World Cup Qualifying - European - Group F
Lithuania0Scotland3

Lithuania 0-3 Scotland: Gordon Strachan's side breath new life into World Cup campaign

Scotland's Andrew Robertson (centre) celebrates his goal against Lithuania
Andrew Robertson (centre) scored a superb second goal for Scotland

Scotland breathed fresh life into their World Cup qualifying campaign with a convincing win away to Lithuania.

There had been chances missed at both ends by the time Stuart Armstrong rose to head the visitors into a deserved lead after 25 minutes.

It wasn't long before Andrew Robertson topped that with a sublime looping drive from just outside the box.

Scotland's pace and control dropped after the break, but James McArthur prodded in a third to settle the game.

The win moves Gordon Strachan's side ahead of Slovenia, who lost 1-0 away to Slovakia, into third place in Group F on goal difference.

But they remain four points adrift of the second-top Slovaks thanks to an Adam Nemec goal nine minutes from time in Trnva, while England retain their two-point cushion at the top after their 4-0 win in Malta.

The beginning of this impressive Scotland victory was pretty frantic. Inside the first 20 minutes, there could have been three or four goals, with Leigh Griffiths, Armstrong - two of six Celtic players who started - and Matt Phillips all going close at one end and, after McArthur gifted Lithuania possession, Arvydas Novikovas almost making the breakthrough at the other.

Scotland's Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths
Stuart Armstrong (left) scored his first goal for Scotland

That was a scary moment for Scotland. Novikovas really ought to have scored rather than pulling his shot wide of Craig Gordon's right-hand post.

And there was another soon after when Novikovas again launched a free-kick that was heading for the top left corner of Gordon's net until the Celtic goalkeeper flung himself across goal and pushed it away.

From that moment, though, Scotland took over. They were slick and dangerous, playing at a tempo that Lithuania found hard to cope with.

It was substantial stuff from them, the best they have played in a game of this importance for quite some time.

The opener was deserved when it came, a simple enough affair from a Griffiths corner that was nutted home by Armstrong, a top performer all night for Scotland. It was the Celtic man's first goal for his country. Beautifully timed too.

Five minutes later, there was a second - and it was a beauty. Scotland countered from their own penalty box, sweeping down the left-hand side through Phillips.

When James Forrest played it to the outstanding Robertson, the Liverpool full-back was decisive and deadly. His sumptuous shot from distance gave Ernestas Setkus in the Lithuania goal no chance.

Group F table

It was his second international goal and the first by a Liverpool Scot in a competitive match since Kenny Dalglish in 1984.

All of this not only made the Scotland fans go delirious but also there might have been some wistful chat in their massed ranks. Why could the Scots not have produced this kind of excellence the last time these sides met - the damaging 1-1 draw at Hampden Park in October?

Scotland did awful harm to their qualification hopes that night. They've got a massive amount of work left to do in the group, but their hopes are just about alive.

The second half here wasn't as action-packed as the first - Scotland played it out with maturity - but there were more chances out there. Griffiths hit the side-netting, Vykintas Slivka should have scored for Lithuania, Forrest and Armstrong also had shots - and then the third goal came.

Lithuania's defenders looked vulnerable all night, their discomfort glaringly obvious when Scotland scored again. Kieran Tierney and Griffiths were involved, the striker finding McArthur, who put it away while the home team had a befuddled look.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Gordon Strachan says Scotland's energy "blew Lithuania away"

The only downer for Scotland was the news of Slovakia's victory, a result that does much to strengthen their chances of taking that play-off place.

Scotland may have left it too late to find their best stuff in this group, but at least they're in form now. And they're fighting.

Line-ups

Lithuania

  • 16Setkus
  • 20Borovskis
  • 3Freidgeimas
  • 4Kijanskas
  • 8Vaitkunas
  • 18ZulpaSubstituted forSpalvisat 68'minutes
  • 17Kuklys
  • 14SlivkaSubstituted forVerbickasat 79'minutes
  • 11Novikovas
  • 22CernychBooked at 79mins
  • 10SernasSubstituted forMatuleviciusat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Zubas
  • 2Klimavicius
  • 5Slavickas
  • 6Grigaravicius
  • 7Verbickas
  • 9Matulevicius
  • 12Cerniauskas
  • 13Silenas
  • 15Girdvainis
  • 19Spalvis
  • 21Beneta
  • 23Vorobjovas

