium as he stepped forward to roll the ball nonchalantly past Bazuma who took off fro his right.
Now all eyes are on Krakow on Tuesday evening with the Scots just one point away from completing a tough campaign top of the pile.