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Summary

  1. Snodgrass (3), Chris Martin and Fletcher score for Scotland
  2. Alfred Effiong finds net for Malta
  3. Malta have Caruana and Gambin sent off
  4. Scotland secure winning start on road to Russia 2018

Live Reporting

By Colin Moffat

All times stated are UK

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Solid start for Scotland

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

I'll say goodbye now on what was a good night for Scotland. Top of Group F with a healthy goals for balance, you can't ask for any more.

There were a few shaky moments in the first hour but there were a number of positives, not least the return of Robert Snodgrass, who helped himself to a memorable hat-trick.

Thanks for your company and all of your contributions.

Robert Snodgrass
SNS
Snodgrass was Scotland's man-of-the-match in Malta

Strachan happy with Scots attitude

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan: "We played closer to each other in the second half and their mentality shone and their ability shone. It's been a good night; stressful at one point.

"We're lucky we have a bunch of lads that can deal with the anxiety that manifests itself at 1-1.

"I thought Barry Bannan was excellent under pressure, Matt Ritchie, Robert Snodgrass and Darren Fletcher as well."

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

We're still waiting to hear from Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. He needs to hurry up, the BBC Radio Scotland team are getting a tad carried away, plotting our road to Russia in 2018. It's a good start but much stiffer tests await...

The view from a Malta fan....

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

'That will do nicely'

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

Rob Maclean

BBC Scotland

"That was a much more relaxed end to the game than I think we were expecting after a sometimes twitchy first half. Chances taken after the interval. Penalty gift helped. And two red cards for Malta. But three points and five goals will do nicely. Snodgrass and Ritchie were big players."  

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

In his post-match assessment, Malta boss Pietro Ghedin is full of praise for Scotland and demonstrates commendable restraint when asked about the performance of the referee.  

"You need to go for 90 minutes, not 45 or 60," says the Italian.

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Let's not get too overexcited. Game needed a penalty and red to finish it. A penny for our 'competitors' Slovakia's thoughts on some of our defending. Marek Hamsik rubbing his hands in anticipation?

Merrick, Aberdeen
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Hosts unhappy

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

Penalty incident
SNS
Game changer - Chris Martin goes down, Scotland awarded a penalty and Malta reduced to 10 men

Malta were absolutely seething with a sense of injustice during that second half. They felt the ball should have been knocked out of play for a foul in the build up to Scotland's second goal and the penalty and red card for the third will need an X-Files investigation since it was so bizarre.

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

I hope Robert Snodgrass got his hands on the match ball as a memento of his hat-trick. Referee Yevhen Aranovskiy of Ukraine was not for giving it up after blowing the final whistle.

There's probably some daft Fifa protocol banning an exchange on the pitch.

Job done

FT: Malta 1-5 Scotland

Well, we may have been grumbling a bit at half time but Scotland are now perched nicely at the top of Group F.

There was a degree of fortune about it, with the opener a cross that drifted in and the penalty for the third was simply crazy but there's no doubt Scotland merit three points.

Who next? Lithuania at Hampden on 8 October.

FULL-TIME Malta 1-5 Scotland

Scotland celebrate
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Scotland pick up maximum points from their opening World Cup qualifier

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RED CARD

Malta 1-5 Scotland

It just gets worse for the hosts... Luke Gambin is sent packing for a nasty kick at hat-trick hero Robert Snodgrass. He actually had two swipes after the pair had slid in to contest a ball in the centre circle. That's Malta down to nine men.

Malta 1-5 Scotland

The table looks pretty good at the moment...

League table
BBC

Sitting pretty

Malta 1-5 Scotland

Rob Maclean

BBC Scotland

"Let's freeze that Group F table right there. Scotland on top. England playing second fiddle after that lucky late goal in Slovakia."

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Malta 1-5 Scotland

Last change for Scotland and Ikechi Anya will get a run out, replacing Matt Ritchie, who played the pass of the night for the second goal.

