Scotland show character to come from behind to beat Republic of Ireland

Ryan Christie celebrates scoring what proved to be the winning goal at Hampden Park  - PA
Ryan Christie celebrates scoring what proved to be the winning goal at Hampden Park - PA
  • Ireland take deserved 1-0 lead into the break after Egan strike

  • Hosts show belief to score twice in second half 

  • Scotland two points clear at the top of Nations League group going into the final game against Ukraine 

Scotland are one point away from promotion to League A in the Nations League following a hard-fought 2-1 comeback win over Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park.

Irish skipper John Egan dampened Scottish optimism in the 18th minute when he fired the visitors ahead following a corner.

However, Jack Hendry levelled with a header four minutes after the restart as Steve Clarke's side at last began to play and Ryan Christie slotted in a penalty with 10 minutes remaining to take Scotland two points ahead of Ukraine at the top of Group B1.

Scotland now need only a draw in their final fixture against Ukraine in Krakow on Tuesday night to seal promotion to the Group A pots, which would also aid qualifying hopes for the next European Championships.

Clarke kept changes to a minimum following the 3-0 home win over Ukraine on Wednesday with injured right-back Nathan Patterson replaced by Aaron Hickey.

Striker Che Adams dropped to the bench for Lyndon Dykes, who came on in midweek to score a clinching brace.

Southampton's 20-year-old keeper Gavin Bazunu returned between the sticks for Ireland along with captain Egan, defender Matt Doherty and attacker Michael Obafemi.

Hampden was packed but the Tartan Army's optimism drained in the first half.

In the 11th minute of a scrappy start to the game, Ireland attacker Troy Parrot raced through to put the ball in the net despite a despairing attempt by keeper Craig Gordon and the Scots' defence, but the offside flag was belatedly raised.

However, the Irish fans did have something to cheer when Scotland failed to properly clear a James McClean corner and Egan swivelled and fired low past Gordon from eight yards.

John Egan celebrates his opener at Hampden Park  - ACTION IMAGES
John Egan celebrates his opener at Hampden Park - ACTION IMAGES

Scotland were finding it hard to get going.

Stand-in skipper John McGinn, winning his 50th cap, had two shots on goal but on both occasions failed to connect properly and the ball skipped well wide.

Five minutes from the break there was disruption for Scotland when left-back Kieran Tierney went off injured - it looked like a head knock after a clash with Parrott at a corner - and he was replaced by Greg Taylor.

The Tartan Army got the start to the second half they wanted when Christie went past Doherty with ease down the left and crossed for Hendry to head in from 10 yards.

Hendry gets Scotland back in the game with his well-taken header - PA
Hendry gets Scotland back in the game with his well-taken header - PA

The mood inside the stadium changed but as Scotland pressed hard to get in front they almost got caught.

Obafemi raced away on the break from the edge of the Ireland box and played in Parrot who had only Gordon to beat but the Hearts keeper stuck a leg out and blocked for a corner, which came to nothing.

Anthony Ralston and Ryan Fraser then came on for injured Hickey and Stuart Armstrong with Obafemi making way for Chiedozie Ogbene, who had the ball kicked straight at him by Gordon, the keeper happy to see it land back in his arms.

At the other end, Bazunu tipped Fraser's powerful drive over the bar for a corner which Ireland repelled but only just.

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny made three changes in the 75th minute with Doherty, Parrot and Jayson Molumby making way for Seamus Coleman, Callum Robinson and Alan Browne.

Then came the penalty drama.

Referee Sandro Scharer pointed to the spot when Scott McTominay's header from a McGinn corner appeared to hit the arm of Browne.

After a VAR check the penalty stood and Christie sent Bazunu the wrong way with his spot-kick and the home fans rejoiced at the turnaround, although it was a tetchy and nervy ending where McTominay picked up a booking in a melee which rules him out of Tuesday's game with Ukraine.

Scotland beat Republic of Ireland - as it happened

09:42 PM

As it stands

Steve Clarke's team are two points clear at the top of Group B1 going into the final game against Ukraine in Poland on Tuesday. Avoid defeat and they will be promoted.

09:38 PM

FULL-TIME:  Scotland 2-1 Ireland             

Scotland have shown a lot of character and belief this half and done just enough to deservedly win this.

That's three wins in a row for the hosts.

09:36 PM

92 mins: Scotland 2-1 Ireland             

Scotland have a free kick on the far side and they can eat away a few seconds.

09:34 PM

89 mins: Scotland 2-1 Ireland           

Four minutes are to be added after the 90 minutes are up.

09:30 PM

86 mins: Scotland 2-1 Ireland           

There's a bit of handbags by the touchline. McTominay is involved and he sees yellow so won't play on Tuesday against Ukraine. Jason Knight also received a yellow card.

09:28 PM

83 mins: Scotland 2-1 Ireland         

Scotland are seven minutes away from promotion to League A.

09:25 PM

GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!

Scotland 2-1 Ireland

Christie makes no mistake from 12 yards and the hosts are in front!

