Slovakia Hand Initiative To Scotland After Self-Destruction By Way Of Diving

Martin Dubravka of Slovakia dives as Leigh Griffiths of Scotland hits the crossbar from a free kick during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group F Qualifier between Scotland and Slovakia

Scotland left it late but managed to keep their World Cup dream alive with a 1-0 win over Slovakia.

"There was no doubt that their man of the match was their goalkeeper - and the crossbar as well - and the footballing gods have chose to give us the victory", a relieved Strachan told Sky.

Lithuania are poor, but it should go without saying for anyone who watched Thursday night's effort against Slovenia that England are not the sort of 2/5 shots you want to be entertaining.

Nevertheless, six consecutive clean sheets at home in World Cup qualification suggests Slovenia are not going to make life easy for a team in need of victory, particularly given five of those six matches have resulted in victory.

He indicated that manager Gordon Strachan had set the tone for that.

"They are a good side".

Switching to a 3-5-2 freed up Scotland talisman Leigh Griffiths to go searching for the ball, something which played a key role in the victor, while Andy Robertson was allowed to push further forward up the left flank and became more prominent as a result.

With skipper Scott Brown and fellow Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong out through injury, Darren Fletcher and James Morrison returned along with Barry Bannan as goalkeeper Gordon earned his 50th cap.

Liverpool's Andrew Robertson was involved throughout the first half.


It would be surprising were he not to start again on Sunday.

"We've been playing well and results have gone in our favour so far".

And Strachan admits it has been a hard but rewarding campaign to get to this stage.

He had already been booked for a clumsy kick at James Forrest on the touchline and just a matter of minutes later he walked for a dive as Craig Gordon ran from his line to cut-out a through ball.

A win was a necessity and Scotland delivered.

Dubravka denied Griffi ths but, after Martin and Griffi ths rattled the crossbar, Scotland finally got that bit of luck they deserved.

"I've reiterated how important this game will be to the rest of the lads - but you've got to get a fine balance between making sure that we're calm and we believe in ourselves and we're not going over there going insane".