Faroe Islands 0-1 Scotland: Late Lyndon Dykes winner saves Steve Clarke’s blushes as visitors squeeze past minnows in World Cup qualifier
- Scotland travelled to the Faroe Islands as huge favourites to win the qualifier
- Right until the end of the match, it looked as though it would finish goalless
- QPR striker Lyndon Dykes spared his side’s blushes by scoring a very late winner
- Scotland can secure a World Cup playoff spot if they beat Moldova next time out
Steve Clarke used the hairdryer treatment on his Scotland players at the weekend. He could have done with a blowtorch this time.
Yes, their World Cup destiny remains in their own hands, but they will have to do far better with their feet next month if they are to secure a play-off place.
This game against the lowly Faroes was headed for an embarrassing draw when Lyndon Dykes scored in his fourth straight qualifier four minutes from time.
Lyndon Dykes scored a late winner to spare Scotland’s blushes against the Faroe Islands
Dykes may not have known much about the finish – and VAR even checked for a handball
The goal stood, though, and Scotland’s fans will be travelling home from Torshavn happy
Faroe Islands: Gestsson, Faero, Vatnsdal, Nattestad, Sorensen, Gunnar Vatnhamar, Brandur Olsen, Davidsen, Hansson, Edmundsson, Jonsson
Scotland (3-5-2): Gordon 7.5; Hendry 5 (McGregor 68, 6), Hanley 5, Tierney 6; Fraser 5, McTominay 6, Gilmour 6, McGinn 5.5, Robertson 6; Dykes 6.5, Christie 6
Not that the QPR striker knew too much about it when Nathan Patterson’s cross was deflected onto his shoulder and into the net.
Just like Scott McTominay’s injury-time bundle to steal a crucial 3-2 win over Israel on Saturday, this was an ugly goal yet a beautiful sight.
A lengthy VAR check followed – there was a suspicion of handball – but the win means another against Moldova in their next fixture will guarantee a play-off spot.
But goodness, a repeat of this performance in Chisnau and they will return empty-handed ahead of their final group match against leaders Denmark.
Skipper Andy Robertson said: ‘Probably the less said about the performance the better. We weren’t at our best. In the first half they won every second ball. We were poor. Maybe we had a wee bit of a hangover from the emotion of Saturday.’
Clarke had said there was ‘no chance’ of Scotland being guilty of complacency. He was wrong, and ‘no chances’ just about summed up a woeful first-half display. To make it to the break goalless was something of a victory for the Scots.
Steve Clarke watches his side toil in Torshavn, but they overcame their opponents in the end
Scotland had goalkeeper Craig Gordon to thank for keeping them in the match in the first half
Goalkeeper Craig Gordon had perhaps ventured to the Faroes expecting a quiet night. Come half-time he certainly needed a dark, quiet room in which to lie down, such was his exertion.
Gordon was the sole reason Scotland remained in the game. The Faroes should have been out of sight.
Joan Edmundsson, once of Newcastle, fluffed an early chance when unmarked 12 yards out. It was a warning shot of things to come – or rather, an air shot.
His team-mate Ari Jonsson made a far truer connection when arriving on the edge of the six-yard area soon after but, somehow, Gordon saved. The danger was not over and the veteran keeper scrambled to his feet before blocking Viljormur Davidsen’s follow-up.
It was a wet night on the Faroe Islands; pictured is Ryan Fraser crossing the ball from the right
Faroe Islands fans were in a joyous mood, singing in the stands with their faces painted
Would that let-off snap Scotland from their dozy start? No. The Faroes came back for more and Brandur Hendriksson tested Gordon with a tasty free-kick just before the interval.
The second half was better for Scotland, but only in the context of it being impossible to be any worse. There are, however, no extra points for aesthetics and another vital win moves them one step closer to Qatar 2022.
‘It was a tough night,’ said Clarke. ‘They made us nervous at times. We had to rely on Craig Gordon and had to grind it out.
‘But let’s not be too sad about it. It’s six points this month and four wins in a row.’
Scotland and Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay reacts during the match