Cyprus 1-2 Scotland

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland

Sublime finishes from Kenny Miller and Jamie Mackie gave Scotland an otherwise workmanlike win over Cyprus.

Visiting keeper Allan McGregor turned a Georgios Efrem effort on to the bar before Miller's 23rd-minute lob.

A Sinisa Dobrasinovic strike hit a post, but the Scots ended the first half by creating a series of chances.

Mackie finished off a jinking run after 56 minutes and, although Demitris Christofi fired in three minutes later, the Scots won the friendly in Larnaca.

Scotland coach Craig Levein had resisted the temptation to experiment, leaving his potential debutants on the bench against a much-changed Cypriot side.

Home coach Nikos Nioplias was looking to end a run of four defeats under his charge and had left several seasoned campaigners out of his side as he looked to give youth a chance.

And, although Scotland started the game in confident fashion, playing the ball neatly around the Cypriot penalty box, it was the home side who threatened first at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium.

Former Rangers and Dundee midfielder Efrem's shot on the turn inside the box was held by McGregor and striker Christofi rose above his marker but headed straight at the goalkeeper from 14 yards.

Scotland were looking vulnerable to the quick break and, although there was a suspicion of offside when Efrem controlled the ball neatly 20 yards out, there was no mistaking the quality of the subsequent strike - and the McGregor save that diverted the ball off the crossbar.

Kenny Miller scores for Scotland
Miller looped the ball into the net to open the scoring in Larnaca

It took 21 minutes for the Scots to deliver a shot on goal, with Miller nipping behind the defence to control the ball on his chest and send a shot bobbling across the face of goal and past the far post.

That was with his less lethal left foot and, when a similar ball was played over his head by Christophe Berra to his right seconds later, Miller was much more assured.

The striker cushioned the ball on the top of his foot then looped it over stranded goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides and into the far corner of the net.

Cyprus went close to equalising immediately when Dobrasinovic sent a thundering 25-yard drive off the post.

However, the goal settled the Scots and they began to dominate the game, with Mackie weaving his way into the penalty box before having his effort blocked by Georgallides.

Steven Whittaker looked to pick out Miller for his second goal from inside the six-yard box, but George Merkis did well to scramble the ball clear.

James Morrison attempted a 25-yard lob over Georgallides, but the goalkeeper managed to claw the audacious effort over the crossbar.

Tasos Kissas replaced Georgallides at half-time and was given no chance when Mackie took on two defenders before curling the ball into the far corner from eight yards.

Cyprus struck back in their next attack, with substitute Marios Nikolaou threading the ball behind Phil Bardsley and Christofi firing low inside the far post.

Huddersfield Town striker Jordan Rhodes came on as a late substitute and stung the hands of Kissas with a powerful, stoppage-time drive.

Cyprus: Georgallides (Kissas 46), Merkis, Alexandrou (Katsis 69), Demetriou (Sielis 46), Parpas (Nicolaou 58), Satsias, Dobrasinovic (Vasilou 74), Solomou, Avraam (Mitidis 46), Christofi, Efrem. Subs Not Used: Charalambous, Stavrou, Mastrou.

Booked: Demetriou, Dobrasinovic.

Goals: Christofi 59.

Scotland: McGregor, Whittaker, Caldwell, Berra, Bardsley (Crainey 74), Mackie (Rhodes 87), Cowie, Fletcher (McArthur 63), Morrison, Robson (Conway 80), Miller (Mackail-Smith 63). Subs Not Used: Gilks, Goodwillie, Stevenson, Hanley, MacKenzie, Samson.

Booked: Whittaker.

Goals: Miller 23,Mackie 56.

Att: 2,000

Referee: Meir Levi (Israel).

Top Stories