Great Scots! McTominay sparks win for the ages over Spain

Scotland vs Spain Uefa Euro 2024 qualifiers latest score - Reuters/Lee Smith
Scotland vs Spain Uefa Euro 2024 qualifiers latest score - Reuters/Lee Smith

By Roddy Forsyth, at Hampden Park 

On a night of convulsive fascination at Hampden Park, Scotland achieved one of the most memorable results in their 150-year history, propelled by two goals from Scott McTominay – who had found the net twice in the Scots’ opening Euro qualifier at the same venue on Saturday – to go clear at the top of the table against all odds. Should they duplicate these outcomes in their June engagements with Norway and Georgia, they will be powerful favourites to secure automatic qualification to next year’s finals. The significance of the occasion cannot be overestimated.

This was the evening dreamed of by a generation of Tartan Army foot soldiers who achieved adulthood after growing pains which were exacerbated almost every time Scotland were fancied to make a mark, even under Steve Clarke, when the Scots reached the finals of Euro 2020, performed powerfully in a goalless draw with England at Wembley, just to lurch out of the tournament without a win.

Only two games of the current campaign have elapsed, yet this victory had a tangible feeling of real substance. For the moment at least, a Scotland fan can say ‘I believe’ and expect to be believed in turn.

These are the earliest of days in a qualifying programme but the Scottish Football Association can bask in self-justification, having given Clarke an extended contract which, should he see out his tenure, will keep him in place until the summer of 2026 and would make him the longest serving Scotland manager since Craig Brown 21 years ago.

In the three seasons he has already put into the task, Clarke has overseen an overhaul of the resource he inherited, to the point where no fewer than 20 players from his first squad in June 2021 are no longer in the picture. Most significantly, he has supplemented Scottish playing strength with a native canniness which is being applied to the task of achieving what he calls ‘the small percentages of improvement’ required to make an impact at this level.

When Saturday’s opener against Cyprus was in the balance at 1-0 late in the contest, Clarke introduced McTominay, Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie into the proceedings and was repaid with a 3-0 win. McTominay’s double strike was a major bonus. Few – except perhaps Clarke – could have foreseen a repeat performance against the Spanish, whose manager, Luis de la Fuente made no fewer than eight changes to the line-up that prevailed in Norway at the weekend.

Amongst the cast-offs were the entire Spanish defence, with Pedro Porro, David Garcia, Inigo Martinez and Jose Gaya coming in for Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Aymeric Laporte, and Alejandro Balde. Likewise, the four front men at the weekend - Dani Olmo, Iago Aspas, Gavi, and Alvaro Morata – were ditched to accommodate Mikel Oyarzabal, Dani Ceballos, Yeremy Pino and Joselu.

On this occasion the Manchester United man struck early to ignite euphoria amongst Tartan Army ranks in the stands. Credit for the assist goes to Robertson, but the much criticised Hampden pitch has a claim, given Porro’s seemingly unforced slip which allowed the Liverpool captain to step in and direct a cutback for McTominay to drive home with a shot through the legs of Inigo Martinez en route.

Only seven minutes had passed when the Scots went ahead and by the quarter hour they could easily have been two goals to the good after a surging break which put them four on four against the Spanish back line, with Christie bolting from the halfway line to the edge of the box to deliver a left foot shot which skipped narrowly wide of the post.

Testing times lay ahead, though, after Joselu had struck the crossbar with a header and the contest began to spawn heated physical contests, one of which might have seen Robertson sent off when he thrust a shoulder into Porro’s face. The Var process was lenient, however, and the Scottish skipper was cautioned, as was Dykes when he caught David Garcia with an unchecked elbow. Porro, jeered at his every touch, was replaced at half time by Carvajal, while Oyarzabal made way for Nico Williams.

Astoundingly, Scotland emerged from the interval to inflict another serious wound on Spain and again it erupted from the left inside six minutes of play, this time through Kieran Tierney whose sprint along the flank produced a deflected cutback which McTominay struck beyond Arizzabalaga for the second goal. John McGinn then almost skewered Spain with a free kick which slapped off the crossbar.

