Scott McTominay continued his superb international goalscoring run to help Scotland produce one o the most comfortable football scores of Euro 2024 qualifying. The stadium was soaked for an hour before the game started due to severe rain. However, Callum McGregor’s well-placed goal allowed Scotland to grab the lead in the game’s first seven minutes. After the goal, the action did not resume as referee Istvan Vad gave the players the all-clear to go back to the locker rooms while the grounds crew, SFA personnel, and ball boys and girls started to remove the water from the playing field.
The away players refused to enter the ground as they sought to have the match postponed until Wednesday, starting an hour and forty minutes of pitch inspections, holdups and Georgian mutiny. They did, however, ultimately emerge following the referee’s third assessment of the playing conditions, at which point the game was properly resumed just before 9.35 p.m. When Scotland continued where they left off, they always appeared more likely to score another goal. Immediately following the break, at roughly 10:30 p.m., McTominay scored his fifth goal of the season, following back-to-back hat tricks against Spain and Cyprus.
Georgia wasted a final-minute opportunity to score a consolation goal when Napoli forward Kvicha Kvaratskhelia sent a penalty kick into the rafters. The fact that Scotland won all four of their first qualification matches for the first time would not have made much of a difference regardless as they made another significant step towards qualifying for Euro 2024. With 12 points, they are still in first place in Group A, eight points clear of second-place Norway.
Surface water was flying off the pitch before the game even started, thus it was obvious that the torrential circumstances would have an effect. Otar Kiteishvili’s shot squirmed past the far post, giving Georgia a chance to sneak in an early goal. Instead, Scotland seized the lead after only six minutes. Before rolling into the area where McGregor was poised to score, John McGinn’s corner was partially cleared at the near post. McGregor then fired beyond Georgia custodian Giorgi Mamardashvili. After the goal, there was a VAR review, which was ultimately upheld, but the match suspension minutes later grabbed all of the attention.
Play began at 9.35 p.m. after an hour and forty minutes of pandemonium, and Scotland had a chance to double their advantage right away. Lyndon Dykes nodded a good attempt just beyond the post after Andy Robertson’s effort was pushed away following a powerful run. A superb cross from Kieran Tierney was followed by two headers, one from McGinn and the other from McTominay, both of which went just wide of the post in the closing five minutes of a drawn-out first half.
When the second half started at 10:30 p.m., Scotland quickly extended their advantage. Georgia barely managed to block Tierney’s long pass as far as McTominay, who was waiting and who then skillfully sent the ball into the bottom corner to continue his impressive international campaign. The hosts kept generating half-chances. Both McGregor and McTominay watched a long-range attempt miss the target. Ryan Porteous should have scored as well, but he misjudged his header and it went over the crossbar.
As the game approached 90 minutes and it was almost 11 p.m., Georgia started to look for a goal. Otar Kakabadze’s low cross was deflected by Angus Gunn in the 74th minute, but it only reached Georges Mikautadze, who slammed his shot into the net’s side. The drama was still going on. Following a VAR review, Aaron Hickey was given a late penalty for handball, which was given to Georgia. As Scotland earned three well-deserved points, star player Kvaratskhelia lined it up but, in an effort that embodied his nation’s evening, blasted it into the rapidly diminishing audience.
“Even though the night was really bizarre and odd, we managed to get the three points and have had a strong first half of the season,” Scotland boss Steve Clarke said. “We have certainly improved since I predicted we would, in my opinion. I believe we have room to grow and become better. There was a time in the second half when I felt like we could have moved the ball a little bit more effectively to lessen the tension in the match. But I’m really happy for them. The first four are OK, but five would be excellent. But you are familiar with how football is. It may come back at you and kick you in the behind if you put yourself in a dangerous position. We only need to keep focused and make sure we accrue enough points to meet the requirements.”
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