Georgia 2-2 Scotland: Steve Clarke’s side secure dramatic draw with sub Lawrence Shankland heading home stoppage-time equaliser after Scott McTominay bagged his seventh goal in Euro 2024 qualifying
- Khvicha Kvaratskhelia twice gave Georgia the lead on Thursday night
- Scotland hit back through Scott McTominay and sub Lawrence Shankland
- Anthony Gordon should ditch England to play for Scotland – It’s All Kicking Off
Before a ball was kicked Steve Clarke challenged his players to prove they deserved a seat on the flight to Germany next summer. The response offered by Lawrence Shankland was swift and emphatic.
The Hearts captain had only been on the field six minutes when he nodded the added time goal which silence a raucous crowd of 45,000 in the Boris Paichadze Stadium, averting another Scotland defeat on Georgian soil.
Kvahicha Kvaratskhelia is blessed with the individual genius of a footballing maverick. Like the Napoli superstar who gifted him his nickname Kvaradona doesn’t always make himself easy to like.
The superstar of Georgian football threatened to preserve Scotland’s miserable run of results in Tbilisi with a sublime goal in each half.
The second was a strike the great Diego himself would have been proud of. Already a Serie A title winner at the age of 22 the play-acting, simulation and histrionics are less easy to admire.
Scott McTominay netted his seventh goal of the qualifying campaign with deflected equaliser
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Karma proved sweet for Scotland in the end. Beaten here in Euro qualifiers in 2007 and 2015 seven added minutes brought Steve Clarke’s side a lifeline. Meeting a cross by fellow substitute Stuart Armstrong, Shankland looped a fine header into the net to draw Scotland level for a second time.
A point won’t make much difference to the bigger picture. Qualification for Germany already secure, Spain are now odds on to top the group after a romp in Cyprus. After successive defeats to England, Spain and France, however, this was a game which stopped the rot.
Scott McTominay’s strike early in the second half took his campaign total to seven. With impeccable timing Shankland had the last word.
Georgia were never likely to be a pushover. Only Spain had emerged victorious from the last 10 games here.
The oldest Scotland keeper to earn his first full cap since Henry Smith in 1988 Zander Clark’s first act was to pick the ball out of the back of the net after 15 minutes. Quick and threatening on the counter Georgia’s first real attacking endeavour ripped the Scotland defence apart with two passes.
Over-lapping right-back Otar Kakabadze gathered the ball on the right side and zipped in a low, first-time cross for Kvaratskhelia to slide in ahead of Porteous and guide the ball in at the near post.
Every time the local superstar gathered the ball under his control the 45,000 crowd roared in anticipation. They knew something was coming.
Lawrence Shankland scored a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a point for Scotland
Shankland nodded in fellow substitute Stuart Armstrong’s cross in the 92nd minute
When Lyndon Dykes carelessly gave the ball away in his own half Georgia’s star man produced a quality of through ball beyond his Scotland opponents. In on goal Levan Shengalia looked odds on to lash Georgia two ahead until Clark produced a fine two handed stop to keep the ball out.
While the white shirted Scots had plenty of the ball they squandered it repeatedly. The best – the only – scoring opportunity came from a Billy Gilmour free kick in a dangerous position after 27 minutes.
Dykes rose in a crowded area to steer a downward header towards the back post, the ball bouncing a foot wide. He should probably have done better.
It wasn’t a great first half for Ryan Christie, the Bournemouth man joining Nathan Patterson in the book for a late challenge. While the right back posed an attacking threat on the right flank, the Scots lacked the cut and thrust to take advantage. When keeper Giorgi Mamardashvili dropped one of the full-back’s crosses there was no one on hand to take advantage.
Earning his 61st cap – drawing level with Richard Gough and Ally McCoist – captain John McGinn ended the half being nutmegged by the number ten Giorgi Chakvetadze to roars of approval from the 54000 fans inside the national stadium.
After a pretty dismal first half when Scotland’s final ball was consistently lax and wayward the Tartan Army stood in pensive silence. Barring a big second half and a significant improvement in the final third a fourth straight defeat now looked more likely than not.
The arrival of Lewis Ferguson and Kenny McLean for the off colour Christie and Billy Gilmour at half-time made sense. For Scotland something had to change
Say this for McLean. When Scotland need big moments the Norwich midfielder so often produces one. The Norwich midfielder’s composure in possession paid off when he laid a promising Scotland attack into the path of McTominay 20 yards from goal. The shot wasn’t his cleanest, but skipped through the legs of a Georgian defender to leave keeper Mamardashvili powerless. At the third ti,e of asking Scotland had finally scored a goal on Georgian soil.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia twice gave Georgia the lead against Scotland on Thursday night
Kvaratskhelia cut in off the left and drilled low past Zander Clark in the 57th minute
Parity lasted all of eight minutes. Every time Kvaratskhelia gathered the ball on the left side, socks around his ankles, the winger had one thought in mind.
Allowing him to cut in from the left – instead of showing him outside – was Scotland’s first defensive mistake. In truth there was nothing Zander Clark could do about an unstoppable low drive into the bottom corner of the net. It was a moment of individual brilliance from Georgia’s talisman.
How close Scotland came to a second equaliser. Lyndon Dykes met a corner kick flush with the head at the near post and the ball looked to be heading in until it was clawed away by Giorgi Mamardashvili.
It finally came in the third minute of added time after a period of sustained Scottish pressure. The gauntlet thrown down by the manager Clark, Shankland accepted the challenge with a perfectly timed equaliser.
Georgia: Mamardashvili, Kakabadze, Kvirkvelia, Kashia, Lochoshvili (Kalandadze 78), Shengelia (Azarovi 72), Chakvetadze (Davitashvili 79), Kvekveskiri (Mekvabishvili 70), Kochorashvili,Mikautadze (Zivzivadze 69), Kvaratskhelia.
Subs Not Used: Altunashvili, Gelashvili, Gocholeishvili, Gugeshashvili, Mamuchashvili, Volkovi, Loria.
Booked: Kvirkvelia, Kochorashvili, Kvaratskhelia.
Goals: Kvaratskhelia 15, 57.
Scotland: Clark, Patterson (Ralston 79),Porteous, McKenna, Taylor (Armstrong 79), McGregor, Gilmour (McLean 46),McTominay, McGinn, Dykes (Shankland 86), Christie (Ferguson 46).
Subs Not Used: Cooper, Brown, Doig,Hendry, McCrorie, Jack, Kelly.
Booked: Patterson, Christie, Armstrong.
Goals: McTominay 49, Shankland 90.
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