An oddity of the evening was that the Swiss referee had reappeared after the interval as the fourth official, having been substituted by one of his assistants, presumably because of some sort of injury. It was the Spanish, though, who looked wounded as they began to swipe passes, crosses and shots wildly off target, mingled with astonishment that a football superpower was reduced to this degree of dishevelment. A black and soaking Glasgow night was transformed into a fiesta for all but those for whom the term was native.

Every miscue evoked loud howls of disdain from the Scottish support. Clarke, meanwhile, was obliged by the inevitable effects of fatigued limbs to plunder his reserve strength for energy in the shape of Liam Cooper, Nathan Patterson, Lewis Ferguson and Kenny McLean.

Their combined aggregate of physical and mental will was sufficient to haul the team across the line to mark the end of four decades since the Scots last beat Spain, in the days when it took a Kenny Dalglish strike to seal that distant deal. Now parents – and grandparents – can mingle that much savoured recollection with a new narrative, in which – they hope fervently – that the Spanish steps displayed by Clarke and his proteges will lead at last to the fabled lands of football glory.

Scotland stun Spain - as it happened

10:18 PM

Scotland manager Steve Clarke speaks to Viaplay...

On the win and performance...

"They were outstanding from first to last minute - it was a big night night, this win feels like a step forward."

On where that puts the side in Euro qualification...

"It's only six points, you don't qualify with six points and that's what we've told them in the dressing room...There are plenty of games to go - we know to our cost that one bad game can cost you."

On the match...

"When we had the ball we looked a threat. We did have much possession but what we had we used well...All the credit goes to the players on the pitch - they've told me they are mentally as well as physically tired."

10:06 PM

Scots looking at hotels in Germany for next summer?

Steve Clarke’s side are now three points clear at the top of Group A thanks to that memorable win over the three-time champions.

Scotland fan - Getty Images/Stu Forster
Scotland fan - Getty Images/Stu Forster
Scotland players - PA/Andrew Milligan
Scotland players - PA/Andrew Milligan

10:01 PM

History-making win

10:00 PM

Andy Robertson speaks to Viaplay...

On the win...

"Loved it, we knew we had to get off to to a good start and put them under pressure and we did that...I thought second half was a really professional performance."

On the use of subs and squad depth Scotland now have...

"The gaffer has ben consistent on the squad he's picked. We've now got a lot of lads with 30 caps and that experience matters...Look at the squad and the bench it's full of quality - players like Billy Gilmour."

On what's changed in the squad...

"We have belief, that is what was lacking when the gaffer took over. Playing in front of a full crowd makes a difference, but you have to back it up with performances."

On what qualifying for the Euros would mean...

"It's important we don't' get carried away, we've two massive game in June...we have put ourselves in a great place but have to keep on going."

09:51 PM

Two-goal hero Scott McTominay speaks to Viaplay...

On the win...

"Steve Clarke told us we had to be clinical when we can and we did that. We had more chances to hurt them."

On suddenly finding his scoring boots...

"As a kid I was always an attacking midfielder, now I am a sitting midfielder, but like to do both. I like to get in the box and and I need to keep doing that, I need to add that to my game and past two games have been a good example of that."

On the atmosphere...

"Never seen anything like it it's incredible."

On what Steve Clarke told them before the match...

"He told us this is a chance to create your legacy as a Scotland player - it's what the game is about. We cannot thank the fans enough."

09:46 PM

Two 'Spain have been shocked' stats...

09:43 PM

FULL-TIME: Scotland 2-0 Spain

What a result! What a night! And what a party it will be north of the border!

A well-deserved win for the hosts who dominated Spain in the areas that mattered. Spain were lacklustre, but take nothing away from the hosts who were brilliant.

09:41 PM

95 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Nearly the cherry on top for Scotland and McGregor charges down the right before setting up Shankland on the edge of the box, his shot is saved by Kepa.

09:39 PM

94 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

It's very much squeaky-bum time at Hampden Park as the camera pans to a load of Scotland fans who look a mixture of worried and dumbfounded, just wanting the ref to blow the final whistle.

09:36 PM

92 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

To put what looks like it will be a great win into context. Spain have lost just one Euro qualifier in their pas 38. If you add in World Cup qualifiers then they have lost just twice since 2006...

09:35 PM

90 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Not what Scotland fans want to hear but there will be as many as six minutes added time.

