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Summary

  1. Scotland's first Nations League fixture
  2. Albania lead League C Group 1 after beating Israel
  3. McGregor, O'Donnell, Naismith & Russell start for Scotland

Live Reporting

By Clive Lindsay

All times stated are UK

  1. Bring on Israel

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Despite all the doom and gloom ahead of kick off, Alex McLeish's men make a flying start to their Nations League campaign.

    The head coach's player changes worked wonders and Steven Naismith emerged from the international wilderness to force an own goal off Berat Xhimshiti and score the second himself.

    Scotland end the night topping League C's Group 1 ahead of tonight's visitors, who have played a game more.

    Next stop Israel, who host Northern Ireland in a friendly tomorrow night, on 11 October.

    Steven Naismith celebrates scoring against Albania
    Image caption: Steven Naismith made a superb return to international football
  2. Robertson beats Naismith

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    For the second game in a row, Andy Robertson tops our player rater poll.

    The Liverpool left-back was a constant threat to the Albania defence.

    It is, though, a surprise that he was chosen ahead of Steven Naismith considering the forward scored one and forced the other.

    Taulant Xhaka was top man in the Albanian side.

    Scotland captain Andy Robertson and Steven Naismith
    Image caption: Captain Andy Robertson got more votes than Steven Naismith
    Player rater
  3. McLeish feels vindicated

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Scotland head coach Alex McLeish feels "vindicated" by the decision to make four changes in his side.

    "It was a very good performance," he said. "A great tempo and we had good defensive discipline.

    "We hit them with a whirwind but didn't get that early goal.

    "We were very positive. We have had some recent fixtures against world-class teams and we learned a lot from that.

    "There is great stamina in the team, they are all ripped and they showed their fighting spirit in abundance tonight.

    "People were talking about my win ratio. I was not bothered about that. Let's remember who the opposition were.

    "I know there was a bit of apathy among the fans, but we are the only ones who can change that."

    Scotland head coach Alex McLeish celebrates
  4. Russell surprised to start

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Scotland forward Johnny Russell tells Sky Sports: “It’s always a huge honour to play for your country. I wasn’t really expecting it.

    “I felt we played well. It’s important to get off to a win."

    Asked if the travelling from his club, Sporting Kansas City, to Scotland was a problem, he replied: “It’s not a problem. They look after me here and America.

    “There’s never a distance that’s too far that would make me not want to play for my country.”

    Leigh Griffiths replaces Johnny Russell
    Image caption: Leigh Griffiths came on for Johnny Russell, who had started ahead of him
  5. Naismith praises young Scots

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Scotland forward Steven Naismith on Sky Sports: "Tonight was the business end and I think a lot of credit goes to especially the younger boys.

    "It’s still very early. A lot of the boys haven’t been together that long."

    Asked about whether he should have been credited with two goals rather than one, Naismith replied: "I’m just glad that we won really."

    Steven Naismith
  6. 'Bringing the fun back'

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Tom English

    BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

    Quote Message: There's been a bit of disconnect with the fans. But there's a lot of good players there and, if they keep playing with that enthusiasm and flair, the fans will come back. That was fun
  7. 'We were under pressure - and delivered'

    Ft: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Alex McLeish was in defiant mood at the final whistle.

    "We started really well and had attack after attack. It’s just one of those days I thought nobody would get on the end of something," the Scotland head coach told Sky.

    "We knew we had really tough games in South America - and we took on the Belgians - and we learned an awful lot.

    "I told the players I trusted them to improve on the errors of the Belgium game and they were excellent.

    “This was always the focus.

    “It’s about building a team here. Not papering over cracks.

    “We were under pressure. Everyone said we must win and we did win.”