09:24 PM

PENALTY TO SCOTLAND!

The hosts will have a chance to take the lead after a McTominey header hits the hand of Coleman!

Huge chance for Scotland and it looks as though Ryan Christie will take the spotkick.

09:23 PM

75 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland         

The Irish haven't given up hope of winning this, they're still throwing men forward.

You feel an error could be the decisive factor if one of the sides is to take the three points.

09:18 PM

72 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland       

Free kick for  Scotland - can they make it count? No, is the definitive answer as Fraser wastes the opportunity and Ireland can clear their lines.

09:13 PM

69 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland       

Fraser shoot from distance and Bazunu puts it around the post for a corner.

From the corner McTominey is free at the back post after a flick at the near post from McGinn but the Irish do just enough to put him off.

09:10 PM

Scotland's equaliser

The great finish

Jack Hendry  - REUTERS
Jack Hendry - REUTERS

 The celebration

Jack Hendry  - PA
Jack Hendry - PA

09:09 PM

65 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland     

Ireland are now the team on top - Scotland are looking jittery at the back and Ogbene has picked up where Obafemi left - causing the backline problems.

09:08 PM

61 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland     

Nearly a huge error from Gordon who plays a jittery pass that falls at the feet of Ogbene. But the man who's just come on cannot react quick enough and the Scotland keeper can grab the loose ball.

09:03 PM

59 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland   

Obafemi has run out of gas and is replaced by Ogbene. He's played well and caused Scotland a lot of problems.

09:00 PM

56 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland   

Great save from Gordon from Troy Parrott. Scotland committed too many men forward and the Irish break at pace. Obafemi drives into the box well and sets up Parrott who should score, but the Scotland keeper does what he's paid to do.

That should be 2-1 Ireland.

08:59 PM

54 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland 

Christie is on the edge of the Ireland box but this time, unlike with the goal, the visitors scupper any idea he has of causing mayhem in the area.

Scotland look like a different team this half - they've upped the tempo and are attacking with pace and verve.

08:56 PM

52 mins: Scotland 1-1 Ireland 

Goals change games and Hendry's goal has brought the hosts to life.

08:54 PM

GOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!

Scotland 1-1 Ireland 

A fine goal from Jack Hendry as he heads home Christie's dinked cross from the byline into the back of the net via the post. The centre-back started the move and continued his run and was rewarded for his troubles.

08:50 PM

47 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland

Ireland have started the second 45 minutes the better of the two sides. They're attacking the Scotland box but the hosts deal with the threat well.

08:49 PM

45 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland

They're back under way at Hampden Park - can the hosts turn this game around?

08:34 PM

HALF TIME: Scotland 0-1 Ireland

The Irish deserve this lead. Bazanu hasn't really been tested while the visitors have caused the Scotland backline trouble. It's been a rough and tumble sort of match, which isn't surprising.

08:31 PM

45 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland                 

There will be two minutes added time at the end of what has been an attritional 45 minutes.

08:30 PM

44 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland                 

Free kick for the hosts midway inside the Ireland half. It's played low to McGregor whose ball into the box is well dealt with by the Ireland rearguard.

08:28 PM

42 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland               

Greg Taylor comes on for Tierney just before Scotland's third corner.

From the set piece Bazunu comes and claims easily.

08:26 PM

40 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland               

Tierney is still being seen to behind the goal and Scotland are, for the time being at least, down to 10.

08:25 PM

39 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland             

Scotland have their first corner of the match - can they make it count? Not initially but they win another corner.

Before they can take it, though, Tierney is down and being seen to. He's slowly back to his feet saying he's ok...

The corner is eventually taken but the Irish can clear their lines.

08:21 PM

36 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland             

The Irish have looked good every time they go forward and again they are causing the hosts problems before Gordon makes a decent save from a Parrott header. But it wouldn't have counted as Parrott is penalised for a push on Tierney.

08:19 PM

33 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland           

It's a very British game of football, players aren't getting a lot of time on the ball, it's fairly end-to-end, high tempo. Not one for those who like tiki-taka...

08:15 PM

30 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland           

Better from the hosts, they're getting on the ball and trying to play some football, the crowd have gone up a decibel or two as well.

08:14 PM

28 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland         

Good chance for McGinn - the best of the match for the hosts. Armstrong does well out wide before his cross finds McGinn who swipes at it, putting it past the post.

08:12 PM

25 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland         

The Scotland fullbacks are struggling to get in this match - the hosts need them to get forward, be brave.

08:10 PM

Ireland celebrate the opener

John Egan  - REUTERS
John Egan - REUTERS

08:09 PM

22 mins: Scotland 0-1 Ireland       

Ireland are the better side at the moment - Obafemi did well to win the corner from which his side scored and he's really quick and causing the Scotland backline a lot of problems.

08:04 PM

GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!

Scotland 0-1 Ireland

The Irish are direct and they win the first corner of the match.

From the set-piece the ball comes to Dykes's head but the danger isn't cleared and Egan smashes home the loose ball.