09:34 PM

88 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Again the Scotland backline put their bodies on the line as they clear a cross from the right by Williams.

Last change for the hosts as Dykes is replaced by Shankland.

09:32 PM

86 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Pressure from Spain, Rodri plays in Gaya on the left but his cross is headed clear. Every question asked of the Scotland backline has been answered by the hosts and answered well.

09:30 PM

83 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Free-kick for Scotland in the Spain half after a malicious challenge in the air on Porteous by Pino - that's possibly a red in rugby and it's a yellow here when - the Spain player wasn't even looking at the ball when he barged into the Scotland man's ribcage - a red might have been understandable...Spain clear the danger from the resulting set-piece.

09:27 PM

81 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

More changes for Scotland - Nathan Patterson and Lewis Ferguson are on for Aaron Hickey & John McGinn. McGinn has been at the heart of everything good about the hosts tonight - to use an overused phrase: 'he's put a real shift in...'/

09:26 PM

79 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Gavi comes on for Ceballos as Spain make final change. Not a bad player to come on...

09:24 PM

Everyone loves free-to-air

09:23 PM

77 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Scotland put in a ball over the top for the on-rushing Robertson, but Garcia - caught out at the end of the first half by a similar pass - turns into Zidane with an exquisite first touch under pressure. If you love a great first touch then you should seek out this one.

09:20 PM

73 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Double change for Scotland - Kenny McLean and  Liam Cooper are on for Ryan Christie and Kieran Tierney. Tierney hasn't had many minutes for Arsenal this season but he was mightily impressive tonight, a vital man for the Scots.

09:18 PM

71 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Spain's Williams does an impressive and effective impression of Fred Astaire tap-dancing this way this way and that, twisting Porteous' blood inside the Scotland area in the process. Alas, his final ball is weak and rolls into the arms of a grateful Gunn.

09:16 PM

Good stat for Scotland

If memory serves, this was the last time Scotland beat Spain...

09:15 PM

67 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Corner for Spain after Hickey gets in a vital intervention from  Gay cross. There's a bit of afters, the Spanish look rattled.

From the set piece the visitors go short before delivering a deep cross for Rodri at the back post, he cannot troubled Gunn with his header.

09:11 PM

65 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Again Scotland pick up a loose ball in the middle of the park. And again they attack down the left, this time Robertson plays in a low ball to the near post winning a corner. He could have charged for the byline instead there, but who am I to quibble...From the corner Scotland create nothing.

09:09 PM

61 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

Scotland are doing what they have to do and more. Spain seeing plenty of the ball, but the hosts are keeping their shape and it's hard for the visitors to cut them open. This Spain side play like the great Spain side that won World Cups and European Championships, but don't have anything like the same cutting edge. In fact I'd go as far as saying Scotland have been fairly comfortable at the back.

09:06 PM

McTominay or Haaland?

09:04 PM

55 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

So very nearly a third for Scotland who are on top both in terms of scoreline and performance. McGinn whips in a free-kick that beats Kepa but hits the crossbar rather than find the back of the net.

09:02 PM

53 mins: Scotland 2-0 Spain

This Scotland game plan is working a treat and that's because when they've been on the ball they've been more than capable of keeping it and putting Spain under pressure. That was sort of the same as the opener - when they've had the chance the hosts have been direct in the opposition half and asked many a question of the visitors' defence.

08:55 PM


Scotland 2-0 Spain (McTominay)

Again the Scottish threat comes down from the left, and again it's McTominay with the finish.

Tierney skins Carvajal, drives into the final third before delivering a pretty poor cross. But it doesn't matter as Garcia deflects it into the path of McTominay who has turned into Erling Haaland, the Manchester United man again finishing brilliantly to find the back of the net.

08:54 PM

49 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Decent enough start to this half for Scotland as Christie wins a free-kick in the final third on the right. Can they create anything from this?

The long and short answer is 'no'. Spain clear the initial ball into the box, it comes out to Christie and his shot trickles wide.

08:52 PM

47 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Apparently Scharer has been replaced by his fellow Swiss, Lukas Fahndrich.

08:50 PM

45 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

They're back under way in Glasgow and there have been a few changes...Carvajal and Williams are on for Spain in place of Porro and Oyarzabal.

