Scotland: Five things we learned from Lithuania World Cup qualifying draw

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan covers his head in his hands against Lithuania
Can't bear to look? Scotland's draw with Lithuania ramped up the pressure on Gordon Strachan

So the Must-Win pressure doesn't go away for Scotland. It just moves on. To Slovakia on Tuesday night.

Most of us thought beating Lithuania (117th in the world rankings) at Hampden was essential to our World Cup qualification hopes. Well let's hope it wasn't. I'm trying desperately to remain positive.

I suppose if someone had offered us four points from this October double-header, after an emphatic victory in Malta, we'd have taken that. That would be seven out of a possible nine.

But to get to seven, as you'll have worked out yourselves, we now need to beat the Slovaks on their home patch.

That, I think, would keep our chances alive. Otherwise, we're going to be relying on outside assistance and complex arithmetical equations as a means of reaching Russia in the summer of 2018.

Hampden Park unusually quiet

It looked like a good turnout at the national stadium. And the official attendance figure of 35,956 backed that up. A crowd number surely not to be sniffed at.

But there were times at Hampden on Saturday night when you could have heard a point, sorry, pin drop.

A Scotland fan cheers against Lithuania
Scotland fans had too few reasons to cheer at Hampden Park

Scotland supporters are not naturally that quiet. But they needed something to lift their spirits. And any crumb of comfort against Lithuania was a long time coming.

The first half was, largely, a non-event and the atmosphere reflected that. Flat as a pancake.

And when, eventually, the new goal anthem got its first airing in the 89th minute, the strains of "Bits & Pieces" were drowned out by a communal sigh of relief.

The other obvious element of the Hampden soundtrack, minimal maybe but clearly audible, was a chorus of booing.

'Natural' Griffiths deserves chance

Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths speaks to the referee against Lithuania
Griffiths was unhappy at having a late penalty claim turned down

Leigh Griffiths was screaming out to be in the Scotland starting line-up. Literally screaming out, knowing him.

I don't just say that with the benefit of hindsight. The Celtic striker was in my team on the pre-match BBC predictor and he was probably in lots of yours too.

You might say he'd missed seven club games ahead of Hampden but I actually saw that as a plus for the inclusion of Griffiths. He was going to be champing at the bit to play.

And he's a natural-born goalscorer. Yes, when Griffiths eventually came off the bench he had a free header in front of goal which he failed to convert.

But, had he been on the pitch long enough for another couple of chances, I'm certain he would have taken one of them.

Scots must get more attempts on goal

The biggest condemnation of the Scottish performance has to be the number of serious saves made by Lithuanian goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus.

Ernie's had busier evenings. In fact, there was no super stop required all night long as Scotland struggled to create enough cast-iron chances in front of goal.

Callum Paterson heads just wide from a free-kick
Callum Paterson went close with an early header from a free-kick

Grant Hanley, Callum Paterson and Chris Martin all went close. There was that Griffiths header and James Forrest dragged a shot wide of the gaping goal. But there were too few attempts on target.

And Lithuania had opportunities to score more than the one goal they got.

Fedor Cernych might have helped himself to a double as a bread-and-butter long ball beat the Scotland defence and a three-against-two counter attack late on could have left us with no points at all.

Defensive vulnerability and attacking predictability weren't a great combination on the night.

'Special' Robertson deserved better

Scotland left-back Andy Robertson controls the ball against Lithuania
Robertson's attacking forays were a highlight of Scotland's display

Let's end with the good news. Left-back Andy Robertson is on his way to becoming something special.

I have to admit I left him out of my predictor line-up so I could squeeze in Kieran Tierney which probably confirms how effective a manager I'd be.

Robertson who, three years ago was a Queen's Park player, stood out a mile as Scotland's top performer against Lithuania, constantly threatening down the flank.

He already plays in the English Premier League but better teams than Hull City will be casting envious eyes towards him on the back of displays like that.

Robertson deserved better from some of those around him on Saturday. And they'll need to be much better in Trnava on Tuesday to keep this qualification show on the road.

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