Scotland gave their hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup a huge boost by securing a hard-fought 1-0 win over Austria in Vienna.
QPR striker Lyndon Dykes scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the first half after a VAR review ruled that Che Adams had been fouled by Martin Hinteregger. Steve Clarke’s side then doggedly held onto their lead for the remaining hour of the contest, with huge performances from several at the back, particularly Kieran Tierney.
It was backs-against-the-wall stuff and Austria dominated possession, although it wasn’t until the 79th minute, after more than ten efforts at goal, that they finally managed to get one on target. However, Craig Gordon was up to the challenge and batted the ball away.
Stephen O’Donnell, John McGinn and Adams all saw decent chances to extend the lead in the second half go begging.
Austria did have the ball in the net in stoppage time but it was so far offside that it was hardly concerning for the Scots. A very late free kick from David Alaba was more of a worry, only for the shot from the Real Madrid man to fly just over the crossbar.
Israel’s thrashing by Denmark means that Scotland have now jumped into second place in the qualifying group, putting them in pole position to reach the playoffs behind the leading Danes.
Here’s a look at how the Scottish team fared…
SCOTLAND PLAYER RATINGS
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Craig Gordon (GK) - 7/10 - Surprisingly a passenger for most of the game, despite Austria’s dominance, but came up big with a huge save with ten minutes to go that preserved the lead.
Stephen O’Donnell (RWB) - 8/10 - Back in the starting lineup. Got forward well to support the attack but his delivery from good positions was hit and miss at best. Strong defensively.
Jack Hendry (CB) - 7/10 - Intelligent defending at the front post on multiple occasions to repel attacks.
Grant Hanley (CB) - 7/10 - Marshalled the defence well and was commanding in the air.
Kieran Tierney (CB) - 8/10 - Showed great concentration from the first minute to keep the hosts at bay and was outstanding in helping keep the clean sheet.
Andrew Robertson (LWB) - 7/10 - Tucked in well to crowd the penalty area and frustrate Austria. Led well by example as captain.
Billy Gilmour (CM) - 7/10 - Offered class and composure on the ball when Scotland were in possession, but it was mainly a night about defensive discipline.
Callum McGregor (CM) - 6/10 - Hard work went more unnoticed than his midfield colleagues.
John McGinn (CM) - 7/10 - Plenty of energetic running in midfield and was always looking to burst forward and support in attack when possible.
Lyndon Dykes (ST) - 7/10 - Started the game in combative fashion as he tried to unsettle the Austrian defence. Not the best penalty to break the deadlock but he scored and won’t really care.
Che Adams (ST) - 8/10 - Harshly booked midway through the first half but didn’t let it hamper him and did well to win the penalty. Linked up with Dykes well and chased hard all game.
Ryan Christie (ST) - 6/10: Tasked with providing fresh legs in the final 20 minutes.
Paul McGinn (RWB) - 6/10: Replaced a tiring O’Donnell and slotted in well.
Lewis Ferguson (CM) - N/A
Kevin Nisbet (ST) - N/A