08:02 PM

17 mins: Scotland 0-0 Ireland       

McGregor drive forward before the ball comes to Christie on the edge of the Irish box but he cannot control it and the chance goes begging.

08:00 PM

15 mins: Scotland 0-0 Ireland     

There are a few heavy challenges flying around at the moment - but the ref is yet to bring out the yellow. You suspect the next tough tackle will result in a card.

07:58 PM

11 mins: Scotland 0-0 Ireland     

Parrott does brilliantly getting in behind the high Scotland backline before finding the top corner of the net with a fine finish BUT the flag is then raised (a bit late?) and it's ruled out...

He was offside by a yard so ultimately the right decision.

07:56 PM

10 mins: Scotland 0-0 Ireland   

Scotland have, as on Wednesday, started brightly the crowd are raucous and so far Clarke will be the happier of the two managers.

07:54 PM

8 mins: Scotland 0-0 Ireland   

More good play by the hosts, good interpassing with McTominay at the heart of it but the cross is easily dealt with by Bazunu in the Ireland goal.

07:53 PM

7 mins: Scotland 0-0 Ireland 

Christiedoes well before firing his shot well wide of the goal. First real chance of the match.

07:50 PM

5 mins: Scotland 0-0 Ireland 

McGinn does well in the middle and is fouled. He's started off well has the Scottish talisman.

From the free-kick there's a bit of a melee but it goes out for a goal kick. The game hasn't settled down yet, we haven't seen any passing football so far.

07:48 PM

3 mins: Scotland 0-0 Ireland

The Irish have an early free kick near the halfway line. But nothing comes of it and we're still very much in the shadow boxing stage of the match.

07:47 PM

1 min: Scotland 0-0 Ireland

And they're off at Hampden Park - can the hosts continue where they left off on Wednesday?

Scotland are in their traditional navy kit and Ireland in their away luminous orange kit.

07:43 PM

We've had the national anthems

And the match is about to get under way.

07:40 PM

The teams are out on the pitch

And it's a great atmosphere, that's got to help the hosts.

07:21 PM

Steve Clarke speaks...

"You always have to go with a winning mentality. We want to feel good about ourselves going into every single game. You never set up for the draw, you always set up to win and if you're not quite good enough to win then hopefully you get the draw. At the moment, all we've achieved is we can't get relegated from the group. We can finish second, we can finish third. We've still got everything in front of us. You could get carried away looking at what we could achieve but let's just concentrate on the next game and make that next step forward."

06:59 PM

The two XIs

SCOTLAND XI TO FACE THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Gordon, Hickey, Hendry, McKenna, Tierney, McTominay, McGregor, S Armstrong, McGinn, Christie, Dykes

Substitutes - Gallagher, Taylor, Porteous, Adams, Kelly, Gilmour, Ralston, Doig, Fraser, Jack, McCrorie, McLean

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND XI TO FACE SCOTLAND: Bazunu, Doherty, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, McClean, Cullen, Molumby, Knight, Parrott, Obafemi

Substitutes - Coleman, Duffy, Robinson, Hourihane, Hendrick, Browne, Travers, Hogan, Ogbene, Brady, O'Dowda, O'Leary

06:54 PM

Here's how things lie

Scotland's 3-0 win againstUkraine on Wednesday gives them a good chance of promotion to League A.

A win tonight against Ireland would likely set up a decider against Ukraine on Tuesday. Two draws would be enough, thanks to their better head-to-head record against the Ukrainians.

Ireland's promotion hopes look unlikely and Stephen Kenny's side would be relegated if they lose both matches.

06:43 PM

Kenny backs Duffy to shine in key Nations League clash

Stephen Kenny will have no worries about playing stalwart Shane Duffy in the Republic of Ireland's Nations League clash with Scotland despite his lack of game time.

The 30-year-old centre-back, who had a disappointing loan spell at Celtic in 2020-21, has started only one match this season in his loan spell at Fulham from Brighton - a defeat to Crawley in the Carabao Cup - with two other late appearances off the bench in the Premier League.

Ireland boss Kenny, however, is confident that the 55-times-capped defender could do a job at Hampden Park on Saturday as his side look for another positive result following their 3-0 home win over Steve Clarke's side in June.

He said: "Shane has been a very important player, he has played a high percentage of the games since I have been manager and since before I was manager.

"He is revered in Ireland, he has been a tremendous player for Ireland and he is still in the Premier League.

"It is only seven games into the season, I am sure he will get his opportunities at Fulham and he is a proven player, so I would have no qualms about playing Shane."

The former Dunfermline manager admits he has several attacking selection dilemmas ahead of the Group B1 game.

Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi combined well in the convincing victory over Scotland and contributed a goal each, but Kenny will consider all his options.

He said: "We now have good competition in all areas.

"Callum Robinson was very influential, Scott Hogan is off the back of a hat-trick in the midlands derby (for Birmingham against West Brom) and Chiedozie Ogbene is scoring goals, so we have to consider that.

"Whether we can make any changes at all from the previous Scotland game, it is difficult to leave anyone out of that team.

"It is something we have to consider."