Ref favoured Scots, says Lithuania's Marius Zaliukas

By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland
Steven Naismith and Marius Zaliukas
Zaliukas (right) thinks Lithuania were worthy of a draw at Hampden

Lithuania defender Marius Zaliukas has claimed that referee Kristinn Jakobsson favoured Scotland in their Euro 2012 qualifier at Hampden.

The Scots had raged at Dutch official Kevin Blom after their 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic.

But the Icelandic official gave the home side a penalty, missed by Darren Fletcher, in their 1-0 win on Tuesday.

"They were crying all week about the referees not doing very well and he helped them a wee bit," said Zaliukas.

"It is my opinion that the referee has helped them.

"Before the goal, there was a push and there were quite a lot of small things."

Steven Naismith's 50th-minute goal settled a game the Scots dominated but in which they could have been punished by a Gary Caldwell mistake that left the visitors with a three-on-one break just before half time.

"I was almost already celebrating that," admitted Zaliukas, whose side also gave the home defence some nervous moments in the final minutes.

"I think a draw would have been a fair result."

The win keeps alive the Scots' slim hopes of earning a play-off place behind Spain, who secured top spot with a 6-0 hammering of Liechtenstein.

However, Craig Levein's side must hope that the Spanish, who travel to Prague on 7 October, and then the Lithuanians, who host the Czechs four days later, can take points off the side presently sitting second top while earning enough from their own two remaining games.

Zaliukas told BBC Scotland that the Lithuanians, whose own qualification hopes were ended by Tuesday's defeat, would "go all out for the win" that night.

However, the Hearts player's national coach, Raimondas Zutautas, revealed that he might use the game to experiment with his side.

"It was disappointing to lose," he said. "We have no chance of coming second, so maybe we will make changes, but we will give 100 per cent against the Czechs."

Zutautas was at a loss to explain why striker Tadas Labukas put his arm out to block Barry Bannan's free-kick to concede the penalty.

"You would need to ask him," he said. "I asked him and he said he didn't know what happened.

"Maybe he wanted to be the goalkeeper."