AN 89th-minute goal from James McArthur saved Scotland from a humiliating World Cup defeat against minnows Lithuania at Hampden tonight.

Gordon Strachan’s side were heading for a dreadful defeat after Cyrnech fired the visitors into the lead in the 58th minute with a shot that beat David Marshall at his near post.

The Scots were a massive disappointment after the former Celtic manager went with the same team that beat Malta 5-1 in the opening tie in Group F last month.
That meant there were no starting places for the Hoops quartet of Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths.

However, with the home team toiling, Strachan threw on Forrest and Griffiths in the second-half as he tried to salvage something against the infuriating Lithuanians who were dropping like flies in the last 15 minutes as they wasted time.

It took Scotland until the 33rd minute to get a shot on target and Barry Bannan’s effort was straight at the keeper.

Chris Martin was unlucky in the 55th minute with a flashing header from a left-wing cross by Andy Robertson, but the ball swept inches past the left-hand upright.

Cyrnech then took advantage of some slack play from Grant Hanley to give the visitors, who are rated 73 places behind Scotland in the FIFA rankings, a shock advantage.

Forrest slashed a shot just wide and Griffiths headed into the keeper’s arms as Strachan’s outfit tried desperately to claw something from the encounter.

The leveller came after a massive throw-in from Callum Paterson on the right was knocked on by Hanley and McArthur applied the killer touch with a smart header smack in front of goal.

Earlier in the day, England beat Malta 2-0 at Wembley and Slovenia overcame Slovakia 1-0 in the same group. England lead with six points with the Scots next on four points on goal difference ahead of Slovenia.

Scotland’s next game is in Slovakia on Tuesday. 

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