World Cup Qualifying - European - Group A
ScotlandScotland2CroatiaCroatia0

Scotland 2-0 Croatia

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland's senior football reporter at Hampden

Scotland ended another unsuccessful qualification campaign with a tremendous victory over Croatia.

Robert Snodgrass, who became a father at the end of last week, celebrated in style with a headed opener, to add to his winner in Zagreb in June.

The tireless Steven Naismith grabbed the second on his 25th international appearance, following up as Barry Bannan's penalty was saved.

Scotland's first home win in Group A lifts them above Wales, into fourth.

The performance, above all, leaves Scotland with good reason for optimism as far as Euro 2016 qualification is concerned.

They have recorded three wins since Gordon Strachan took over from Craig Levein - two against Croatia and one in Macedonia.

But supporters leaving Hampden on Tuesday night may wonder what might have been had Strachan been in place from the beginning.

The Scots' opening goal was a delicious blend of graft and craft - in many ways typifying Strachan's Scotland.

Charlie Mulgrew did brilliantly to win possession on the half-way line before setting Naismith haring down the left.

Mulgrew continued his run, picked up on Naismith's perfectly-weighted return pass to send a high, hanging cross to the back post where Snodgrass showed greater desire than Dejan Lovren to head down past Stipe Pletikosa.

Scotland's half-time lead could have been greater, but for a fingertip save by Pletikosa from another Snodgrass effort minutes later.

It was the culmination of a wonderful, flowing move involving Mulgrew, James Morrison and Scott Brown as the Scots' confidence flourished.

Steven Naismith celebrates his goal
Steven Naismith celebrates scoring Scotland's second goal against the Group A runners-up

Scotland continued to cope fairly comfortably as Croatia probed for an equaliser, with a counter-attacking game suiting the home side.

But with the game still very much in the balance, Scotland were awarded a penalty as Ikechi Anya tumbled under the challenge of Domagoj Vida.

And though Pletikosa saved superbly from Bannan's spot kick, Naismith reacted quickest to slot the rebound past the despairing keeper.

For all of Croatia's ability on the ball, they failed to make Allan McGregor work to any great degree.

There was a moment of panic when substitute Eduardo rounded the Hull City goalkeeper, having escaped the attentions of Grant Hanley, but he was forced wide and managed only to shoot into the side-netting.

McGregor was similarly untroubled in the first half, with Mario Mandzukic passing up the visitors' best opportunities.

He looked likely to score when he took advantage of a breakdown in communication between Hanley and Mulgrew, only for Anya to make a crucial intervention as Mandzukic prepared to shoot.

And when he did manage a shot at goal shortly afterwards, his volley bounced into the ground and up over the bar.

The Croatians flattered to deceive at times and if they are to reach the World Cup via the play-offs, their performance will have to significantly improve.

As for the Scots, they will be waiting impatiently for the next qualifying campaign to begin.

Line-ups

Scotland

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Hutton
  • 4Martin
  • 5Hanley
  • 3Mulgrew
  • 6BannanSubstituted forBurkeat 89'minutes
  • 7Brown
  • 8MorrisonBooked at 55mins
  • 11AnyaSubstituted forDorransat 77'minutes
  • 10SnodgrassSubstituted forMcArthurat 82'minutes
  • 9Naismith

Substitutes

  • 12Marshall
  • 14McArthur
  • 15Burke
  • 16Adam
  • 17Dorrans
  • 18Griffiths
  • 19McCormack
  • 20Boyd
  • 21Gilks
  • 22Greer
  • 23Bryson

Croatia

  • 1Pletikosa
  • 21Vida
  • 5Corluka
  • 6Lovren
  • 2Strinic
  • 8VukojevicBooked at 46mins
  • 11Srna
  • 19KranjcarSubstituted forPerisicat 69'minutes
  • 10Modric
  • 17MandzukicSubstituted forJelavicat 80'minutes
  • 14N KalinicSubstituted forAlves da Silvaat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Pivaric
  • 4Perisic
  • 9Jelavic
  • 12Kresic
  • 13Schildenfeld
  • 16Ademi
  • 18Olic
  • 20Maloca
  • 22Alves da Silva
  • 23Vargic
Referee:
Ovidiu Hategan
Attendance:
30,172

Match Stats

Home TeamScotlandAway TeamCroatia
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home10
Away16
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home1
Away4
Fouls
Home18
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Scotland 2, Croatia 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Scotland 2, Croatia 0.

  3. Post update

    Ognjen Vukojevic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Scotland).

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Steven Naismith (Scotland) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Graham Dorrans with a cross.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Scotland. Chris Burke replaces Barry Bannan.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Ivan Strinic (Croatia).

  8. Post update

    Scott Brown (Scotland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Vedran Corluka (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Grant Hanley.

  11. Post update

    Vedran Corluka (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Steven Naismith (Scotland).

  13. Post update

    Offside, Croatia. Vedran Corluka tries a through ball, but Eduardo is caught offside.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Nikica Jelavic (Croatia) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nikica Jelavic.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Scotland. James McArthur replaces Robert Snodgrass.

  16. Post update

    Ognjen Vukojevic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Robert Snodgrass (Scotland).

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Croatia. Nikica Jelavic replaces Mario Mandzukic.

  19. Post update

    Offside, Croatia. Darijo Srna tries a through ball, but Eduardo is caught offside.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Vedran Corluka (Croatia) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is blocked. Assisted by Dejan Lovren.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Tuesday 15th October 2013

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