Wales breathed life into their hopes of reaching the World Cup finals with a hard fought 2-1 win over Scotland at Hampden Park, despite an injury to Gareth Bale.
The Spurs winger was forced into withdrawing at half-time due to an ankle injury aggravated by a challenge from Scotland defender Grant Hanley.
The result consigns Gordon Strachan to defeat in his first competitive game in charge of the national team and leaves them slumped firmly at the foot of Group A without a single victory to their name, as Wales rise to third.
Scotland had not won a competitive fixture at Hampden since a victory over Lithuania in September 2011 and The Tartan Army did not have much to warm themselves with early on as snow fell on the south side of Glasgow.
Wales started the brighter of the two sides, forcing the Scots deep into their own half as Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu caused problems for the home side.
The mood inside the national stadium was not improved when Steven Fletcher was stretchered off the pitch after landing awkwardly after challenging for a header, with Kenny Miller replacing the Sunderland striker.
However, for all of Wales’ pressure and dominance Hanley gave the Scots the lead in stoppage time of the first half, meeting an in-swinging Charlie Mulgrew corner kick to power a header past Boaz Myhill in the Wales goal.
Bale failed to reappear for the second half, with Jonathan Williams replacing the winger, much to the relief of those of a Scottish persuasion inside Hampden.
Scotland emerged for the second half looking revitalized by their manager’s words and Norwich attacker Robert Snodgrass almost doubled the Scots’ advantage within minutes of the restart, curling an effort from 20 yards onto the inside of the upright.
With Wales seemingly running short of ideas Snodgrass was shown a second yellow after bringing down Chris Gunter inside the box and Aaron Ramsey smashed the resulting penalty in off the underside of the bar.
Ten-man Scotland still appeared shell-shocked at losing their lead and a player when they conceded a second as Robson-Kanu turned the game on its head, powering a header past Allan McGregor to give the visitors the lead.
Strachan introduced Jordan Rhodes in an attempt to recover the scoreline but despite Ramsey being shown a straight red for dragging down James McArthur as he charged down a stray ball the home side did not threaten an equaliser with Wales holding on for what could prove to be a crucial win.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales): The Reading attacker provided an effective outlet for Wales all evening, topping off his impressive display by netting the winner. While Scotland were focused on stopping Gareth Bale perhaps they should have paid more attention to the man on the other wing.
SCOTLAND: McGregor 5, Hutton 4, Caldwell 6, Hanley 8, Mulgrew 5, McArthur 5, Burke 6, Snodgrass 5, Dorrans 5, Fletcher 2, Maloney 7; Subs: Miller 6, Adam 4, Rhodes N/A. WALES: Myhill 5, Gunter 6, Ricketts 7, Williams 6, Davies 6, edley 6, Collison 5, Ramsey 7, Bellamy 7, Bale 5, Robson-Kanu 8; Subs: Williams 7, Church N/A, King 6.
- Sports & Recreation
- Gareth Bale