    Scotland head coach Alex McLeish and Christian Panucci
    Image caption: Alex McLeish shakes hands with Albania's Christian Panucci at the final whistle
  8. Big chance for Scotland

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Tom English

    BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

    Quote Message: Scotland are going to be up against similar sides in this Nations League and, if they put them away like they did Albania tonight, they have qualified. It will be harder away from home, but if they go to Israel and win next month, we'll know something's happening here
  9. How they stand...

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Group
  10. Calling it right

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Alex McLeish made some big calls tonight - and they all rang true.

    Allan McGregor got the nod ahead of Craig Gordon and the Rangers goalkeeper made one fine save to prevent an Albanian equaliser.

    Johnny Russell came in for Stuart Armstrong and the Sporting Kansas City forward injected some extra zip to the attack.

    But the real revelations were Stephen O'Donnell and Steven Naismith.

    O'Donnell was a forgotten man down in England's lower leagues with Luton Town a couple of years ago until his career was resurrected at Kilmarnock and the right-back stepped up this year to the international scene and was a constant threat going forward tonight.

    Then there is Naismith. His career had stalled at Norwich City, out-of-favour, injured, an unimpressive first season on loan at Hearts, but suddenly the forward has started scoring for club and country and it was his two touches that secured tonight's win.

    Scotland's John Souttar and Steven Naismith celebrate
    Image caption: Hearts duo John Souttar and Steven Naismith both had fine games
  11. Come back!

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    A crowd of only 17,500 turned up at Hampden tonight.

    Okay, it is a Monday and that makes it difficult for people to cross the country. It was raining. It came on the back of a bruising battering by Belgium.

    But surely the stay-away members of the Tartan Army will be enthused by what they saw tonight.

  12. Sitting pretty

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Richard Winton

    BBC Sport at Hampden Park

    So Scotland top the group - with a game in hand - before their engagement in Israel next month. This Nations League caper is good craic, huh?

  13. Good odds for the Scots

    FT: Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Willie Miller

    Former Scotland defender on BBC Sportsound

    Quote Message: The question is how Albania perform in their own home ground, which could be very different from this. Taking this as evidence, if Israel are as poor as Albania, I think we've got a real good chance of winning this section
  14. FULL-TIME - Scotland 2-0 Albania

    It all came right on the night for Alex McLeish.

    The Scotland head coach was under pressure before a competitive ball had been kicked in his second spell in charge after three consecutive friendly defeats, culminating in Friday's 4-0 humiliation by Belgium.

    But, with four changes to his side, they dominated Albania from start to finish and Steven Naismith justified his inclusion ahead of Leigh Griffiths up front.

    The Hearts man might be denied the opener seconds after the break as some are giving it as a Berat Xhimshiti own goal after a deflection off the defender.

    However, there was no question about his second, which secured Scotland a victory that takes them to the top of their Nations League group.

    Steven Naismith heads Scotland's second goal
    Image caption: Steven Naismith headed Scotland's second goal
  15. YELLOW CARD Memushaj (Albania)

    Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Ledian Memushaj goes into the referee's book as time runs out for his side.

  16. Mihaj replaces Veseli

    Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Albania make a defensive change, but it won't change the result.

    Enea Mihaj of Panetolikos in Greece comes on for Frederic Veseli of Empoli.

  17. Post update

    Scotland 2-0 Albania

    We are into three minutes of stoppage time...Surely no time for an Albanian comeback.

  18. Scots in a good position

    Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Willie Miller

    Former Scotland defender on BBC Sportsound

    Quote Message: At this moment in time, Scotland just need to take the sting out of the game. They're in good shape, they don't have to dive into challenges, just keep the game in front. If a third one comes, great, But if it stays 2-0 then you take that all day don't you, it's a victory
  19. Albanian fan power

    Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Scotland are winning the football match, but the visitors are superior in the fashion stakes.

    Albanian fan in national dress
  20. 'Scots looking good'

    Scotland 2-0 Albania

    Gary Caldwell

    Former Scotland defender on Sportsound

    Quote Message: This start will give them confidence. At our best, we're a very good side