Scotland

  • 1Gordon
  • 2Tierney
  • 4Berra
  • 5MulgrewBooked at 67mins
  • 3Robertson
  • 8Brown
  • 11ForrestSubstituted forRitchieat 66'minutes
  • 7ArmstrongSubstituted forMcGinnat 85'minutes
  • 6McArthur
  • 10Phillips
  • 9GriffithsSubstituted forMartinat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12McGregor
  • 13Anya
  • 14Ritchie
  • 15Hanley
  • 16Bannan
  • 17Naismith
  • 18Morrison
  • 19Martin
  • 20Fraser
  • 21Archer
  • 22McGinn
  • 23Whittaker
Referee:
Carlos del Cerro Grande
Attendance:
5,067

Match Stats

Home TeamLithuaniaAway TeamScotland
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home8
Away23
Shots on Target
Home3
Away7
Corners
Home2
Away4
Fouls
Home15
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Lithuania 0, Scotland 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Lithuania 0, Scotland 3.

Attempt blocked. Matt Phillips (Scotland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Brown.

Offside, Scotland. Chris Martin tries a through ball, but Matt Ritchie is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Chris Martin (Scotland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Matt Phillips.

Hand ball by Ovidijus Verbickas (Lithuania).

Foul by Chris Martin (Scotland).

Georgas Freidgeimas (Lithuania) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Matt Phillips (Scotland).

Valdemaras Borovskis (Lithuania) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Charlie Mulgrew (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Deivydas Matulevicius (Lithuania).

James McArthur (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Spalvis (Lithuania).

Foul by James McArthur (Scotland).

Mantas Kuklys (Lithuania) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. John McGinn replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Foul by James McArthur (Scotland).

Ovidijus Verbickas (Lithuania) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Lithuania. Deivydas Matulevicius replaces Darvydas Sernas.

Matt Phillips (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Valdemaras Borovskis (Lithuania).

Offside, Scotland. Matt Phillips tries a through ball, but Chris Martin is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. Chris Martin replaces Leigh Griffiths.

Substitution

Substitution, Lithuania. Ovidijus Verbickas replaces Vykintas Slivka.

Booking

Fedor Cernych (Lithuania) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Matt Phillips (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fedor Cernych (Lithuania).

Attempt missed. Matt Ritchie (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Scott Brown.

Attempt blocked. Matt Phillips (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Stuart Armstrong.

Attempt saved. Darvydas Sernas (Lithuania) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Fedor Cernych.

Goal!

Goal! Lithuania 0, Scotland 3. James McArthur (Scotland) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.

Attempt missed. James McArthur (Scotland) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.

Corner, Lithuania. Conceded by Kieran Tierney.

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Scotland).

Vykintas Slivka (Lithuania) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Lithuania. Lukas Spalvis replaces Arturas Zulpa.

Booking

Charlie Mulgrew (Scotland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Charlie Mulgrew (Scotland).

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 1st September 2017

View all World Cup Qualifying - European results

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France75111551016
2Sweden7412147713
3Bulgaria74031214-212
4Netherlands73131310310
5Belarus7124412-85
6Luxembourg7115717-104

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland77001531221
2Portugal76012742318
3Hungary7313118310
4Faroe Islands7124315-125
5Andorra7115216-144
6Latvia7106315-123

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany77002922721
2Northern Ireland75111421216
3Czech Rep723210739
4Norway7214810-27
5Azerbaijan7214311-87
6San Marino7007133-320

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia6330137612
2R. of Ireland633084412
3Wales61509548
4Austria62229818
5Georgia6033610-43
6Moldova6024415-112

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland75111511416
2Montenegro74121771013
3Denmark7412146813
4Romania72328719
5Armenia7205715-86
6Kazakhstan7025419-152

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England75201421217
2Slovakia7502134915
3Scotland73221210211
4Slovenia732264211
5Lithuania7124614-85
6Malta7007219-170

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain65102131816
2Italy65101841416
3Albania630378-19
4Israel6303912-39
5Macedonia6105813-53
6Liechtenstein6006124-230

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium76103323119
2Greece7340103713
3Bos-Herze7322158711
4Cyprus7313811-310
5Estonia7124517-125
6Gibraltar7007333-300

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia6411112913
2Iceland641196313
3Turkey6321116511
4Ukraine632195411
5Finland6015410-61
6Kosovo6015318-151
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

Top Stories