Scotland v Georgia: Craig Beattie warns of stubborn opponents

Craig Beattie celebrates his winning goal against Georgia in 2007
Beattie's late winner against Georgia was the striker's only international goal in seven appearances
Scotland v Georgia - European Championship qualifying
Venue: Ibrox Stadium Date: Saturday, 11 October Kick-off: 17:00
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland & online. Live text coverage on BBC Sport website

Craig Beattie scored a late winner for Scotland the last time Georgia visited and the striker thinks it could be another tight affair on Saturday.

The 30-year-old, now at Ayr United, struck on 88 minutes for a 2-1 success at Hampden back in 2007.

"As a team they were very compact, very hard to break down," Beattie told BBC Radio Scotland.

"They don't over-commit and it's very difficult to play against these middle-to-smaller nations."

Beattie replaced Kris Boyd, who had scored the opener that day, with Shota Arveladze levelling the game.

And despite Beattie's recollections of a stuffy game, the visitors created a few good openings, with a Zurab Khizanishvili header hitting the crossbar.

"I don't think they have enough individual quality to do anything else, so they get together as a solid unit," added Beattie of the Georgian style.

"They are also tactically astute and technically good.

"We had to win to keep the campaign alive and it Alex McLeish's first game as manager, so it was important."

Craig Beattie on his international debut
"I got a yellow card before I had touched the ball for Scotland!"

Scotland memorably did the double over France in the race for places at Euro 2008 but a 2-0 defeat in Tbilisi in the penultimate game was to prove costly.

"The pitch was horrific over there," remembered Beattie. "The mud was up to your shins."

That set up a stirring final match with Italy at Hampden, which the Scots lost 2-1 and McLeish's men, who were not playing the final round of fixtures, finished third in Group B, two points behind the French, with the Italians taking top spot.

Three of Beattie's seven caps came against Italy, including his first appearance for his country.

"It's not like me but I was actually a bit nervous," he recalls of his debut. "I went to take the ball in just as I came on as a substitute and I was backing off to feel the defender, and he's stepped back.

"So I lost my balance and elbowed Fabio Cannavaro in the face and I got a yellow card before I had touched the ball for Scotland!"

Beattie has played for 13 clubs since his only international goal and this season he has netted three goals in four games for the Honest Men.

"A lot of them were loan deals," explains the former Celtic, West Brom and Swansea forward. "Once you get into that top league in England it's difficult to play a lot of matches so sometimes loan deals are the only option for getting back out there.

"I've had a good career. I've got 11 winners medals and I'm pretty sure there won't be anyone else in the country with as many as that. I've enjoyed it and I'm still looking to win more."

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