Sandro Schärer the ref has also not returned. The Swiss has a muscular injury and has had to be replaced. I didn't catch the name of his replacement, sorry...

08:38 PM

HALF-TIME: Scotland 1-0 Spain

What an all-action end to an exciting raucous half. It's been great to watch, action at both ends, edge-of-the-seat stuff. It's gone the way of the hosts who nicked the early goal, have nearly added to it. Scotland are well worth their lead. Positive signs for Steve Clarke's side.

08:36 PM

47 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Porro is out on the right, he tires to pull the ball back into the Scotland box. It's a bit aimless and Scotland win the ball, look up and through Tierney boot the ball route-one style up field. Dykes races onto the ball, beating Garcia in the process. He's one-on-one, takes a good touch before just chipping the ball over the bar.

08:31 PM

45 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

There will be two minutes added time.

08:29 PM

41 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Important that Scotland keep it 1-0 until the break. They're keeping their shape well and happy to give Spain the ball.

08:26 PM

Got his scoring boots on

08:26 PM

38 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Spain are going down a bit too easily here. The latest exhibit is Joselu falling as if struck by lightning in the box. It goes to Var who concludes it's not a penalty but doesn't consider that a dive, which to this eye it was...

08:23 PM

35 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Good chance for Scotland - Christie gets in behind the Spain defence on the left before delivering a cross too long for those in the middle. Scotland regroup and get the ball to McTominay in the box who plays a cute ball that Spain deal with well, conceding a corner in the process. McGinn delivers two consecutive corners that really ask questions of the visitors and get the crowd going in the process. Spain deal with both well but they know they are facing a tough challenge tonight.

08:21 PM

32 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

This match is getting a bit heated - the ball is delivered to the edge of the Spain box. Dykes goes up for the header and in doing so just catches Garcia who goes down like a man clobbered by Mike Tyson. Dykes is shown a yellow card for his troubles.

08:18 PM

30 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Porro is getting booed by the home fans every time he touches the ball - they were less than impressed with his antics during that tussle with Robertson.

08:16 PM

28 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Spain are putting the hosts under some sustained pressure here - first a header is flashed over from a corner. Then a minute or so later a Porro shot from distance goes just high a wide. Scotland need to weather this storm for a bit.

08:14 PM

24 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

A bit of embarrassment for Porro - the Spain player goes over as though he's been hit by a Tyson Fury haymaker. The replay shows that during the tangle with Robertson he was hardly touched. Both, for some reason known only to the ref, are shown the yellow card.

08:12 PM

22 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Much better from Spain - no sooner had I written that they were lacking penetration than they create a great chance. Initially Ceballos delivers a great ball from the left that Joselu misses. But the ball comes back into the danger area from the right where it finds Joselu again and this time his header finds the crossbar.

08:08 PM

19 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Decent chance for Spain. Gaya curls a ball in from the left where it finds Joselu but his header is straight at Angus Gunn.

So far Spain are being the Spain of the World Cup - lots of possession but very little penetration.

08:06 PM

18 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Spain have been, as they can tend to be, a bit ponderous and predictable on the ball so far. It's easy for Scotland to defend against.

08:03 PM

Super Scott McTominay!

08:02 PM

12 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Great play for McGinn in the middle of the park sets Christie up, there's plenty of movement ahead of him pulling defenders away. Christie drives at the Spain box before pulling the trigger, but alas, his toe poke (not David Narey-sque) goes just wide of the right upright. Scotland are giving Spain plenty to think about.

07:59 PM

10 mins: Scotland 1-0 Spain

Spain have had a fair bit of possession since the opening goal - Ceballos the key man, always playing with his head up, looking for the through ball. Scotland will need to get touch tight on him.

07:53 PM


Scotland 1-0 Spain (McTominay)

Having retained possession they then attack down the left again. Porro claims the ball but, under pressure from the energetic Robertson, the Spurs man slips allowing the Liverpool player to get to the byline before pulling back for McTominay. The Manchester United midfielder scored two at the weekend against Cyrpus and is seemingly full of confidence as he hits this one first time into the back of the net. Great finish and a great start for the hosts.