GOAL Malta 1-5 Scotland

Robert Snodgrass

And the hat-trick arrives! Steven Fletcher surges forward and clips the crossbar with a deft, angled chip. Robert Snodgrass is first to the loose ball and is cool enough to dummy a defender on the line before slotting in his third goal of the evening. Take a bow Snoddy!

Malta 1-4 Scotland

Robert Snodgrass really wants that hat-trick. With his back to goal, the Hull City midfielder swivels nicely and thumps a shot wide from 20 yards.

GOAL Malta 1-4 Scotland

Steven Fletcher

Matt Ritchie's cross from the right takes a nick off a defender and there are three Scots waiting for it in the six yard box, with Steven Fletcher thumping in a header ahead of Callum Paterson and Robert Snodgrass, who is chasing a hat-trick.

Steven Fletcher celebrates his goal
SNS

Malta 1-3 Scotland

James Forrest has had a new lease of life at Celtic this season and the substitute is busy straight away, creating space for an inviting cross that just eludes his fellow replacement Steven Fletcher.

'Imaginary trip'

Malta 1-3 Scotland

Rob Maclean

BBC Scotland

"The Ukrainian ref obviously thought he should have given that earlier penalty. He's given a spot kick for an imaginary trip on Martin. And a red card bonusball."

Another Scotland change as striker Chris Martin is replaced by Steven Fletcher. 

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Malta 1-3 Scotland

Scotland make a change, with James Forrest on for Oliver Burke. The teenager has shown glimpses of real promise on his competitive debut.

GOAL Malta 1-3 Scotland

Robert Snodgrass

It was never a penalty but Robert Snodgrass cares not one jot as he tucks the ball in the corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.

RED CARD & PENALTY

Malta 1-2 Scotland

Andy Robertson is in the clear and sends a low cross in the direction of Chris Martin in front of goal. A defender in red does brilliantly to slide in and divert the ball wide but the referee points to the spot for an apparent foul on Martin. All very odd but Jonathan Caruana is away for an early bath and Robert Snodgrass is standing over the spot-kick.

Cool play from Martin

Malta 1-2 Scotland

Rob Maclean

BBC Scotland

"Scotland should have had a penalty for trip on Burke. But now they've got a second goal anyway. Pinpoint pass I think you call that from Matt Ritchie. And...ah..that's where Chris Martin's been. Waiting for a tap-in for 2-1."

GOAL Malta 1-2 Scotland

Chris Martin

Matt Ritchie puts it on a plate for Chris Martin with a fabulous curling pass into the penalty area. The big striker slides in to finish.

That's Martin's second international goal. The first came against Gibraltar. Hammer of the Minnows?

Chris Martin scores for Scotland
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PENALTY APPEAL

Malta 1-1 Scotland

Oliver Burke has his heels clipped by Malta left-back Joseph Zerafa and the referee has a long think about it before shaking his head.

Malta 1-1 Scotland

The Scottish defence is sliced open as Andre Schembri is found in the six yard box by a fierce cross. He's offside but David Marshall doesn't know that and makes a remarkable save, although he might not have known too much about it. 

Malta 1-1 Scotland

Chris Martin, who was anonymous in the first half, turns well after receiving a throw-in and spears an angled strike high over the target from 20 yards.

KICK-OFF

Malta 1-1 Scotland

The second half is up and running. No changes in personnel for either team.

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Bannon off, Anya on. Put Anya left wing & Ritchie over to right wing with Snodgrass into centre. Give Burke another 10 mins then fletcher on up front.

Alan, Eyemouth

Strachan Must Go. The players clearly aren't responding to him. Enough is enough. We should be blowing these guys away. Will someone at the SFA please send out the SOS for Walter Smith.

Paul, Dunfermline

As it stands...

HT: Malta 1-1 Scotland

Just a reminder that England are currently top of Group F after their 1-0 win in Slovakia. Lithuania and Slovenia played out a 2-2 draw.

Defensive woes continue

HT: Malta 1-1 Scotland

Rob Maclean

BBC Scotland

"That's maybe what we expected in the first half. Scotland continue to be suspect in defence. But a handful of good chances carved out at the other end. Snodgrass missed the best of them. We need to grab this game by the scruff of the neck in the second half."