07:52 PM

6 mins: Scotland 0-0 Spain

Tierney and Robertson are at the heart of some decent, controlled possession down the left for the hosts. They ultimately loose the ball, but retain it - good early signs for the hosts.

07:49 PM

4 mins: Scotland 0-0 Spain

Spain yet to get in the match - Tottenham's Porro plays a long, aimless ball down the right that goes over the byline for a goal kick.

07:48 PM

2 mins: Scotland 0-0 Spain

It's damp and blustery in Glasgow, you suspect that will suit the hosts more than the Spanish, but time will tell. As I type Dykes has a shot from outside the box after he's played in by McGinn. The ref, Sandro Scharer, has let a couple of tough challenges go, another one you think will suit Scotland more than the visitors.

07:45 PM

1 min: Scotland 0-0 Spain

And they're under way in Glasgow, both teams in their first-choice and famous navy blue and vibrant red shirts, no garish away kit in sight.

07:43 PM

The teams are out on the pitch

And it's national anthem time - two decent national tunes here, not bangers, but emotional nonetheless. As you'd expect Flower of Scotland is sung with gusto by the home fans.

07:38 PM

More on those teams

So Spain have made as many as eight changes from the XI that started the 3-0 win over Norway. Among those to come in are Espanyol striker Joselu, who  makes his first international start at the age of 32. He came off the bench to score two at the weekend. The entire defence is changed as Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Aymeric Laporte, and Alejandro Balde make way for Pedro Porro, David Garcia, Inigo Martinez, and Jose Gaya.

For Scotland Lyndon Dykes comes in for the injured Che Adams in attack. As expected, Scott McTominay is on from the start after his brace against Cyprus, while Ryan Christie also comes into the hosts XI.

Spain's Joselu is in from the start tonight - Getty Images/Stu Forster
Spain's Joselu is in from the start tonight - Getty Images/Stu Forster

07:26 PM

Mature (for a debut)

07:24 PM

The two teams in black and white

SCOTLAND XI TO FACE SPAIN: Gunn, Porteous, Hanley, Tierney, Hickey, McTominay, McGregor, McGinn, Robertson, Christie, Dykes. Subs: Cooper, Brown, Clark, Gilmour, Ferguson, McLean, Kelly, Hyam, Patterson, Armstrong, Jack, Shankland.

SPAIN XI TO FACE SCOTLAND: Arrizabalaga, Porro, Garcia, Martinez, Gaya, Rodri, Merino, Pino, Ceballos, Oyarzabal, Joselu. Subs: Zubimendi, Gavi, Laporte, Williams, Fabian, Morata, Carvajal, Sanchez, Nacho, Iglesias, Raya, Aspas.

REFEREE: Sandro Scharer (Switzerland)

07:20 PM

The Scotland XI

07:14 PM

Spain ready for Scotland test

New Spain coach Luis de la Fuente is confident his side can overcome what he thinks is going to be a tough, physical test at Hampden Park this evening.

De la Fuente got his reign off to a promising start with a 3-0 home win against Norway on Saturday, though victory was only assured after to two late strikes from 33-year-old debutant Joselu, and the coach appeared lukewarm about the performance despite the scoreline.

De la Fuente, who took over from Luis Enrique following the World Cup in Qatar, said he has warmed to the showing since.

"The feeling is always better after seeing it (on video) than on the field. I am very optimistic about what we are doing," De la Fuente he said.

"I am very critical on the field but more positive things came out of the game than bad things.

"I am now more optimistic because we have had time (together as a squad). We have detected many things to work on. Of course, we have to improve, but I saw a team committed, excited and hungry to win."

Scotland have not beaten Spain since 1984, but De la Fuente has seen recent progress in Tuesday’s opponents and is taking nothing for granted.

"It's an important and difficult match against a powerful rival, with many (English) Premier League players. That speaks to the level of the squad," he said.

"There is no small rival these days. That is not a cliché and is especially true at international level. They will bring aggressiveness, intensity and quality.

"Scotland has evolved a lot (as a team), they are no longer so direct and aerial. They have good circulation (of the ball). We are prepared for it, for any scenario.

"The goal is to be first in the group, but it won't be easy."

Stay here for all the pre-match build-up and action with kick-off set for 7.45.